Monday, June 8, 2020

Trump's Disease

As published in the Buffalo News:

Every year from elementary school until college, I participated in my town’s Memorial Day parade. We marched from our elementary school to the library, where there is a memorial to those who lost their lives to war. We’d lost three in WWI, four in WWII, and seven in Vietnam. When I was a child, my mother wanted me to understand we lost the same number of soldiers in Vietnam than in WWI and WWII combined.

Now, for the first time since the Civil War, our entire country is under attack. The Party of Trump focuses on First Amendment restrictions of freedom of assembly, but don’t see this is a public health crisis when certain freedoms have to be restricted for the benefit of the whole. Moreover, they deny the science that simply says please don’t breathe on me if you have germs.

Unfortunately, the same socioeconomic groups get hurt when there is any disaster. We are seeing capitalism at its worst: Aid that goes to the rich and not the poor, dysfunction at the highest levels of government, and a complete lack of empathy by this President who refuses to accept any accountability. What we need right now is national health care, education that levels the playing field between the middle class and the poor, and increased welfare.

I have seen the DC memorial for those who lost their lives in Vietnam. Already this pandemic has killed more people than the Vietnam War. Imagine a wall behind that monument listing the victims of coronavirus - that would just get longer and longer.

On this Memorial Day, we must ask ourselves why we are tolerating the number of deaths we are. As asked in the lyrics of “Blowing in the Wind,” how many deaths will it take till we know that too many people have died?

Helaine Sanders, LMSW, JD