This week, the United States of America hit a grim milestone in our fight against the Coronavirus. More than 100,000 American lives have been lost, with many, many more likely in the coming months. The toll on our nation, our communities, and our families is nearly unmatched in our history, and together we grieve for those we’ve lost.
While some parts of the country are seeing declining cases of this unrelenting disease, many others are seeing an increase, as the public health crisis reaches into every part of our land. It is not enough to shrug our shoulders and say “viruses are a part of life.” It is not acceptable to forget and move on. Viruses cannot be prevented, but they can be managed by capable leaders who are willing to listen to experts and who endeavor to rally people to the cause of life and security.
Crossing the threshold of 100,000 deaths is a grave memorial to the obstinate, deceitful, and failed leadership of the Trump administration.
Where we are now, watching in horror as death tolls tick ceaselessly upward, was not inevitable. This never had to be our normal. But it became our fate when Donald Trump refused first to believe in the disease, and then to act appropriately to galvanize an American response. We are living with the consequences of a President incapable of leadership, and we are the lucky ones.
And still, rather than take responsibility, Trump refuses the mantle of leadership, and turns public health measures into partisan performance wars. He divides us as a people, making our physical separation all the more painful. Far from mitigating this pandemic, he uses it politically, not caring who gets hurt or how bad it gets. That’s why we know that this crisis is far from over.
In the aftermath of great tragedies, we often say “never forget.” It’s a call for us to enshrine our loss into the national history and memory, so that we can come together around a shared pain and work to prevent it. In the wake of Coronavirus there are lessons we must learn to cope and heal. And chief among them must be how critical good, honest, and decent leaders are.