When did you receive your email telling you where and when to present yourself for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine?
As you know it's color-coded to tell you where you stand in the line – after health care staff and essential workers of course, but before much of the general public because of your underlying conditions -and on what date to prepare for your injections. What do you mean there was no email?
The federal government has had since March to prepare for this moment. They had three quarters of a year to mount a coordinated national campaign to deliver the vaccine as a matter of national security. They could have invoked the Defense Production Act. Surely they could see that the pandemic was resulting in mass death, with over 3,500 Americans dying every 24 hours now?
Oh wait, Jared Kushner oversaw the plan for nationwide testing in April. And when that piecemeal “effort” fell through he simply shrugged and walked away. Besides, back then the virus was hitting blue states hardest, so better to blame their governors and walk away. Let the buck stop with someone else.
Because thanks to the past four years of Trumpism, sociopathic amorality is now so woven into political decision making at the White House that Kushner could abandon his efforts without significant political blowback. The base was as ambivalent about New York as he was, after all.
So let's take a good hard look at where we are now. The president keeps golfing as the nation burns, he blames governors for the failure to vaccinate efficiently, the governors in turn war with the mayors, the medical authorities then move slowly with the vaccination pace to avoid implication in the political wars and the public die unvaccinated because national leadership belonged to the last American century, not to this one.
One of the reasons there isn't an adequate budget to deliver the vaccines to the public now is that back in May, Trump claimed coronavirus emergency funding bills would be unfair to the red states. “It's not fair to the Republicans, because all the states that need help, they're run by Democrats in every case,” he told Fox News.
Another reason for the crisis we're in is that the Trump administration turned down a request from Pfizer to produce millions more vials of their vaccine this summer. Pfizer approached the government with the option of 100 million to 500 million additional doses back in July, but Trump turned down the offer.
Turning the belief in (and fight against) the pandemic into a red state blue state culture war, he attacked Governors with tweets that encouraged his AR-15 toting supporters to LIBERATE MICHIGAN, LIBERATE MINNESOTA, encouraging them to ignore the need for mask-wearing and more testing.
Many say that historians will be incapable of explaining what lead us to this suicidal moment, but I have a suggestion. For the last four years, the Trump White House has raged against their political enemies, stymying their progress at any cost, even if the cost is human lives.
No enemy of wider America has been more anvil brained, or more concerned to smite what it sees as it sworn opponents – over half the American electorate.
The Irish poet Yeats meditated on what can happen to a nation when it closes in and the key is turned upon itself. He wrote:
“We had fed the heart on fantasies, The heart’s grown brutal from the fare,
More substance in our enmities
Than in our love...”
That's us now. There is simply more substance in our enmities than in our love. We have leadership that stands back – and plays golf – as tens of thousands die needlessly. Instead of a coordinated national response, we just have a circular pointing squad. It's the other guys' fault, blame him not me, the buck stops elsewhere. No enemy beyond our seas is being as cruel, unmoved and efficient as the ones within now.