Incompetents Acting Incompetently Part 3
COVID, what happened...
The story begins with a lack of leadership
I want to take you back in time. It’s December, 2019 and there is war going on inside the halls of power in America. A narcissistic, boorish, real estate developer / reality TV star / social media influencer has been President for about three years.
In those three years, the establishment men and women who have run our society for about the last seventy were barely holding on to their influence. They had thrown everything they had at Donald Trump. In the penultimate attempt to make him simply slither back into whatever sewer from which he had emerged, they were impeaching him over a phone call with the Ukraine.
The purpose of this article is not to rehash the Presidency of Donald Trump. Trump deserved a good bit of what he got, but some of what he got (perhaps most of it) were hysterics by an establishment that saw their influence with the American people waning.
The majority of America no longer trusted the establishment. This wasn’t new in 2019, and it wasn’t Trump’s fault. Trump’s rise to power was a symptom of that waning trust, not its cause, and it’s no wonder that Americans had lost that trust. The American establishment, over about a decade prior to Trump’s election, had transformed from austere, mature, boring, suit-clad men and some women into a radicalized group of hysterical nit-wits. They became cloistered, unimpressive, incompetents who found it fashionable to take ever more radical positions and call themselves on the leading edge of civil rights.
Here’s a little secret; In the 1960’s, Walter Cronkite was as much of a card carrying liberal as anyone currently on CNN… but Cronkite understood that he spoke to the whole country, and needed to portray a sense of authority. Cronkite was an impressive man. Over time, he was replaced by low IQ rich kids with Ivy League degrees and no actual accomplishments or authority.
That’s where we were in December of 2019. We were on a ship with no captain. The President was the walking embodiment of a middle finger to an establishment that held no authority or legitimacy. It was a dangerous time for our country, but survivable. We were waiting on society to naturally correct itself and for the pendulum to swing back… but we ran out of luck.
Somewhere in China, a previously unseen Coronavirus was ravaging a place called Wuhan. By December 2019 it had escaped China, and cases were showing up in Italy, Africa, elsewhere in Asia, and, as we now know, here in America.
What could have been
I’m going to be an arrogant American, here. The fact is that the world’s reaction to COVID-19 was lead by the US Government. If we had remained calm and protected the vulnerable, like any reasonably intelligent government should have done, the rest of the world would have followed suit.
If we had a boring, austere, and trusted media who reported the calm, informed, recommendations from an adult American President, things would be very different.
Imagine this for a moment: A regular American President (pick any one you want, Clinton, Obama, Reagan, Millard Fillmore… whoever), is seated in the Oval Office. Imagine him saying the following in February of 2020:
My fellow Americans,
As we have all seen in news reports, there is a virus that is causing respiratory distress that is making its way through global populations. Early indications are that this is a new version of a virus that we are very familiar with, Coronavirus.
The fact is that at this early stage, we don’t know very much about how severe of a sickness this virus causes, but anecdotal evidence points to the fact that like most viruses, its symptoms are more severe in older populations, obese people, and people with compromised immune systems.
First, I want to let everyone know that this is not an unforeseen incident. The US Government spends billions of dollars every year studying illnesses and how to combat them. We are prepared for this.
I am directing the full authority and resources of the US Government to combat this new threat. Make no mistake, we will fight it and we will be victorious.
For the time being, I am directing the Center for Disease Control to disseminate guidelines to help keep the American people keep safe while we respond to this new threat.
If you are under 50 and otherwise healthy, we recommend that you wash your hands regularly. We recommend that you limit your contact with large groups of people in confined spaces, to the extent possible. Most importantly, we recommend that you limit your contact with at risk people. This is for their benefit.
If you are over 70, obese, or have certain other underlying health conditions, for the time being, the US Government recommends that you stay home. We recommend that you limit contact with people who are still out in public. We recommend that if you must go out, you wear a face-mask and sterilize your hands regularly.
If you are in an at risk category, you should no longer report to work. We are asking all employers to make reasonable accommodations to allow you to work from home. If this is not possible, the US Government is prepared to replace your pay until more is known or this crisis has passed. This will not have to be paid back.
Further, nursing homes, hospitals, and other places with large numbers of at risk people are to be placed on a temporary medical lockdown. Again, the full resources of the Federal Government are to be mobilized to make sure that these people have everything they need. Again, this is a temporary measure to keep at risk populations safe until more is known, or the situation changes.
For the rest of the American public, it is the recommendation of the Government and my personal request that you act bravely and with kindness and charity. You must make your own decisions on how best to protect yourself and your family, but our society will not shut down over this. Our shops will remain open. Our schools will remain in operation. Our economy will continue to operate.
Please also know that we are actively engaged in the situation. Currently there is no evidence that this virus is dangerous to children at all. If something changes or the evidence shows that we are incorrect about these first observations of this virus, you can count on this government and me, as your President, to give you the information immediately and without parsing of words.
Make no mistake, this is a serious situation. It will impact all of our lives. People will die. But this situation is neither unforeseen nor impossible. Over the next months, recommendations will evolve as new information emerges, and in the end, this too shall pass.
As Americans, we will face this challenge, as we have challenges in the past, head on and with the trademark American spirit of rugged individualism and bravery that has sculpted our culture as one, tailor-made to face this, and emerge stronger than ever.
God Bless The United States of America. Be safe.
Imagine if the President said that in the early days. Imagine that he encouraged people to listen to their doctors, because their doctors know them and their history. Imagine if he told Fauci to run his department and stay the hell off TV.
Imagine if dissenting voices and new methods for treating the illness were encouraged and the press reported on them. Imagine if the press decided not to intentionally cause panic with insane predictions and a giant red “COVID death counter” on 24/7. Imagine the lives that could have been saved, the economic carnage that could have been avoided, the overdoses that didn’t need to happen, the isolation, paranoia, and anxiety that all could have been avoided with just a modicum of calm, smart, leadership.
“Never attribute to malevolence, what incompetence can explain” - Hanlon’s razor
“Incompetence and malevolence are roommates. If one show’s up, it’s a safe bet that the other isn’t far behind.” - Virgil’s razor
It is hard to adequately explain how badly our government and the press handled the early days of the pandemic. The President was wholly incapable of leading. He wasn’t elected to lead. He was elected to stick his finger in the eye of the elite, something he had expertly done for 3 years, but that meant that among the press and in blue areas around the country, the man had less than no credibility.
Instead of sober leadership informed by the smartest doctors in the world, we got unhinged daily press conferences where the President would make asinine claims, flanked by a diminutive, egomaniac, bureaucrat… Fauci, who loved nothing more than being in the spotlight.
The press would then immediately contradict every word that came from the President, intentionally misquote him, and intentionally mischaracterize what he was trying to say. It was truly a scene with no heroes.
The results were predictable… nobody knew what to believe. Panic set in. Americans chose sides, neither correct and both extreme. Either you were “team blue”, in which you pretended that the virus was going to kill us all and you locked yourself at home, demanded your local government enact extreme measures, and snitched on your neighbor for going to a playground… or you were “team red”, in which you ignored the pandemic, called all mitigation measures “fascism”, and irrationally defended a President clearly in over his head.
All the while, the President’s many enemies in government and in the press saw this as a golden opportunity. They had tried to hamstring him for three years, each time failing and making themselves look smaller, pettier, and more incompetent. Now there was a real crisis and the President was failing… at all cost, this crisis could not be allowed to pass without Trump as a casualty.
The President’s enemies made decisions about our economy that simply cannot be trumped up to a “mistake”. They shut down small business in the face of the prevailing science. They destroyed restaurants and bars. They welded rebar over outside basketball nets so the children would have no place to play. They dumped sand into skate parks. They shut down beaches and ran down people swimming alone in the ocean. This could only have one purpose… make Americans so miserable, they couldn’t possibly support Trump in November.
You think I’m sounding conspiratorial? Okay, fine… then you tell me why large, politically connected companies were allowed to stay open. You tell me why Home Depot in June of 2020 looked like a Jimmy Buffett concert, without a mask in sight… and neighborhood bars were shuttered. You tell me why the Governor of Michigan told people they couldn’t go out on Lake Michigan alone on a boat, but Jeff Bezos’ wealth literally doubled.
Oh no… the evidence is in. This was an attack on average American people. It had nothing to do with “science”. It had everything to do with turning America against Trump.
As I said before, this is a story without heroes.
Then things got out of control
The elite establishment in this country has two pet conspiracy theories that they can’t seem to drop, and they both begin with the letter “R”. The first is Russia, the other is racism. In the summer of 2020, they went all in on the second one.
That May, a career criminal named George Floyd, who happened to be black, was callously murdered by an abusive policeman named Derek Chauvin. The victim, George Floyd, was high on drugs and had attempted to pass a counterfeit twenty dollar bill at a local bodega. Because Floyd was high and agitated, Chauvin put him on the ground, cuffed him, and for some incomprehensible reason, put his knee on Floyd’s upper back until Floyd suffocated and died. This was all done with several officers around who did not intervene. It was also done on a public street while being videotaped by bystanders who begged Chauvin to give Floyd the medical attention that he desperately needed.
To put it mildly, it was horrible. Floyd begged for mercy that wouldn’t come, the crowd begged for mercy that wouldn’t come… the actions of Chauvin are thoroughly indefensible and he was charged and convicted of murder. He’s now in prison where he belongs.
In normal times, this event would have been met with protests and perhaps localized violence, but the summer of 2020 was not a normal time. Stressed by lockdowns and COVID restrictions, unsure what to believe and angry, the country exploded.
In every city, people took to the streets. Most people were peaceful… but in virtually every one of the protests, there was an undercurrent of violence. In almost every case, when the sun went down, riots began. Pallets of bricks arrived at street corners… to this day we don’t know where they came from. Organized groups of masked young people, armed with sticks and shields assaulted police officers and destroyed property. Dozens, if not hundreds of people were killed in the violence that summer. We still don’t know how many lives were lost. Nobody has bothered to count them, and CNN didn’t have a giant red “BLM death” counter next to the COVID one.
That summer something unprecedented happened. The media and the establishment encouraged the violence. Democratic politicians, including the now Vice President of the United States gave money to bail rioters out of jail. News companies lied about the nature of the events and called them “peaceful” when they were anything but. All the while, they were still pushing for more COVID restrictions and sticker lockdowns.
This was plain to see and many people, at the time, commented on how it was dishonest to demand that small businesses remain closed while making excuses for rioters burning those very businesses to the ground. Those fires gave a whole new meaning to the term “gaslight”.
The President showed no leadership through this. He wasn’t even able to convince Governors to ask for Federal aid to put down the violence. It was as if anyone doing anything that said America was bad… was all of sudden justified… while anyone saying that maybe going to a park or church or work was good and that they love America was accused of racism, and trying to kill old people.
So that was the scene going into the fall of 2020. Riots, burned cities, shuttered businesses, and COVID hysteria. The only people in our society who seemed to have a plan were apparently trying to destroy us. Two years later, it is my opinion they were doing it on purpose.
A “rigged” election
I am not about to start talking about “stop the steal” or whatever other unhinged insanity that Trump came up with after he lost in November of 2020. The vote was the vote and Donald Trump lost. Further, he lost to a clearly addled Joe Biden who barely campaigned and Kamala Harris, a woman whose only claim to fame is making Hillary Clinton look likable, genuine, and competent.
Having said that, Trump’s opposition did, in fact, cheat. They pushed mail in voting, harvested ballots, made up lies and pushed demonstrably false narratives in the supposedly “neutral” press. They pushed for early voting so that people couldn’t change their minds later in the race. It was pretty unfair… but at the same time, it was a legitimate election… and COVID hysteria was a major contributor.
A million other things aside… the fact is that Donald Trump lost because he didn’t carry the white suburban vote. Trump was, and remains, reviled by white women… really by all women… but non-white women are a solid Democrat voting bloc anyway. Suburban, married, white women are a swing vote. They are socially liberal, but usually have children and care about their kids and their families. Donald Trump is a lout, a misogynist, and makes their skin crawl. He lost them relatively handily in 2016, but by 2020 those women and their husbands, fathers, and gay best friends were particularly motivated against him.
At any rate, Donald Trump lost the election, then lost the plot. The vaccine was coming out… something that should have ended the pandemic… and if Trump was just a little bit more trusted, and had just a little bit more leadership ability, he could have declared victory over COVID at the beginning of his second term, unleashed the economy, and gone down as a great President. Instead, we got Biden / Harris and a broken society that didn’t know what to do next or how to move on.
As the fall became winter and the year of 2020 moved into the history books, Trump went crazy. He began to foment wild conspiracy theories about the election. He increasingly counted on the most extreme supporters in his base. Obscure media organizations like Newsmax and One America News Network found a new calling as mouthpieces for the deepest, darkest recesses of President Trump’s increasingly addled mind.
By New Years Eve much of the President’s staff had left, and he had isolated himself in the White House, continually watching conspiracy programming, and refusing to take meetings that weren’t about “stop the steal”.
It was a sad end to a noble experiment. The outsider had finally been ousted and was no longer capable of rallying the masses. The establishment had officially won. They not only ridded themselves of the Orange Menace, but they left him isolated, insane, and sputtering nonsense… a completely broken man.
In his anger and through the lens of an addled mind, on January 6, 2021, Donald Trump rallied a group of his supporters to head to The Capitol and “peacefully” protest against the certification of the election. Trump did not know that among those supporters were people who actually intended on stopping the election certification. Present were also agents provocateur from the left looking to put another nail in the coffin of President Donald John Trump.
The crowd arrived at The Capitol and surged forward. They entered the building, and while most were very likely just protesters caught up in the moment and did no damage… there were groups that went looking for lawmakers and Vice President Pence to keep them from certifying the election.
Minor damage was done to The Capitol facilities and one protester was killed by police. No other deaths occurred. It wasn’t exactly the storming of the Bastille, but like I said… when malevolence shows up, incompetence is rarely far behind.
The President was against the ropes. His rage had taken over and he refused to condemn the riot for hours… even as his few remaining supporters begged him to make a statement. The press and his enemies then overplayed their hands, calling the riot “worse than 9/11” and “like Pearl Harbor” because, again, when malevolence shows up, incompetence can’t be far behind. The establishment is still caterwauling about January 6th.
In the end, Donald Trump shut himself off. He vacated the White House and Vice President Pence took over most of his critical duties until inauguration day. Trump didn’t bother to make the trip back to Washington to see the new President sworn in.
As an aside… for those who hope Trump will run again, that is the true story of how his term ended. Perhaps it’s time to move on.
Vaccine hesitancy and COVID zero
As President Biden took office in January of 2021 it became obvious to everyone that he wasn’t actually going to be in charge of anything. He is clearly a shell of his former self, not even able to sidestep the accusations of obvious corruption that has followed him for years.
The first priority for the new President’s administration was to figure out how to move on from COVID. The Orange Menage had been vanquished… exiled to his version of Elba, and the obvious move for the new administration was to distribute the vaccine, declare victory, and try not to tweet. But when incompetence shows up, malevolence can’t be far behind.
The Biden Administration faced a couple of obstacles. First, there were strong elements of the establishment that had no intention of allowing COVID to simply go away. The press was making a mint on their COVID coverage. With Trump gone, if COVID went away too… they would be looking at a deeper abyss than in 2016, the day before he rode down the golden escalator and CNN escalated him to mythical status. Second, were the elements of government which gained immense power from COVID. Personalities like Anthony Fauci would disappear back into obscurity if COVID went away… They would fight like Comanches to keep that from happening.
Finally there were those who didn’t want to take the vaccine. In reality, that final group is what saved the first two. The vaccine is extremely effective against hospitalization and death. In fact, once you have had even once dose of the vaccine, unless you are already about to die… COVID isn’t going to take you out.
It was that group of people who kept the dream alive for the establishment. Fauci declared that herd immunity (a point he knew we could never hit) was the goal, and that COVID must be completely eradicated, and every time a new case or a new death was reported, he blamed it on those dirty Trump voters who refused to get vaccinated. To this day, every time there is a pop in new infections, Fauci declares that the pandemic continues.
Interestingly enough, the press never was all that interested in the fact that the largest group of unvaccinated people in the US were and remain African Americans. Say what you will about the vaccine hesitant, but I have a little sympathy for blacks in this country that said “yeah… let whitey get the shot first and we’ll see what happens to him. I’m not trying for Tuskegee Part 2”. Fair enough, brothers… Fair enough.
The fact is that by spring of 2021, even with the Delta variant surging, vaccinated people were rarely being hospitalized or dying from COVID. By any measure, this should have ended the pandemic… But without a trusted leader to declare victory and bolster courage moving forward, we just kind of continued on as before.
Winter of 2021 brought the Omicron variant. Something that almost everyone in America got (whether reported or not) and most of us experienced as a minor cold. Yet the COVID hysterics continued.
Now it’s the late spring of 2022. It’s been two and a half years, and there are effective therapeutics. There is a vaccine. The new variants are milder than the older ones. COVID is here to stay, but it’s not scary anymore. Yet here we are… still in an emergency. Formerly free countries around the world are acting like dictatorships from another time. Some of us are still afraid.
We live with the reverberations of this nightmare. It has caused damage that volumes will be written about. The reaction to this killed many more than the virus itself, and the establishment is still lying about it.
And most of all, they don’t want it to die… because they need it in case the Orange Menace plots his return from Elba.
There is so much more to say about this, but I hope this retelling of the story was enlightening. Sometimes you have to take a step back and actually see the whole chain of events for it to make sense. If you made it through the whole thing, thank you!
The choice we make as free people when we choose our representatives is not between incompetent people and evil people… it is between people who respect our liberty and those who wish to control us. I pray we make better choices this time.
This is the last part of the Incompetents Acting Incompetently series. Something new next week! God bless all of you and happy Sunday!