I count myself lucky to live here in Ohio, under the state leadership of Governor Mike DeWine. Governor DeWine has been more than exemplary with how he’s handled the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in Ohio, working in tandem with Dr. Amy Acton to prevent as much loss of life here as possible. The BBC has praised his efforts to combat the virus, and for good reason.
Today, I ended up going down a rabbit hole of news reporting on conditions around the country. Boy howdy! Obviously things are a mess, to put it lightly, and some of the stuff I read was incredibly disappointing. Now, I’m even more grateful to have Governor DeWine as my state leader. Because hot potato, some of these other leaders I’ve been reading news about make me cringe.
A Problem to Nurse
By now, it’s likely that we’ve all heard of the anti-shutdown protesting that’s occurred all over the nation. Honestly, some of their motivations are sympathetic. Without tangible financial assurance, so many people are understandably afraid of not being able to provide for themselves and their loved ones. Who could blame them for wanting to get back to work, so that they could receive steady income? Unfortunately, states’ unemployment programs have proven to be unreliable at times, with many people still not receiving the payments they need.
That being said, there’s something about the protesting that I want to talk about. I watched a video last week, a footage compilation of uniformed nurses in scrubs standing amid the crowds of protesters. These nurses were just observing silently, standing resolute as reminders of what they continue to do for us during this pandemic. For some reason, some of the protesters didn’t take kindly to the presence of nurses, and verbally lashed out at them. Nurses showing up at these anti-shutdown protests have been called actors, and even traitors.
A church friend of mine advised me on Facebook to watch out for fake news reporting, because there have been reports of people posing as nurses during protests. I appreciate their warning, because it’s a possibility that I hadn’t previously considered. The notion that anybody would disguise themselves as a healthcare worker to fool others during a pandemic never occurred to me. One of my aunts reached out to me and gave me a news article to read that further enlightened me on the issue of these fake nurses. This may all be an issue because of people wanting to disparage healthcare workers!
This is the first time that I’ve heard about Dr. Kelli Ward, the Arizona Republican party chair. She’s made recently infamous headlines after making disparaging comments towards the nurses that have showed up at these nationwide protests. Allow me to provide you some examples.
(As AZ reported, Dr. Ward tweeted this the day after the Arizona anti-shutdown protests.)
(While Dr. Ward wasn’t the one who created the above image, she expressed complacency by retweeting it.)
Never did I ever imagine that I would see a doctor of any kind go out of her way to demonize nurses. What a time to be alive! Note that the nurse mentioned by AZCentral in their articles pertaining to Dr. Ward’s unnecessary comments, Ms. Lauren Leander, is indeed a real nurse. As a 2014 graduate of Arizona State University’s nursing program, she’s a qualified nurse with impressive valor. Any of us would be honored to be helped by a nurse such as herself.
But in all sincerity, this is disgusting. Why on Earth would nurses, who are the foremost frontline workers during this COVID-19 crisis, be our enemy? What sort of logic can be used to justified this claim? Why wouldn’t we want to give healthcare workers special attention when they’re working in conditions that could be objectively described as hellish? Dr. Ward’s views are a mockery of the sacrifices our health care workers have been forced to make. It baffles me that we have somebody in power getting a kick out of tempting her citizens to defame the reputation of nationwide healthcare workers. They didn’t ask to be in the middle of a pandemic, and for anybody, no less a political leader, to disparage them at this time is abominable.
A Bad Gamble
On top of learning about Dr. Ward’s disappointing stance on healthcare workers, I learned more about the mayor Las Vegas. Some of you have heard that she’s come under fire for wanting to reopen Las Vegas, despite not having concrete proof that it’s safe to do so at this time. Well, I read into it, and… I’ll say it again, boy howdy!
She was quoted, in her interview with CNN‘s Andrew Cooper, as referring to her citizens in Las Vegas as a control group for the virus. No leader should ever think, even for a moment, that it’s at all acceptable to view their citizens as guinea pigs during a pandemic. Thankfully, the governor of Nevada has authority over her, and won’t allow her to carry out this reckless plan. While I understand that the hospitality business of Las Vegas is vital to the city’s revenue, the normal flow of things in the city will have to be gradually restarted just like the rest of the country.
Now then, my friends, I’d like to talk about President Trump. I do understand that the man has been under arguably the most pressure and scrutiny in our country during this ongoing crisis. That being said, he needs to carefully choose his words in regards to the proper methods of handling these varying situations. I don’t mean to be snarky, but him tweeting “LIBERATE MINNESOTA/MICHIGAN/VIRGINIA!” (in all caps, no less), thus helping to instigate the anti-shutdown protests in the state, wasn’t what our President should be doing during this time. By actively encouraging citizens to protest (to “save the 2nd amendment, which now explains why we’ve seen pictures of protestors with guns and rifles), this action may end up impeding the implantation of the White House’s recently created plan for Opening Up America Again.
Regarding his comments on “injecting disinfectants” (which, to be fair, was probably not suggested as a bid to get Americans to ingest household cleaning products), I wish that President Trump had considered how his words would be received. It’s possible that he meant well, and was trying to toss around a hopeful solution to curing COVID-19. However, his follow-up remarks, in which he dismissed his previous comments as merely “sarcastic”, and “just to see what would happen”, serve only to worsen the ongoing negative reactions to his suggestion. What exactly did he mean by “just to see what would happen”? For some, it might come across as him recklessly instigating a dangerous situation.
Our leaders, perhaps now more than ever, have a special responsibility to lead by example in both actions and words. What they say and do now won’t soon be forgotten, and will likely end up in the history books of future generations. More than anything else, if any of our trusted leaders choose profit over people, we will remember.
I’ll leave you all with a harsh, but relevant message from the delightfully satirical Mrs. Betty Bowers, “America’s Best Christian”: