Ed Young highlights the myriad of ways the pandemic has been mishandled in his article, An Anatomy of American Failure. He highlights the intersection of problems that have exacerbated the pandemic, such as weak public health infrastructure, conspiracy theories, and a tenuously connected global supply chain. Moreover, the pandemic has disproportionately affected minority communities, such as African Americans, the elderly, and immunocompromised. All of these factors have created an almost apocalyptic landscape for many Americans.
Additionally, Young also highlights the role the president had in determining the scale of the pandemic. As he says “Trump is a comorbidity of the COVID‑19 pandemic. He isn’t solely responsible for America’s fiasco, but he is central to it”. This is an undeniable fact about the pandemic. In a time of crisis, a leader is supposed to ensure safety to all people – not just his supporters. By any standard, Trump’s actions have been unethical. Though Young doesn’t touch on this, he robbed the American people of informed consent when he lied about the danger of COVID-19. In February, he publically downplayed COVID-19 as only being as dangerous as the flu while privately confessing to Bob Woodward that it was a seriously deadly disease. Some may say Trump didn’t have a moral obligation to disclose this information as he isn’t a medical professional, but as Commander in Chief, I feel he takes on the same level of responsibility for the entirety of the American people.
Though this is a turbulent time, I feel it is quintessential that we evaluate the morals of our elected leaders today. Putting aside political affiliations, Ed Young lays bare the myriad of ways Trump has acted unethically – just concerning the pandemic. With this in mind, it is important to consider how we ought to move forward as a county. In this class, we have been tools to evaluate actions plainly as being ethical or unethical. We have analyzed case studies and debated them in class, but these are real tools that we can use outside the classroom. Thus, as we wait to see what the future of our country holds, I urge everyone to truly evaluate his actions. Simultaneously, I wonder, beyond political action, how we can repair the damage this administration has caused and restore trust in our public health system? Currently, I am overwhelmed by watching the election results and have no idea how we can move past this politicization of the pandemic. If anyone could offer a sliver of comfort, it would be greatly appreciated.