No Time to Waste on Whining, Absent Politicians

The United States is facing what medical professionals call the most serious public health threat in the history of the nation. The coronavirus pandemic is raging fully out of control, which is exacerbated by a near total lack of leadership at the national level and pitifully little on the state or local level.

In the meantime, the individual responsible for dealing with the nation’s many and varied crises is busy whining about the election he lost, still claiming he won, and evincing not a shred of concern for the health and well-being of 330 million Americans. Put bluntly, there’s no more time to waste on whining and absent politicians.

The numbers are so shocking it’s difficult to put them in perspective: 217,664 new cases of COVID infection a day, heading towards a stunning 3,000 daily deaths — the equivalent of one 9/11 attack every day or 10 fully-loaded passenger jets crashing and killing everyone on board 24-7. Hospitals are running out of beds while doctors and nurses are exhausted from the nonstop tragedy and endless number of cruel deaths.

The eviction and mortgage moratoriums are expiring, as are the utility shutoff moratoriums. Businesses that were shut down in March and April are limping along at reduced capacities and, given the predicted “third wave” of the pandemic, are likely to be shut down again. If the new job numbers — at half of what economists expected — are any indication, whatever blip the so-called “recovery” funds paid for is over.

Facing an avalanche of “must pass” legislation in the next week, Congress continues to be distracted by partisan politics — apparently unaware that the election is over and it’s time to do the jobs they were elected, paid and expected to do. And even if they pass a new “relief” bill, it will not and cannot be enough to put America back on her feet. If anything, it’ll be triage that will not likely reach those in the greatest need, just as the previous billions were funneled off to large businesses by the Trump administration instead of the small businesses intended to receive the funds.

Adding insult to injury, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has unilaterally decided to pull back $455 billion in unused but badly needed relief money to the general fund — perhaps so it can be spent on the ridiculous $740 billion “defense” bill that mainly serves the populace by stuffing $2 billion in the pockets of the bloated military-industrial complex every day.

Faced with these mind-boggling challenges, we have a president more concerned with pre-emptively ensuring his corrupt family and friends are “pardoned” for crimes with which they have yet to be charged. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if they haven’t done anything wrong, what’s he so worried about? And of course “Don the Con” is busy squeezing hundreds of millions from his delusional “followers” under the lie that it’s going to fund the election challenges judges across the nation have abruptly thrown out of court as baseless.

Here in Montana, Governor-elect Greg Gianforte hasn’t shown much leadership on anything so far. Lame duck Gov. Steve Bullock must be busy cleaning out his desk and hoping for a job in the Biden administration because one thing he’s not doing is leading.

Time stands still for no man. In our time of greatest need, as the grim exigencies facing the state and nation continue to mount exponentially, only one thing seems certain — history will not be kind to the politicians who have shirked their duty to lead.


George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.