Both parties in the United States are making the Covid-19 pandemic an even greater disaster. One from cowardice and the other from denialism.
In the bitter, bipartisan cauldron of U.S. politics, it may seem odd to bracket the two main parties as being on the same side of a problem. But that only seems odd if one mistakenly believes there is any substantive difference between them.
Both parties are the same when it comes to supporting Big Business and war. Why not the Covid pandemic too?
The mainstream media would have us believe that the Democratic Party of President Joe Biden is almost diametrically opposed to the Republican Party when it comes to issues over the Covid-19 pandemic.
Namely, the Dems are more cognizant of the health dangers from the disease. They are, it is said, more proactive in promoting the administering of vaccines, wearing face masks, social distancing and locking down public spaces.
Republicans, on the other hand, are more skeptical if not in total denial about the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of them even disdain the global epidemic as a “scamdemic” or “plandemic” meaning it is being cynically exaggerated to promulgate the politics of population control by an elite and boosting profits for Big Pharma. In this regard, Republicans and their media pundits are also opposed to the use of vaccines, mask-wearing, and social restrictions, claiming that in doing so they are defending “individual freedom”.
This kind of seeming broad division is seen in Europe and elsewhere. But both sides of the same coin deserve contempt. In the first case, contempt for cowardice, in the second for denialism and disinformation.
In reality, in the United States, the Dems and the Republicans – the Grand Old Party – are vying to make the pandemic an even bigger disaster than it is. Under the prevailing bipartisan politics, the disease will reap many more deaths on top of the more than already 660,000 fatalities inflicted over the past 20 months in the United States – shamefully the world’s largest national death toll. The longer the pandemic persists, the more the virus will continue to mutate into more virulent strains that may eventually overcome the protection from existing vaccines. In that case, a grim vista of burgeoning deaths beckons.
There is a scientific and feasible way to mitigate and eradicate the pandemic. Countries like China have demonstrated the practical success of such a policy. China’s death toll of 4,600 is less than 1 percent of the United States, an achievement that is all the more remarkable given that China’s population is four times greater than the U.S.
Such a strategy involves a combination of mass vaccination, closing non-essential workplaces and businesses as well as schools and colleges, deploying widespread testing, tracing and tracking to isolate infections, and where necessary to order mandatory lockdowns. To make this strategy work, there must be sound government leadership, public consensus, and, crucially, full income and financial support for workers and businesses to ride out the periods of suppressed economy without losing livelihoods. It is the political unwillingness of Western governments to provide the requisite financial support by, for example, tapping the obscene wealth of billionaires, that make closures and lockdowns frustrating. Without this support, people are rightly exasperated at being prevented to earn their necessary livelihoods. Imagine people on paid-for furlough, or sabbatical, for as long as required. Much of the social unrest over lockdowns would not exist.
If a full-on scientific and socialist strategy was embarked on then the pandemic would be curtailed in relatively short order. China’s case indicates that this is eminently achievable.
As it is, however, the piecemeal, half-baked policies of Western governments only prolong the distress and agony, and most damningly, make the pandemic an even bigger disaster. This is because these governments are hostage to the imperatives of capitalism and of promoting private profit over public health.
The Biden administration is a contemptible exemplar of this futile, half-baked policy. It may be partially welcome that the president is belatedly pushing for mandatory vaccines among millions of more workers. The rollout of the vaccination program has plateaued at about 60 percent of the U.S. population. The remaining 4o percent needs to increase the inoculation rate if the spread of Covid-19 is to be halted. To that end, Biden is right in ordering mandates for federal workers to get vaccinated. There is nothing untoward or Big Brother sinisterness about this as the Republicans and their clueless pundits make out. Everyone is mandated to get vaccinated for many other diseases, smallpox, measles, rubella, and so on. That’s how such deadly diseases were historically eradicated.
What is the objection to an order to get inoculated against Covid-19? Only if one believes that there is no pandemic in the first place or that the vaccines are ineffective. Or that the pandemic is a conspiracy for authoritarian control and a means for pimping for Big Pharma. (Big Pharma and patent controls are reprehensible, but that’s another story). This mentality is contemptible for its unscientific denialism and disinformation. Such a mentality is killing people through propagating ignorance and unfounded fears.
Existing vaccines are demonstrably highly effective in protecting against hospitalization and death from Covid-19. By far, most the new cases and deaths surging across the United States are among unvaccinated persons. And most of these are in Republican-controlled states like Florida and Texas where political leaders have been skeptical about the pandemic as a public health threat or have been opposed to wearing masks and administering vaccines.
A consistent theme of denialism runs through the modern Republican Party dominated by former President Donald Trump. Trump and his supporters and their media pundits are in denial over a gamut of issues: climate change, election results, structural racism in the United States, as well as the latest iteration of doubting Covid-19 and vaccines. Such people are courting disaster by keeping others in the dark about reality, and about real causes and effects. They are snake-oil salesmen who deal in hocus-pocus rather than objective historical analysis. The most fitting outcome of such political illiteracy is the growth of the QAnon cult that has taken root in the Republican Party. This cult believes, among other things, that the U.S. is run by a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles. Anything these people advocate or pronounce on should be dismissed as obscurantist magical thinking. They have been shown to be charlatans over and over again from their false prophecies. They have no shame to continue mouthing on about other newer falsehoods.
But whereas the Republicans and their pundits can be condemned for denialism and ignorance, the Democrats under Biden can be condemned for rank cowardice. They know or should know that forcing people back to work and opening schools in the midst of a pandemic is going to make the disease a whole lot worse regardless of how many more people are vaccinated. The Biden administration is cutting off unemployment benefits and rent allowances to millions of Americans, thereby forcing people back to work through the threat of poverty and destitution. Schools are being opened – despite soaring infections among students and in spite of protests from teachers – all for the purpose of getting parents back into the workplace. The whole driving motive behind this policy is to restore the profits of Wall Street and corporations. The Democrats are more concerned about preserving capitalist profit than they are about preserving lives and eradicating the Covid-19 pandemic. They are telling us, “we have to live with the disease”. In other words, “die with the disease”.
Both parties in the United States are making the Covid-19 pandemic an even greater disaster. One from cowardice and the other from denialism. Just like both parties sponsor never-ending wars, they are also for differing reasons on the same side when it comes to making a pandemic worse. Bipartisan bitterness is really a trivial side-show.
The War Party is the Big Business Party is the Disease Party.