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Weekend Conversation – The Politicization of COVID

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

In this installment of Weekend Conversation, PF Whalen and Parker Beauregard of The Blue State Conservative examine how the devastating COVID pandemic has been politicized by Democrats and the mainstream media.

PF: In early-March when it became increasingly clear how serious the virus is, my initial mindset was to give our government officials some slack; federal, state and municipal, and regardless of political party. There was so much we didn’t know, and there are still many aspects of the disease that we don’t fully understand. There were initially partisan attacks on President Trump from the usual suspects, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, but I just rolled my eyes and thought, “whatever.” We were close on the heels of their impeachment attempt, and I figured they couldn’t help themselves. But within weeks it became apparent that the Democrats and their media were intent on making the virus and its handling political… entirely political. Public health has essentially been an afterthought for them.

President Trump banned travel from China in late-January, six weeks before states’ governors began shutting down. The initial, sometimes vicious criticisms of Trump’s decision could be at least partially excused, I thought, considering everyone’s underestimation of the disease’s potential, if they were to let it drop and move forward in good faith. But they didn’t, and still haven’t. Democrats continue to double-down at every opportunity in pointing fingers at the president for any possible COVID-related infraction in their attempts to damage him politically. It’s been reprehensible.

While there are certainly things Trump could’ve done differently, with hindsight being 20/20, I think overall he’s done a very good job with COVID. Operation Warp Speed has been a huge success, he sent hospital ships and other resources to states early on in order to ensure they didn’t exceed hospital capacities, and he received effusive but largely-ignored praise from governors of the hardest hit states, all of whom are Democrats. And he did it all while respecting states’ rights and adhering to federalism, which is critical. Trump has done a fine job. 

Parker: Forgive me for beating this horse, but I remain convinced that COVID became politicized to the extent it did because Democrats recognized the political benefits of doing so. In short, nothing they did had affected Trump, the Trump presidency, or the standing among his voters (for the most part). Try as they might, their efforts essentially appealed to their base but they weren’t winning anyone else. Russian collusion? Scam. Impeachment? Scam. Kids in cages? Obama. Charlottesville? Lie. It’s not an exaggeration to say that multiple headlines every day viciously, malignantly, and mendaciously attacked the president, his family, and his supporters. 

COVID was different. They could play on existing charges of xenophobia (closing travel to China). They could play on his disregard for black American lives (COVID was somehow racist?). They could play on his alleged incompetence (people are dying and he’s playing golf!; or, people are dying and he’s not closing anything down!; or, people are dying and it’s Trumps fault!). They could also attack him on the economy, which had never been stronger, in terms of unemployment, stock market prices, etc. The economy was booming thanks to deregulation and business-friendly and tax-friendly initiatives. In shutting down their states, blue state governors could dupe voters into believing that Trump ran the economy into the ground. Most of all, though, Democrats could weaponize their greatest ally: Fear. 

Fear and leftism go hand in hand, performing a sadistic and self-serving dance. Fear drives people to the left and leftism makes people more fearful. It’s a vicious cycle. Democrats seek power, and fear enables the sheep to willingly give their own independence up in exchange for promises of safety. Social emotional and mental health – how many aspects of this pandemic were exploited or ignored? 

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PF: I think there are too many examples of the politicization of COVID to cover all of them during this discussion, but perhaps the most absurd illustration is the assertion of racism; as you mentioned. Joe Biden named Marcella Nunez-Smith to head up his COVID Equity Task Force, and some of the statements she has made regarding the racial aspects of the pandemic are beyond ridiculous. But unfortunately she’s not alone. The fact that Democrats even see the need to form such a task force is absurd. The virus doesn’t discriminate by race or anything else, and one would think that our focus should be solely on saving as many American lives as possible, not worrying about the color of victims’ skin; but they can’t help themselves.

Another aspect that sums it up well is the media coverage and rhetoric regarding the different states and their handling of COVID. If the governor of a state is a Republican, then that state is screwing things up royally, whereas if the governor is a Democrat, they’re doing great and that governor is fantastic. Florida and New York are the most obvious examples. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida is a Republican, and his state is approximately the same size as New York with almost two million more residents. Currently, the number of deaths-per-million-population in Florida is 912, compared to 1,816 in New York. Almost exactly twice the number of New Yorkers have died of the virus proportionately compared to Florida. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York has absolutely screwed the pooch with COVID, but to hear Democrats and their media tell it, the results are the other way around. Governor Cuomo has already published a book about what a great job he did and it’s a New York Times bestseller. Unreal.

Again, I’m willing to give any of our leaders some slack on COVID. There are no easy answers, and there are no great solutions other than a successful vaccine. But not only has the Left politicized the virus, they continue to lie to us like they do with everything else.

Parker: I am also going to go on record saying that the politicization by Democrats and the institutions comprising our American Pravda are directly responsible for the deaths of untold tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of Americans. There is too much information available about the effectiveness of certain treatments and the abject ineffectiveness of measures taken.

Consider the debate around hydroxychloroquine. President Trump was touting both its cost and ability to interact positively with patients when coronavirus symptoms were identified early. The left roundly disparaged and ridiculed him. Now, nine months later, there is ample evidence that it is indeed a life-saving measure. Even at the time, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar secretly had the drug administered to her husband and later admitted it saved his life. How many doctors avoided it as a potential treatment because they believe more in leftism than medicine?

We are more recently learning about the miracle drug Ivermectin. Were you aware of it by name, or the fact that it won a Nobel Prize in 2015 for its remarkability in treating lung-related issues? There was amazing testimony in the Senate on Tuesday of this week from a courageous doctor who cited conclusive evidence from an Argentinean study that provided 800 doctors with the drug and a control group of 400 that were not provided the drug. Of the 800, ZERO doctors contracted the virus and of the control group, 238 did. If that is not evidence of prophylactic and treatment, I don’t know what is. 

It is not hard to figure out why drugs like hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin were spat on or dismissed out of hand. Money talks. These drugs are cheap and already available. Big Pharma, which deserves praise for developing a vaccine so quickly, also deserves condemnation for likely lobbying against the use of other treatments. If these two options hit the market with success and applause, how would they stand to profit off a wonder cure? It is despicable that our elected leaders chose to kowtow to pharmaceutical dollars rather than providing options to medical practitioners and patients.

PW: Legislation and policy on these matters absolutely affect lives, no doubt. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) essentially admitted recently to holding up a COVID relief bill due to political motives. “Now that we have a new [incoming] president” we can move forward, she said. So how many people’s lives have been ruined in the meantime, Nancy? We have Americans across the country who can’t pay their rent, who have lost their jobs, and are facing the prospect of additional lockdowns, while Pelosi plays politics.

Out of one side of their mouth they’ll tell us that their actions are justified, “even if it saves just one life,” as Governor Cuomo has stated repeatedly. Meanwhile mental illness, substance abuse and alcoholism are skyrocketing. Schools are closed and kids aren’t being educated properly because of Democrats and their allegiances to teachers’ unions, even while all evidence points to school-age children being more at risk with the flu than with COVID. Virtually every position they take, and every decision they make is politically motivated.

Democratic Governors have chosen politics at every opportunity, and our media have refused to call them out. In blue states, we’ve had our churches locked down while marijuana dispensaries have stayed open. The virus apparently knows not to infect someone buying weed, but will attack someone reciting a prayer. For months, we couldn’t get a haircut, but we could buy whiskey at the liquor store next to the barber shop. Protesting lockdowns at a state capital was verboten, but rioting against imaginary systemic racism was inspiring. Perhaps the main drivers behind their decisions is that they’re not particularly fond of organized religion and protests against Democrat-run governments, but they embrace folks smoking dope and getting hammered, particularly when they’re protesting for causes they support. Democratic policies, the rhetoric from the Left, and coverage by their media has never been about public health, it’s always been about power; and politics.

Parker: I alluded to the abject ineffectiveness of the measures taken against COVID, rather than the cheap, available, and effective ones in terms of preventative medicine. Consider if we had prescribed sick or vulnerable populations with one of the two drugs I mentioned above, as well as supplements of Vitamin D and zinc? I am as much a science guy as Bill Nye, but I think we have garnered enough knowledge about COVID-19 that this would likely have cut our death toll in half, let alone the number of cases.

 Instead, small-minded and simply small men (compared to the great men like our Founding Fathers) took the route of authoritative, draconian measures. They shut down locally owned (but not corporate-owned) businesses that regular folks depend on for their livelihoods. As they proclaim to be the party of science, they routinely ignore science about transmittal rates in outdoor dining areas or gyms, and pretend no transmissions take place in grocery stores or megastores. Joe Biden’s master plan is to enforce national mask mandates, even though we also have evidence that masking is useless. 

 Throughout this year, the American public has generally demonstrated that it is willing to forgo liberty and common sense in exchange for being peddled lies that are politically motivated and unscientific. To top it off, the same leaders that decree and enforce these mandates violate them left and right. There are too many names to even list, but suffice to say they are all Democrats. It has been a depressing year for me to come to the realization that the American people can be not only deceived but forgiving to the doublespeak of their moronic and evil elected officials. 

Moving forward, I can only hope the vaccine is optional. If people want to get it, that is great; however, if people choose not to get it for whatever reason, that should be their prerogative. I am seeing concerning tweets and reports coming out about businesses demanding proof of vaccination or even cards to show there is evidence of inoculation to participate in society. If that is the case, then we are truly doomed.