We do have a problem right now with selfishness and with people who don’t understand that circumstances have changed in the face of COVID-19.

But our problem is not really with the shopping cart full of toilet paper or the kids still playing on the beaches. Our problem is with those who are supposed to be responsible adult leaders and who have been granted great powers under our system. Some were elected or appointed to government positions; others have power in our economic system. Either way, they are citizens who have the same duty as anyone else to respond to public emergencies.

Experienced medical clinicians and researchers are telling us that we need N95 masks and ventilators and other tools and supplies on a massive and unprecedented scale. We all know that we have the wealth, skills and capital in the U.S.A. to meet this need. But no one knows if we will actually do so.

It’s not just the foolish egocentricity of our President that makes us uncertain. It’s not just other federal agencies that could find ways to step forward but have hesitated. Our business leaders have vast scope to be creative. And of course our large nonprofits could take a chance of rocking the boat for once. Our news/entertainment industry could put its spotlight on what is needed.

We the people are mostly doing our part, even without enough information. But our leaders are not doing their part. They seem to believe business as usual is acceptable.

If we are going to stay home, if we are going to risk our livelihoods, our small businesses, and maybe even our homes, we want those who are more fortunate and have more authority to do at least as much as we are doing.

Those that can get us the masks and ventilators should do so — in plenty of time to meet the need. They will get paid, even if it’s not immediately. Those that have access to media need to make sure it shares a consistent science-based message. Those who donate to politicians need to refuse to support any politician who puts their own concerns ahead of those of the nation. Those who provide necessities could continue to do their jobs without profiteering.

None of us are going to forget these first days of uncertainty. Our leaders have already failed us. But they have weeks, perhaps months, to correct their mistakes.

But if this frightening episode of our history ends with the same kind of irresponsible incompetence with which it began, let no one doubt there will be serious accountability.

Larry L. Yates is a resident of Winchester.

(4) comments

ralcabin

We have watched the Democrats & Republicans battle each other for months now. This is the time they need to come together for the benefit of our country & it's citizens, stop being selfish with their own agendas. Perhaps we could have gotten a headstart on this virus if so much effort hadn't gone into impeaching Trump. I'm sure many were aware of the impending economic castrophe, like the Senators, like Feinstein in California, who sold off her holdings in the stock market, in early February.

Stop using Americans as pawns for your own personal power. Many however, are selfish & greedy, like the people you saw in stores with carts full of toilet paper, for one. Or the two guys I overheard in a non essential department of a big box stores stating we came in to get the coronavirus. Or the teenagers who filmed themselves spitting on produce in a grocery store in Purcellville.

People like these do nothing but ruin it for the people who are trying to follow the rules of social distancing & limited quantities on purchases.

Stop the political divide, we need unity. After impeachment failed I knew the next target would be the economy, I just didn't know how it would happen, I got my answer. Stop creating a panic, stop being selfish, stop hoarding, stop blaming, unite for the good of our country. If our elected officials are constantly fighting, accusing & bickering, don't condemn the public for the example of all you are making. Pass the stimulus bill, take proactive steps against the virus, do the job you were elected for, we are tired of your childish bickering.

DavidSparkman

Does Larry mean that we will punish Barrack Obama for his miserable healthcare bill that reduced the number of available hospital beds and increased the cost of healthcare with more and more restrictions and paperwork? No of course not. Even now Leftists cannot wait to get their hands on more money for all their pet projects rather than taking care of the actual needs of this emergency. Every leftist addenda item is included in their funding bill. Please do carry out Mr. Yeats admonition and punish those who are hurting our people and our country - defeat the selfish democrats this next election and we will once again have a prosperous country!

Spock Here

Grasping at straws again, Sparky....I take it you approve of, and plan to participate in, the "sacrifice yourself for the Dow"? Cultists do love them a Jimmy Jones I guess.

Bryan.the.Nuri

Oh, Sparky! You missed again in your desperate effort to blame Obama for everything from the ACA to the death of Jesus!

Are you really insinuating that the bill, taken over by special interests and lobbyists, does more harm than good? It really feeds big insurers. I'm pretty sure I saw at least one insurance salesman in the meeting of the Frederick County Republican Committee meeting. They were in it for the profit, not the service.

Demanding everyone to bend the knee to your Orange Idol doesn't make up for your party's failure to actually represent the people they pander to. Keep your personal issues with a changing society out of our public discourse. No one should have to suffer because of your issues.

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