Trust is a Battlefield

The country is being torn apart by an alarming lack of trust in institutions and ourselves.

Police stand outside the Capitol after a day of rioting protesters, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

At an event last week made up of mostly strangers, I witnessed, firsthand, the divide between the faithful and the faithless. Those who largely have faith in medical science and the faithless who don’t trust much of anything the government has to say.

People were divided into two camps: those who were wearing masks and those who didn’t; those who were fully vaccinated and those who still don’t trust the science. (I moved away from the few unvaccinated who admitted it.)

Everything about America’s landscape has become a political battlefield. The greatest health crisis in 100 years has become another casualty. Fistfights have broken out on flights across the country between maskers and anti-maskers. It’s just that black and white. And we’re talking about a deadly, worldwide, highly contagious virus that has taken 4.55 million lives, and counting!

California Governor Gavin Newsom staved off a recall election because of vaccination mandates: first he required businesses to close, then open, then close, again. Many were outraged at the flip-flops . . . about the health and safety of millions of residents. To make matters worse, however, Newsom was photographed eating at a posh Napa restaurant with friends and family wearing no mask.

Newsom still suffers from a lack of trust by many, deservedly so.

When it was found that the former president had contracted the virus, he was pushed by doctors to make a choice: either walk to the helicopter that would take him to the hospital; or be seen on national television being carried out on a stretcher. He chose the walk. It’s now been revealed that his condition was much worse than White House officials disclosed at the time.

Many, including Dr. Fauci, an infectious disease expert with decades of experience, believed that Trump had finally reached his “come-to-Jesus” moment and would tell the American public to trust the science, trust the medical establishment. Get the shot. Wear a mask.

Nope.

Arriving back at the White House, he chose to stand on the balcony and take his mask off. And in yet another example of shameful audacity to appear he’s right even when he’s wrong, Trump, still contagious, walks maskless into the White House.

With so many Covid cases, hospitals throughout the country have either reached full capacity or are close to it. Worse still is that many are either considering or have rationed care. Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, director of Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, says that this doesn’t have to happen.

The Delta variant is causing a resurgence of the disease pushing infection rates higher, especially in Southern states where some political leaders refuse to institute mandates. That’s not leadership. That’s self-serving hogwash. Only this hogwash has the great potential to kill people.

Once again, trust and truth are thrown under the bus.

TIME magazine reported that “80 percent of ICU beds in the country are occupied as of September 14. Thirty-one percent of those beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, and 92 percent of those hospitalizations are made up of unvaccinated patients.”

If this were, in fact, a real battlefield a change in strategy would immediately be calculated and implemented.

For the Covid skeptics . . . not on your life.

The greatest divide we have in the country is trust. Who you trust depends upon which side of the political fence you stand—those who trust medical science v. those who trust self-serving partisans.

This disease has no political ideology, and each of us has a responsibility, not only to ourselves, but to our family and others, to take the simplest steps to save lives. Get a shot. Wear a mask.

“Why are so many fighting over taking a shot?” a woman at the event I attended told me. “It’s just a shot! When I was in grammar school, we all took the polio vaccination. And that wasn’t even contagious.”

A few minutes later, another attendee walked over and added a rebuttal. “You know, if you’re vaccinated, why the mask? I know it’s required inside the building. I get it,” he said, “but people should be allowed to decide for themselves.”

However, while pocket groups around the country are vocal in their mistrust, political leaders have the largest megaphone in the country. Far too many not only continue to spout the lies of the former president but punish those who stand on principle.

House Republican Liz Cheney stands a good chance of being ousted by Wyoming’s voters because she had the temerity to tell the truth about the insurrection at the Capitol. Doesn’t matter to rock-solid Trump supporters in her state. Many now don’t trust her.

Each of us has a choice: we can either begin to go down a path toward reconciliation, or we can surrender to the corrosive cynicism reflected by contemptible self-serving politicians.

With American democracy at stake, how will you choose?

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