Or Me Over We
This is another essay about George Santayana’s one-liner. In The Life of Reason, he wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” COVID-19 was first diagnosed in America almost exactly fourteen months ago on January 20, 2020. Thirteen months ago, on February 2, 2020, Trump announced, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”
While that reassuring comment didn’t last long before Rep. Lloyd Doggett started his Trump’s Coronavirus Timeline. Doggett created nearly a daily litany of misinformation, mistakes, or lies, which didn’t stop until January 20, 2021, when Biden became president.
Trump’s inane modus operandi in his entire life including his presidency was based upon the phrase, me over we. His life revolved around wanting what was best for himself. For example, in an interview with Bob Woodward, he knew about the impending problem that we were facing due to the coronavirus. He told Woodward that by February 7, 2020, “It goes through air, Bob. That's always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch - you don't have to touch things, right? But the air, you just breathe the air. That's how it's passed. And so that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than your - you know, your - even your strenuous flus.” On February 27, Trump lied to the nation, “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”
Trump was more concerned about other matters like the aftermath of his first impeachment trial, which ended on February 5, 2020. Nevertheless, COVID-19 never disappeared. Nevertheless, Trump wasn’t concerned about the increasing death toll especially among the elderly and people of color. Neither group contained MAGA supporters, but Trump was devoted to me over we.
In addition to Trump’s indifference to those minority groups, he lacked more than a cursory understanding of science or medicine. The idea of Trump grasping anything having to do with immunology, epidemiology, DNA, or RNA was far beyond the pale for him. What he touted were drinking or injecting disinfectants and hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.
Additionally, what was lacking in his Weltanschauung was the idea of putting we over me.
If Trump had protected especially those groups at the highest risks, pushed for wearing masks, social distancing, and proper hygiene, we would not be the leader in the world when it comes to confirmed cases and deaths due to the coronavirus. America has 4% of the world’s population, but we have 20-25% of the confirmed cases and deaths.
Again, we must think about the benefits of we over me mindset. We need to produce and vaccinate the vast majority of Americans, but it can’t stop there. We need to supply the developing world with vaccines. Unless we do, over the next year, COVID-19 will develop newer variant strains. Those newer forms of the coronavirus could mutate into more lethal forms than what we have already discovered. Without thinking about others, the drive to dwell on ourselves might, over the next year, result in coming back to haunt each of us.
Confucius was asked by one of his disciples 2500 years ago, “Is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?” Confucius said, “How about ‘reciprocity’! Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.” It was his spin on the phase we over me.
President Obama also warned us, “Our destiny is not written for us; it’s written by us.” Our choice is between two different ideas. Either we buy into the notion of we over me, or we return to the Neanderthal mindset of me over we.