ColumnistsD Kevin McNeirEditor's ColumnOpinion

EDITOR’S COLUMN: Testing Too Much? Is Donald Trump Serious?

Even before Barack Obama appeared on the scene, I had already decided to leave the Democratic Party and become an independent. As an educated Black man, then in my 40s, it was clear that the Democrats only addressed the needs of and injustices endured by African Americans when they were looking for votes. I was tired of being used.

In fact, I was so unimpressed by Hilary Clinton’s platform that I didn’t vote for either candidate in the last general election. And while I was astonished when Donald Trump soundly defeated Clinton, I remained optimistic that the businessman-turned-politician might be able to do more good than harm.

I was wrong. But rather than read the roll of the missteps and ill-advised decisions and statements Trump has made since taking over the White House, one need only look at the rhetoric he uttered during his recent campaign stops in Tulsa and two Arizona cities.

Clearly frustrated by the underwhelming turnout in Tulsa where a reported 6,200 showed up after his team had claimed that over one million people had requested tickets, Trump once again pointed fingers. He blamed protesters, he blamed the Democrats, he blamed the media — he even took time to admonish “crooked Hillary” in a rehashing of the 2016 campaign which bore no relevance to the current election cycle.

But the most telling statements he made which caused me grave concern had to do with COVID-19. He led into his critique by saying that “testing is a double-edged sword.” In light of his determination to reopen America’s cities so that businesses could once again flourish, he said that the recent surge of positive test results reported in dozens of states were due to “too much testing.” Really?!!!

“If you test more you’re going to have more positive test results, so I told my administration to slow the testing down,” Trump said to his audience and to the thousands of empty seats in Tulsa.

Normally, Americans look to the president as a leader who models behavior that the rest of the nation can easily follow. But as he stood behind the podium, ranting and raving, he did so without a mask. In fact, he has said that he will not wear a mask as it paints a negative picture when speaking to high-level foreign officials.

Is that why he’s restarted his political campaign without donning a mask? Is that why the vast majority of those attending rallies in both Oklahoma and Arizona yelled and screamed without face coverings emitting saliva and breathing in potentially tainted air? Is this the way Donald Trump plans to “keep America great?”

I harken readers to consider an oft-cited quotation about the importance of learning from the past.

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” George Santayana tells us.

With the great influenza of 1918 having decimated the world’s population more than 100 years ago, it would seem that we would have the common sense to look back at the mistakes which so many political leaders and cities made in their inability or refusal to move with caution before returning to business as usual.

Trump continues to ignore the advice of health experts — even those who are part of his own team. For some reason, he seems to believe that the needs of the business community outweigh the needs of public safety and health. Meanwhile, in states like Florida, Texas with huge populations, hospitals are reporting record numbers of patients suffering from COVID-19 while the number of positive cases reach new heights.

Trump’s team says that the president was merely joking when he said we’re “testing too much.” I, however, find nothing to laugh about when people are dying by the thousands day after day.

Those who have succumbed to the coronavirus are more than simply dots on a graph. They’re someone’s mother, father, sister, brother, child or close friend. I personally know people who have been impacted by COVID-19 and who now fear that their health will forever be impaired due to their having contracted the virus. And yes, I have friends who have died from the virus.

This is not a laughing matter. We deserve better leadership.

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Award-winning journalist and 21-year Black Press veteran, book editor, voice-over specialist and college instructor (Philosophy, Religion, Journalism). Before joining us, he led the Miami Times to recognition as NNPA Publication of the Year.

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