Wednesday, May 20, 2020 | 2 a.m.
One of the benefits of having a president instead of a king or a tyrant is that presidents often act responsibly.
In the early-20th century, President Franklin D. Roosevelt set society-wide wheels in motion to combat polio. He encouraged the organization of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis in 1938. It sponsored the March of Dimes campaign that led, in 1954, to the development of an effective vaccine.
President Donald Trump wants to see progress in fighting COVID-19, but his approach has been lethargic. He called the virus a hoax. When advisers alerted him that this bug was a major concern, Trump adopted a society-wide approach characterized by his oft-stated quip, “Let’s see what happens.” Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.
By late February, with the disease popping up all over the country, the commander in chief said, “One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.” Then in May, even after countless U.S. lives were lost, the chief executive remarked, “This is going away even without a vaccine. And we won’t see it again.”
Trump has turned the long-term, hard-fought, science-based approach of his White House predecessor into a wave-of-the-wand, flick-of-the-wrist, 21st century magic show.
The ancient political scientist Isaiah mentions what typically happens when a people fails to participate in government processes and instead let tyrants into their living rooms. He wrote, “I will give children to be their princes ... and the people shall be oppressed.”