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Education Vs. The Virus

March 25, 2020

I am mindful that we live in a country where there are people who believe that 9/11 was an inside job, and that jet contrails are supposedly some government conspiracy.  I understand that even in this time when technology allows for information to be disseminated to every handheld device there are still many who are woefully ill-informed about the headlines of the day.  It needs to be said that a fair number are also just willfully ignorant.

Having said that, I must say I was sincerely taken aback by the cavalier attitude and the disdainful manner for facts and information in regards to Donald Trump’s statement that he made from the White House lawn this week about when Americans should return to normal activity.  Even after all of the most remarkable statements that Trump has made over the years, the one this week about returning to a normal state of economic activity in the nation took me back.

As The New York Times reported “Mr. Trump, however, did not budge on the April 12 date, which he said he did not arrive at by examining any data.

“I just thought it was a beautiful time,” he said.

When the President of the United States puts forth a dangerous message on such a critical issue, knowing full well that many in his base will not only hear his words but believe it to be true, is nothing short of shocking.  It speaks to the under-educated nature of the person sitting in the Oval Office, along with the view his base of supporters will be of the mindset to swallow his idea.

While medical professionals will try to not only find an avenue to curtail the virus and treat those who are infected, it would also seem vital at this time to more aggressively find ways to educate the American populace. But as we have seen over the past months educating the citizenry about the virus means also speaking about it in ways that transcend political parties.

It is most unsettling to observe data regarding whether one is a Republican or Democrat, and how those people within their respective parties, get their news, and then the way they view the crisis of this pandemic. It is as if science and hard numbers can be somehow manipulated to meet a red view or a blue view. That is simply absurd.

What is perhaps most remarkable is not that the gap between whether the virus is ‘a hoax’ or whether it is a calamity but how that gap came to be.  Granted, most all now understand a pandemic is here, but the gravity of the medical crisis was slow to arrive for all based on how they get their news.

The data regarding why people have the views they do of the virus is not so much whether one has a college degree, makes a paltry amount of money or is a millionaire, or if they’re young or old, or of one ethnicity or another. Rather it comes down to whether they read a national newspaper and get their facts from professional and credible journalists or if they watch Fox News and listen to conservative talk radio.

How we have devolved to the point that a virus can be a partisan issue is most sad.  In part that is due to allowing for those with an education and skills to be seen as elitist and not to be trusted.  Meanwhile, Ole Joe in a pick-up truck out in the country listening to Rush Limbaugh thinks it right to thumb his nose at science and expects the rest of the nation to dumb-down to his ideas.  In what alternate universe would that be acceptable?  Yet, that is precisely where we now find ourselves.

Trump has tried to make facts seem bendable and even has tried to pretend “alternate facts” are actually a thing. Too many Ole Joes in the land, without really knowing better, have been conned by Trump, and the whole nation is now paying the price.

Sadly some will pay with their life from this pandemic.  Just one more reason as to why education matters.

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