Essentially, it means that you shouldn’t point out the faults in others unless you yourself are faultless.
(Warning: Ranty post follows)
Recent well-documented public comments have got under my skin and continue to infuriate me. The facts in the case are documented, verifiable and unarguable. The opinions expressed here are my own and I reserve the right to hold them.
You may disagree. If you feel moved to express that disagreement, please do so politely or your comments will be deleted. I have no issue with disagreement, just rudeness.
The coronavirus has wreaked havoc across the globe, spreading to more than 1.4 million people and killing more than 81,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. It’s more infectious, more aggressive and more lethal than any other SARS-type respiratory disease in living memory, facts which were apparent already in January.
The World Health Organisation started sounding the alarm on the outbreak of a new coronavirus in Wuhan, China in mid-January, designating the COVID-19 pandemic as a global health emergency on Jan. 30 when there were just 8,200 cases in 18 countries across the world. However, at one early stage, they recommended against travel bans because they gave people a false sense of security and didn’t really work. This turned out to be unpopular advice. However, most countries put a ban in place at an early stage anyway. That said, most countries also implemented other measures, acknowledged and prepared for the pandemic. The US President implemented a travel ban against the WHO’s advice…. and then went away to play golf. Now, the US has by far the most COVID-19 infections in the world, and the most deaths. Yup, that travel ban sure did the trick.
“We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO,” Trump bawls. “We will look at ending funding because you know what, they called it wrong.”
Wait, excuse me?
This is the US President who for 10 vital weeks dismissed it as just another flu; “we have it under control, it’s going to be fine”; nothing to worry about; a ‘Chinese virus’; claimed the US was in “very good shape” and that everyone would be able to access testing; “we are totally prepared”. Also, the US would be back at work by Easter; that 100,000 – 200,000 US deaths would mean “We’ll have done a very good job”; and that a totally unproven and potentially hazardous malaria drug is ‘a game changer’ remedy.
(For more examples of Trump-Truth vs reality, go here.)
The United States is on trajectory to suffer more sickness, more deaths, and more economic harm from this virus than any other comparably developed country. Over six million people out of a job and out of options. No testing, no tracing, and rapidly depleting resources. Mass graves. A quarter of all confirmed coronavirus cases on Earth.
So, remind me, who was it who called it wrong?
He is now contradicting his own earlier statements, wherein he said the WHO was doing a good job, that China was being transparent about its coronavirus figures, and so on. If it wasn’t already such appalling behaviour in the President of the United States, it would still be horrifying to realise that he truly believes we’re all so stupid we won’t notice, and that he thinks he can get away with this opportunistic double-speak.
So, if Trump is pulling contributions from the WHO for making errors of judgement, I wonder: what sanctions are the American people going to impose against a president who has so consistently, spectacularly – and dishonestly – ‘called it wrong‘…?
My heart aches for US citizens, as I sit in a country whose leaders took early, decisive action, who had adequate stocks of medical equipment, who have managed to prevent widespread and uncontrolled community transmission, and who have done more testing and contact tracing than any other country in the world. Humans make mistakes (you only have to look at the horrendous Ruby Princess cruise ship fiasco to understand that), but no-one here has pretended the problem didn’t exist, that it wasn’t going to touch us, that we were prepared when we weren’t and that a dangerous and shambolic ignoring of unpalatable and inconvenient facts was going to leave us ‘in very good shape’.
And now, I’ll take a deep breath and move on.
I first wrote this post on Easter Sunday, but decided that its tone was just not appropriate to the day. I’m rescheduling it after yesterday’s Presidential press conference. Lacking a holy day of hope and renewal, I was unable to justify holding back any longer…
More on this subject, from a non-US perspective: The Guardian, The Conversation