WE ARE AT WAR! (This Time with a Virus!)
It pains me to see the bitter divisiveness our country is undergoing, specifically understanding the current ad hominem attacks on President Trump. Ad hominem attacks, rather than attacking the substance of a position, attack the person’s character, his motives, or other personal attributes of the individual, and make the argument that because of these traits, his position is also wrong. It was Aristotle who first pointed out that such arguments are illogical and unsound. These attackers focus on Trump’s stupidity, his narcissism, his self-aggrandizement, his lack of humor, his small hands (and we all know what that is supposed to mean) etc. etc. Is this helpful? Does this add anything to the discussion? Will this change anything? Almost none of these tirades focus on meaningful critique as to what he should do differently. This makes me think the critics either don’t know what he should do differently or they are afraid to voice any opinion because they very well may be wrong.
Former Vice-President Biden was very critical of Trump about shutting down travel from China. He called him hysterical, xenophobic, and fearmongering. The spinmeisters claim those labels did not specifically relate to him closing travel from China, even though those critical remarks came right after the travel restrictions. If that is so to what did it refer? Ah! I know. He named the virus “the Chinese virus,” which called forth another straw man, the race card. Trump is a racist! But is that realistic? The fact that the epidemic started in Wuhan, China, ostensibly from Chinese bat soup, makes it relatively easy to call it a Chinese virus, just as the 1918 pandemic was called the Spanish Flu with much lesser justification. The first case of the 1918 Flu was actually in Kansas.
Biden’s fearmongering critique demonstrates how being critical too soon can backfire. The newest Biden critique complains the opposite, that Trump acted too slowly. Trump tends to be positive about opening up the country, about medications that may help, about the stock market coming back, about fewer deaths than the models predicted. He often puts the better spin on the message given by his consultant doctors; nevertheless, he does what they say to do. I might add that doctors are trained to hang black crepe. It is in their nature. I know, I am one. Trump does not want to be the fearmonger that Biden claims him to be. He wants to be reassuring but has not acted on that positivity, and sticks closely to what Dr. Anthony Fauci recommends. I am sure the President would like to be a cheerleader, and we certainly need one!
In a few months, we will have the chance to elect a new president. That will be the time to exercise your opinion, your rights as a citizen, and your wisdom. The word Democracy comes from two Greek words, Demos (the people) and Cratos (the power). We shall see what our Democracy will do, and then I shall support what the people decide, as our Founding Fathers envisioned, and I hope the rest of the country will also do as I do. In the meantime, I believe for the current COVID war, our Democracy has already spoken twice. For almost 250 years we have had certain rules for electing the President, and those rules have not changed. It is appropriate to go with the lawfully elected President, given our time of uncertainty and combat against an unseen enemy.
Ad hominem attacks lack style and put the attacker into a lesser class. If you can’t argue intelligently with facts and figures, don’t succumb to name-calling. It does not make you look classy. Donald Trump is no Ronald Reagan, but he is our President, whether you like it or not. We are in a war, even though this enemy is a virus, and war demands we act on a war mentality that traditionally requires unity and civility. I plead that we keep our cool and act with style, intelligence, and wisdom, and listen to Aristotle!