Admit it. Many of you who heard that President Donald Trump had finally decided to take a coronavirus test were rooting for it to come back positive, meaning he had contracted the disease and at the very least would have to self-quarantine.
That is not acceptable, people. We can't wish harm on anyone — not even Donald Trump, not anyone. Period. The very fact that so many were wishing for the worst for him is a reflection of how toxic the atmosphere has become in our society, thanks in great part to where he has taken us. But repeat after me: The negative result for Trump is a good thing, like it would be for any human. Unfortunately, too many humans are being threatened by this new pestilence that a malicious Mother Nature has unleashed on an unprepared world.
A few of our leaders have been heroic, but all too often they have not, to put it mildly. Through blithering incompetence they have retreated to wishful thinking, ignoring the warnings of the true experts, like Tony Fauci, who has been around worldwide public health crises for decades as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (Put him in the heroic category).
In addition, they are saddled with a U.S. health care system that could be charitably described as rickety, made worse by a series of past decisions that were based on politics or budget considerations. As a result of this absence of well-thought-out analysis, future catastrophes were inevitable — like this one, where we are clearly unprepared.
Glossing over these many shortcomings just won't cut it. The lack of tests and hospital emergency equipment are just some of the examples of the current breakdown. Finally, officials are scrambling to catch up. That is inherently difficult, particularly in an environment polluted by self-serving infighting instead of the pulling together that is vital if we are going to address this problem effectively, before it overwhelms us.
Isn't it clear that the cave-in of the investment markets is really a vote of no confidence in our leaders? Is the latest Fed drop to near zero interest rates enough to ignite a recovery? In desperation, the captains of industry are getting involved. They are following the decisive actions of those who control the sports world, who literally stepped up to the plate by shutting down.
Not only that, but the players with their deep pockets are sharing their wealth with the thousands of anonymous support workers who have no pockets at all, meaning the money they earn by working the games is what pays for their families' food on the table. In some cases, the team owners are following suit. This kind of good behavior is also contagious.
On the other side we have the sleazebags, who see this situation as an opportunity to run scams. They are out there in cyberspace with their wacky conspiracy theories, such as my personal favorite that this is all really a concoction of the media trying to bring down Donald Trump. Frankly, Donald Trump is bringing himself down. For the most part, we reporters are merely the bearers of the bad news.
So far, the coronavirus has been too much for many of our leaders. Our only hope is concerted action by the rest of our community, in spite of them.
Bob Franken is an Emmy Award-winning reporter who covered Washington for more than 20 years with CNN; his opinions are his own.