By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE — So there I was, a nice (well, sometimes) Jewish boy from Northeast Philly, sitting at a Catholic Mass while Sofia (raised Catholic, in deference to her mother) did her altar service.
The priest went through that portion of the Mass (I’m getting to know the routine) where the assembled flock is asked to pray for certain specific people and situations.
Included was a plea to pray for those – patients, medical professionals, etc. – dealing with coronavirus.
Given the fact that this was several weeks back, you have to give the priest props for being well in front of the curve on what has quickly turned into a pandemic that has left us sheltering in place until further notice.
Which brings me to the point of my Sunday sermon: You can’t pray this away.
This is basically what your president (not mine) was doing when he put your vice president (not mine) in charge of combating and containing it before it invaded our “great again” shores.
But it came anyway, like the invasion on the beaches of Normandy.
No, we can’t blame them for the disease itself, but we can for the sheer lack of leadership that has been clear since before this administration was selected.
Those of us with foresight asked real questions about how a circus master and his lackey would handle any crisis, and we were told to stop being such “snowflakes.”
As you battle for half-cartons of eggs and loaves of bread at the store, and then sit inside your home, scared literally to death of something we can’t see, we are all snowflakes now, are we not?
There are silver linings to almost anything, and there are here.
Families are spending time together. I have learned to live without sports on TV. Sofia, as I type in this mad fury, is taking her guitar lesson via Skype or Zoom or some such thing.
School districts have developed extensive learning plans that will come in handy on snow days or in other unforeseen scenarios.
We have all had sudden graduate-level lessons in hygiene.
The list goes on.
And topping it is that enough people – maybe, hopefully, finally — see that your president (not mine) is unfit to serve.
If Charlottesville and Puerto Rico weren’t horrifying enough, they were harbingers of what was to come.
It’s no longer about politics, to vote him out. It’s about the future health and well-being of your children and your children’s children.
Right-wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh and politicians like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R, Fla.) led the propaganda parade against coronavirus.
Ironically, Gaetz donned a gas mask to mock the hysteria before having to self-quarantine after a constituent died. Now, he is asking for the same paid sick leave he voted against as a dutiful Mitch McConnell stooge.
Limbaugh, the racist talk-show host who got a Medal of Freedom from your president (not mine) during Black History Month – and with a Tuskegee Airman in attendance – is dying of cancer and among the most vulnerable to coronavirus.
Pundits are public figures, and have an extra sense of responsibility with medals around their necks.
Politicians are, by definition, leaders.
At times such as these, we need responsibility and leadership.
The failure to take it seriously – and leaving an immediate science-based crisis to a second banana who doesn’t believe that cigarettes cause cancer or that climate change is real – put every single one of us at risk.
The bitter irony here is that many of of the respiratory issues relating to smoking put people more at risk for coronavirus, not the mention that global warming is a mother ship for infectious diseases.
It was done while keeping one eye on the stock market and the other on the golf course. That left no hands on the wheel, and a serious crash on the side of the road.
The attitude from the top went from predicting we will have “zero” cases of coronavirus to that it is no worse than the flu to being summoned from some Fantasy Island to chopper back to the real world.
You wonder why he is not my president? This is why.
And, after this fiasco, there is no reason why he should be yours, either.
As fate would have it, there is a decent chance that coronavirus will be handled – not conquered, but handled – by the fall.
Again, it will still be there – just like AIDS, the threat of terrorism, etc. — but not to the point where we can’t live our daily lives.
This will be fodder for your president (not mine) to spike the ball in the end zone and do a touchdown dance at a red state rally.
He will pound his chest at debates and claim that he, like Neanderthals before him, hit coronavirus over the head with a rock and dragged it back to his cave to be cooked and devoured over an open fire he started by rubbing two sticks together.
Be on guard for such talk. While it is the fuel of a classic sociopath/narcissist, you don’t have to let it fill your tank.
You know it’s not true.
You know better.
I don’t say this lightly, but it is a matter of life and death.
And we need – we deserve – a president we can all call our own (even if he is not from same political party or supports all the same policies.)
And if you need to pray on it before reaching the same obvious conclusion, please do.
This column ran in The Times Herald on March 22, 2020