Who’s In Charge Of Covid War?

Who are the decision makers regarding the Covid epidemic?

From the birth of our nation, federal and states’ rights have been in conflict. In a war, it’s easy to understand the decision makers are the politicians in Washington. In a war with a virus, it’s not so simple.

Our country is structured to give responsibility for crises to federal, state and city officials. And then, local officials sometimes opt out, or opt into, contradictory orders. Is this system effective and functional?

For sure it is, unless the interested parties jockey for political points. Then it can become a sh**storm. In this day and age, nobody cooperates and negotiates in good faith. The president fights with governors, governors fight with mayors, mayors fight with unions, unions fight with parents, and so on.

There are even intra organizational battles taking place all the time. Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House is continually at odds with Republicans in the House, Republicans and Democrat senators and even members of her own party in the House. Consider AOC and her squad of radical liberals.

If our leaders would work together, compromise and take control and stand up against evil doers, criminals, terrorists, murders, bigots, misogynists, racists and the pandemic, we could do make some revolutionary progress.

The vaccine for Covid is going to be the subject of the next epic battle between our political leaders. Governors will compete with other governors for limited vaccine supplies. Everybody will have a different cascade of how the vaccine should be delivered.

Should first responders be the first on the list, then old people, and what about sick old people who will likely die? Are we going to triage sick Americans? And who comes next? Is it reckless young people because they are anxious to party, congregate and raise hell in high school and college? Or should 40 to 60-year-olds be next? What about people of all ages with dangerous medical conditions? How do we prove that these people are really at risk?

And finally, we have those who don’t want to take any vaccine at all because Donald Trump was involved in the production of these lifesaving medicines, in record time. There’s a lot to be concerned with in this regard.

Supposedly, the potions being produced are efficient. Will they stop individuals who had recovered from contracting the flu again, or will they have to be inoculated once more. When can an individual safely go to a crowded restaurant or bar, school or work after taking the vaccine? Can an inoculated person infect someone who has not taken the vaccine? Like a grandpa or grandma?

The timing of the whole vaccination process is really up in the air. Return to normalcy maybe more than a year away.

Pandemic Party Pooper

I’ve been sitting around thinking about “My Life in Covid.” This will be the title of my book, if I ever sit down and write about the misery, deaths, politics, depression, unhappiness and despair of the time.

I was a very early victim of Covid. I’m in the vulnerable age group, but clean living, exercise, no alcohol and good food helped me beat the disease. Actually, I slept for most of the time that I was in the grip of the virus. Thankfully, I had no idea, nor did any of the experts, that I was in great jeopardy. If I had known, I probably would have suffered a nervous breakdown. Kudos to my family for nursing me back to health.

When I think of all the things that I do and don’t do since this freaking virus ruined our world, I’m amazed. It’s a wonder I have been able to keep busy and be somewhat productive. I’ve read scores of books (mostly junk novels), read newspapers, did crossword puzzles, discovered a new word play game in the Times called “Two Not Touch,” exercised two or three times a day, ate five times a day and paid bills.

I’m blessed with adult children who have stayed with my wife and me for extended periods. The game competitions are heated as are the political conversations. Everyone except me has a real job, so most of the day, family members isolate in different rooms zooming with their colleagues. But what have I been doing since March of last year?

The most obvious thing is that when I go outside, I concentrate on keeping a mask properly situated on my face and staying away from all people I encounter. The good news is that Central Park is nearby, but there are many more people to avoid in that section of New York City. Walking is supplemented by frequent yoga instruction, via computer, and weightlifting. We purchased weights for our apartment because our gym has been closed indefinitely. For a time, there were no weights available online anywhere in the country. Many had the same idea we had, to workout at home.

The bigger issue is what I have not been doing. My wife and I are typical city dwellers, and so before the flu, we ate at local restaurants with family and business contacts several times a week. I would say that not being able to dine out has been one of the biggest issues for me. I never realized how important our restaurant regime was to our lifestyle and social life.

We have no young children so dealing with whether schools are teaching in person or via the Internet is not an issue for us, although it’s a huge problem for many people in the City.

But, what do we do for entertainment? We can’t see the Yankees, Mets, Knicks or Rangers. The New York City Ballet is closed, Broadway is shut down and SoulCycle has ceased operations.

Since restaurant dining is not in the cards as the temperature drops, where is global warming when you need it, I go grocery shopping to make dinner for my wife. Eli’s seems to be profiting in the time of Covid. They have not reduced their prices.

I have tons of family and in-laws in the City, along with a plethora of nieces and nephews. It’s been a full-time job to avoid and condemn family get togethers. The mayor and governor have effectively put a clamp on parties for the holidays. This has caused significant agita for most people. My father in law and his wife are insistent on having dinners and meals with the clan, but we must continue to dissuade them. In fact, they are the most vulnerable.

It would be terrific to drop everything and fly out to Vail or down to Miami for a few days, but the infectious disease gurus say flying is dangerous. I guess we know that to be a fact. Being confined in a long metal tube with re-circulated air with 200 potential carriers of the bug would appear to be a dangerous environment to be in for a couple of hours.

The world is on the cusp of benefiting from a vaccine. It was created in record time, in part, due to the efforts of President Trump. The man is universally despised, so let’s give him some love for getting the medical people to move rapidly. But there are a lot of unanswered questions. Like, who is going to receive the vaccine first? I assume first responders, for saving us, deserve to be at the top of the list. Old, vulnerable people should have a priority. Our government leaders and teachers are essential. But what happens next? The little ones get inoculated, do 15 to 30-year-olds come next or do 31 to 59-year-old individuals get the magical potion? Are City dwellers higher on the list and then ruralites? Should poor people have a position in the front of the line? And what about the rest of the world? Are we only going to be saving Americans and the other seven billion people be damned?

We need somewhere between seven and 14 billion doses of vaccine, depending upon whether you get a one-shot vaccine or a two-shot vaccine. Just imagine the politicians arguing over who should be immunized first, second and third. Maybe Democrats should come before Republicans because they control the greatest part of the government.

The return to normalcy is also an enigma. When will it be OK to fly in a plane, take a subway, ride in an elevator, eat in a restaurant, work at the office, go to school physically, not wear a mask, not distance from others, kiss a loved one on the face, go to a religious celebration, go to a funeral, have a beer with friends? Is it five minutes after you get the vaccine, or one year?

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Despite recent political insanity and regional problems relating to the influenza crisis, Americans have reasons to be optimistic.  As in all other crises, including world wars, 9/11 and other terrorist attacks, our country will rally once again and be the beacon of hope for all mankind. The light at the end of the tunnel is shining brighter every day.

Several things have happened or are happening that should give us a feeling that there are good times ahead. First and foremost, the Trump experiment is over. Even if you are a supporter of the president, it’s got to be a great relief that he will soon leave the White House. Americans from both political parties are tired of his antics.

Trump did some positive things. Unfortunately, his brash attitude and terrible persona offset his accomplishments. Our economy is ready to take off, we are enjoying better and fairer relations with enemies and allies and most of us now recognize that what we read and hear from the press must be taken with a grain of salt.

The president failed miserably as a leader, a diplomat, a peacemaker and a friend. The man has no confidantes except for his close family. All he has is a long line of groupies that ride his coattails by telling him what he wants to hear. Trump was bad for America, and hopefully he will fade away into oblivion.

Another positive event is the pace at which our scientists and doctors have reacted to COVID-19. Frankly, I was dismayed by the original response of the medical community to the pandemic last March and April. None seemed to be prepared for the deadly shroud that the flu cast on the entire world.

The US and all countries have experienced outbreaks of infectious diseases before, so there should have been action plans to fight deadly viruses. Why was the medical community not ready to combat a bug that could literally wipe out mankind? Existential threats should be at the top of researchers’ focus lists. We spent billions of dollars on cancer, heart disease and other maladies. Why weren’t we spending more to protect the world from this type of existential threat?

Anyway, that was yesterday. Pharmaceutical companies broke all sorts of records creating a new vaccine. The time needed to invent an effective serum to kill off Covid-19 was a fraction of the time it usually takes to bring a cure to market. Disregarding the aforementioned un-preparedness, our scientists have done a great job and deserve a lot of credit for working so diligently to save us.

It’s only a matter of time before the vaccine is distributed worldwide. Our worst fears are being allayed as I write this essay. There is a strong chance that we will get back to normalcy in the coming months.

In America, there is one trend that is frightening, however. Radical political and social groups are attacking fellow Americans needlessly. I totally appreciate the fact that all issues relating to our society, such as civil rights, gender rights, a woman’s right to choose, etc. are on the table. I’m delighted that the country seems prepared to address inequality of every type.

What I’m not happy about is the intensity and violence affiliated with those who are leading specific efforts. What saddens me is that needed discourse about political and social preferences always become vitriolic and confrontational in Washington, at colleges, at cocktail parties and even in kitchens at suppertime.

All Americans must appreciate that the evils and unfairness of 250 years cannot be rectified in one congressional session or by one president. And, appreciating both sides of disagreements is essential to finding lasting solutions.

Free speech is in jeopardy. If this continues, it will result in an unfortunate backlash, rather than correcting inequalities some experience every day.

Now sit back and watch the light at the end of the tunnel grow brighter every day.

Is Going To School Worth The Risk?

Education is one of the most important issues for parents these days. When you have to be concerned about a rogue virus, educational decisions are much more difficult for administrators to make, and for parents to accept.

It is worthwhile to look at the risks and rewards of sending children to school in the current toxic environment.

First, the downside of remote teaching. Just about everybody agrees that children learn exponentially more in person than with a computer at home. The children who stay home for an extended period of time are losing valuable instruction that will not be good for their future advancement. It’s difficult to estimate how far behind students will be in one month, three months or one year when the pandemic ends.

How important is the socialization aspect of school at a young age? Is interfacing with other young people important to the maturation process? Most parents believe it is critical.

Interrupting the process for an extended period of time is noteworthy from many perspectives. Most important is the way children learn how to relate to one another and to their teachers. It’s not the same as spending time with a parent (versus another child of the same age).

Younger children need to have a significant amount of exercise in their curricula and space. So, keeping children engaged and cooped up in a small apartment for six months as compared to school with roomy classrooms, a gymnasium and a cafeteria, could have a significant impact.

Many urban children are dependent upon the free meals they receive at school. There is little doubt that remote learning results in some malnutrition. Not benefiting from these meals will put even greater strain on families as they try to fill the gap.

If parents must stay home from work to care for their children, they will lose crucial wages for their absence. Small businesses are having a difficult time and will likely be unable to accommodate parents with care issues.

The damage related to shutting down the country is difficult to measure. In the case of parents losing their jobs, the issues are fairly clear. Parents will not earn needed funds to care for and feed their families. And, the companies that these parents work for will be deprived of essential employees if childcare interferes with attendance. Above all, parents must first care for their children before the needs of their employers.

The overriding issue for parents who are hesitant about sending their children to school is the potential of infection. The more individuals that children come into contact with, the greater the chances that they will be exposed to the virus. But the odds of children coming down with anything more than a fever and a cough are slim unless they suffer from a serious health issue. The only deadly risk is infecting parents and grandparents.

Most schools that teach face to face have complied with masking orders and distancing between the students. This has not moved Mayor DeBlasio who closed schools for nearly a million students in NYC. Moreover, teachers are similarly protected against exposure to the flu.

In total, the sensibility of sending children to school is greater than keeping them at home. However, parents should be given the option to have their children be educated remotely. This is not a time to be forcing parents or students to do things they are not comfortable with.  

Politicizing Covid-19

I’m sad to report that, along with so many other issues, the pandemic is being politicized to the maximum extent possible. By way of comparison, it’s the same as a president and his opponents using an extended military conflict for political gain. When the health of the entire world is dependent on our leaders, politics should be left at the door of the conference room. There is misbehavior on both sides of the aisle.

In the case of a national emergency, the president, the commander-in-chief, must lead the country. For the most part, he or she must develop a game plan to defeat the enemy. In this case, the enemy is an infectious disease that has killed thousands of people globally.

The criticism of Trump began when the flu virus started to rampage across the world. Given that medical science was not up to the challenge, and experts didn’t have a clue about how to respond to COVID-19, the president took action to protect the country. He prevented travel to and from China and the other places that posed a threat to the US, and he tried to calm Americans.

Democrats endlessly harped on the president’s decisions. What is curious, is that the experts were not in agreement about what to do, so Trump made decisions on his own. He tried to do the things that would minimize the spread of the pandemic. Frankly, when the history books are written about this sordid situation, they probably will say there was no one who had the right answers to defeat Covid. The disease was going to take its course no matter what actions world leaders took.

Masks were not going to guarantee our health. There were not enough of them, or ventilators, because medical experts did not predict the world would need them. China reacted in their political interests and let the rest of the world down by downplaying the strength of the virus. The history books will probably say Trump did the best with what was known at the time.

This is not to say that every tactic Trump employed was strictly in the best interest of the American people. The disease arose during an election year and the politicians were yearning for an opportunity to showcase their leadership. Trump exaggerated, and Democrats tried to downplay an ongoing economic surge. The latter got their wish in the form of the coronavirus.

Fast forwarding to the present, the president was on TV this week promising to deliver a safe vaccine before the election. No surprise there. Trump may need to keep this promise to get reelected. But the proof is in the pudding. If a safe vaccine is not available, for the general public, by Election Day, Trump will probably lose to Joe Biden.

So, why are Democrats berating him for predicting that a cure is around the corner? Simply put, Democrats will do anything and say anything that hurts the president’s chances to win reelection. This includes charging the president with lying about a deliverable vaccine for everyone, not just for the most vulnerable among us.

One would think that all Americans including Democrats would do anything to benefit the well-being of the country, even if it resulted in votes for Trump. We’re talking about a disease that has the potential to kill off the entire human race. Why would a patriot be anything but helpful? Why would Trump lie about something so important that will either take place by Election Day or not?

Every day, I feel more embarrassed and ashamed by my leaders. Even to save the world from a horrible pandemic, Republicans and Democrats cannot join hands to work together to defeat the disease. After the pandemic is over, and we have our next president, voters should spend time to consider whether the losers we have as leaders should be thrown out of office.

The Pandemic Could Be A Long-Term Affair

Everyone is asking themselves each day, what’s it going to be like after the pandemic, and when will it finally subside? In the meantime, the politicians are bickering with each other about every aspect of the virus crisis including members of the same party.

I still believe the public is not receiving the information it is entitled to, which will enable average Americans to make personal choices about taking risk. Is it because we can’t be trusted with sensitive data, such as how many people are actually dying? One would think that this is the most important metric. If the death rate decreases to a nominal number (not to minimize the importance of any deaths), the nation should begin to return to normalcy, the definition of which remains to be determined.

Given that older people and those with serious medical conditions are the most vulnerable (to die), the behavior of all Americans should be built around a plan to protect this group. The operative metric for vulnerable people is the number of new cases of coronavirus. The danger is not about new cases per se, rather, it’s preventing vulnerable people from exposure to the bug.

As an aside, large and small companies should advise vulnerable employees, the aged and those with other medical issues, to work from home and avoid unnecessary contact until new cases diminish. It is not necessary for the entire workforce to work remotely without end.

The really big issues facing political and business leaders are return to school, return to the office and attending crowed venues, including religious ceremonies, weddings, restaurants, bars, movies, and gyms. For most people, visitation with family members is also a critical issue. It’s going to be different to stop Americans from seeing their loved ones for much longer.

The estimated arrival of a vaccine is now front and center. Because of the impending election, the timing and approval of a prevention therapy has become greatly politicized. When this happens to any issue the information flow becomes unreliable and distorted.

Trump would love to have a vaccine before the election. I hope the president does not push the vaccine upon us before it is determined to be safe. Correspondingly, I hope the Trump’s opponents don’t do anything to unnecessarily slow down the process for political gain.

I keep returning to the issue of normalcy in this blog. Realistically, people will not go to work willingly until they are sure it’s safe, and transportation to and from the office is reliable and sanitary.

Similarly, children going back to school are another bugaboo. Even though healthy children don’t die from the virus, many parents will balk at knowingly sending their loved ones into a diseased environment.

Unfortunately for restaurants, diners are not going to take unnecessary risks for a meal. Many smaller bistros are going to be forced out of business because of reticence on the part of their customers, and a distance requirement that will negatively affect the number of meals that can be served.

And then there are transportation issues, beaches, parks, museums, etc. that will be problematic for a long time. We are all in for a tough ride in the short to medium term. Risk aversion will be paramount to most Americans.

Calculated Risks Pertaining To Corona Virus

Don’t you wish you could freely visit family members, work at your office, take your spouse out to dinner, walk the streets without wearing those damn masks and send your children off to school each morning? Well, don’t expect to do these things too soon. Many Americans and many government officials are being especially careful and conservative as they protect their loved ones, co-workers and constituents.

Supposedly, 94% of Americans who die from the coronavirus had pre-existing conditions. That means you have very little chance of dying unless you have a pre-existing medical issue. The list of ailments is available from many sources. These favorable odds present interesting possibilities along with extremely difficult considerations for our leaders.

Should political and health authorities make decisions assuming that anyone who contracts the virus can die? Americans make decisions all the time that are based upon the odds of dying or being injured, such as smoking, driving a car, skydiving and travelling on an airplane.

The risk of getting sick is approximately the same for everyone. If two people attend the same beer party, don’t wear masks, don’t distance and don’t wash their hands, they probably have about the same odds of getting sick (at least as far as we know). But, if one of these people has asthma, he or she has a much greater chance of perishing from the disease.

As our president, governors, mayors, business CEOs, teachers and heads of families make decisions about how to live, work and socialize, should they do things that defy the odds? This could be decisions that decrease or increase the odds of mortality. It depends upon the exact odds, one would suppose.

Take going to school, rather than studying from home. If a healthy child has practically zero chance of dying, shouldn’t a decision to send the child to school be a legitimate choice? Keep in mind, the child may have a meaningful chance of contracting the virus and being sick for up to two weeks.

Similarly, the CEOs of companies must decide whether to order their employees back to the office. If they know who is vulnerable, who has existing conditions and/or advanced age, they could reasonably demand that employees come to work, excluding those at risk.

Similarly, the president, who is responsible for the safety of 340 million American must decide how to set a pace for a return to normalcy while encountering scores of different opinions. For sure, he or she must ensure that masking, distancing and washing are employed. But when does the president say it’s time to reinvigorate our economy? It probably should be when he is sure a vast number of Americans will not die from the coronavirus, more so than whether Americans might contract the virus.

In recent history, the presidents of the United States did not shut down the country for measles and mumps. These viruses infected millions, and the vast majority of sufferers did not die, unless they had pre-existing conditions.

When will Americans get back to normalcy? Are we going to have our lives be disrupted in perpetuity, or are we prepared to play the odds? The odds would have us be extra careful about vulnerable people who have a high chance of dying if they contract coronavirus.

And of course, there are less then all-in options. Certain activities are more dangerous than others. The menu is great and includes eating inside restaurants, going to the movies, going the health clubs, going to bars and the like. With proper precautions, we can live relatively safely and participate in these activities.

 

As We Fight The Virus, Society Is Changing

As we battle the pandemic, many new issues have arisen for Americans. Broad social changes are under way, even as our neighbors are suffering and dying from the virus. Following are a list of some of the most significant items.

Diversity. So much is being discussed about the need for diversity in business and everyday life. The most downtrodden groups, specifically women and people of color, are making massive demands. It’s strange that the pandemic would encourage such unrelated actions while so many are suffering medically and financially.

In business, corporations are striving to diversify their boards of directors and promoting more women and Blacks to senior management positions. Large investors are blackballing corporations that either ignore or resist demand for diversity. Having more diversity among decision makers will improve the performance of corporations in the minds of most savvy investors.

Heroes and icons. Quite a few former heroes and great Americans have lost their hallowed status. Many of our forefathers who fought for our country’s independence are being outed for owning and trading slaves. The accomplishments of these former heroes are being denigrated because of their insensitivities relating to the plight of Blacks. The result has included tearing down statues and memorials. Even Washington and Jefferson have been caught up in the controversy.

Social interaction. Americans, for the most part, are affectionate. Hugging and kissing friends and family members is commonplace. Or, should I say, was commonplace. Moving forward, the pandemic has taught us that being touchy feely can be hazardous to your health. After the virus is defeated, it’s likely that physical contact will be much less.

Physical interaction between people who are romantically inclined will also be affected. If we’re going to shun an innocent kiss, how will we react if one individual tries to encourage intimacy. It will likely be very awkward.

Physical fitness. Physical fitness hit a high point before the pandemic. More Americans than ever were exercising several times each week for health and vanity reasons. But, the authorities have indicated that health clubs are extremely dangerous. Heavy breathing and expelling hot air and spittle when exercising are perilous to bystanders. It’s how the Covid virus spreads- through the air. For this reason, authorities have not allowed clubs to reopen, and many are going out of business.

Restaurants. No small business enterprises have suffered more than restaurants, eateries and cafes. Many have gone bankrupt, and more certainly will prospectively. In New York City, dining indoors is not permitted. So many restaurants have taken over space outside their doors. Unfortunately, the number of meals that can be served is a small percent of what it used to be, especially with distancing requirements. What’s going to happen in locations that are cold during winter months, if restrictions do not end? And, even if restrictions are decreased, will diners risk infection when restaurants must serve food indoors?

Police protection. Probably the most controversial political actions are those involving police and funding of these first responders. Black demands for fairness and equal justice have expanded dramatically, and now some cities are decreasing police protection by reducing personnel and slashing budgets. The result has been more crime. Some is perpetrated by violent protesters, and some result from decreased responses by police departments. How will we protect our urban centers without aggressive police surveillance and response? This question remains unanswered.

Returning to school. A gigantic controversy is brewing relating to decisions about sending our children back to school in September. Is it safe? Will the virus spread if schools are opened? Are our parents and grandparents vulnerable to the disease being carried home by innocent youngsters? Are teachers in jeopardy? There are many different opinions about how to proceed and school administrators are going to go their separate ways. Will parents send young their young children back to classrooms before a vaccine is the discovered and is employed?

Protest. We need a new definition of protest. We need agreement among dissatisfied groups that violence, under no circumstances, is a good thing for our society and social interaction. Destruction of local neighborhoods is criminal an unproductive. Nevertheless, authorities must do their part to deal with complaints from abused groups, especially people of color.

The 2020 elections. The tabulation of votes in November is going to be contested because our voting systems are antiquated and not secure. The chaos that is likely to occur is going to result in a massive demand by Americans to upgrade our election process. If we are not diligent in this regard, every voter will question the validity of our election results

Government financial support during crises. The government’s response to the needs of average Americans in the midst of a financial crisis has been inspirational. It’s great to see that all politicians, to some extent, support this aid. There will be controversies about the extent of aid, but we will work through these issues. Our federal government must step up to support those in need.

Many Covid Questions, And Very Few Answers

There are many questions that must be answered before we can return to our normal lives after the pandemic subsides. Unfortunately, most questions have no answers at this time. This makes decisions nearly impossible for the authorities and individuals alike.

This blog has expressed skepticism about the timing of getting back to normalcy on numerous occasions. Every sensible individual on Earth is still distancing, using masks in public, quarantining and isolating. The reason for these precautions is that the virus is still wreaking havoc on our society. Thousands of people are still testing positive and too many are dying. The aforementioned actions are the only defensive tools we have until a vaccine is discovered and proven safe.

The following is a list of questions that are on most people’s minds. It is not complete, but it covers most concerns. Given that information flowing from our leaders and health experts is choppy, incomplete and tilted because of the impending elections, it is difficult to have confidence relating to new initiatives or a return to normalcy.

Not in any order of importance, here are the questions that so many of us are pondering:

  • When will a vaccine be produced that can safely be used with confidence?
  • Under what circumstances will we send our children back to school?
  • When can we safely go back to our offices to work?
  • Is public transportation safe?
  • For how long will we need to use masks outside of our homes?
  • When will restaurants open without restrictions distancing requirements?
  • When will health clubs open?
  • When will we be able to safely visit elderly relatives and friends without endangering their lives?
  • Are elevators safe to use?
  • When will it be safe to fly commercially?
  • What are the key metrics that will indicate that the pandemic is ending?
  • When will we be able to go to our beaches?
  • When will it be safe to go to concerts, ball games, theater and movies?
  • When will all states be safe to travel to?
  • Can we get sick from the virus more than once?
  • Will everyone be immunized?
  • How long will it take to immunize every American?
  • What will happen if some Americans refuse to be immunized?
  • Who will pay for the immunizations?
  • When will it be safe to travel internationally?

 

As stated previously, this is not a complete list. And, most of the questions are unanswerable at this time. We must continue to demand transparency from our leaders to make sensible and measured decisions for our families and businesses.

It’s Pathetic: Trump Or Biden

There’s intrigue in the air. Hopeful candidates, political hacks, businesspeople, community organizers, minority groups and the news media are jockeying to position themselves before the 2020 elections. Public relations gimmicks and false advertisement in newspapers and on TV have overwhelmed Americans. The truth is difficult to come by. Every communication is wharped by election considerations.

For the first time in recent history, voters are perplexed about their choices for the highest position in the land. In most previous elections, voters would have said that at least one of the presidential contenders was well qualified to become the most powerful person on Earth. Not this year. We have two men vying for the top spot or who are a bad combination of a sick joke and outright incompetence.

On the one hand, we have Donald Trump, who miraculously stole the presidency from Hillary Clinton in 2016. Even Trump thought he was going to lose big to Hillary, as she attempted to extend the Clinton dynasty. What a surprise! The polls showed her easily defeating her opponent, and the know-it-all media was prematurely celebrating a big victory. All of a sudden Florida fell to Trump and a number of battleground states voted for Trump for the hell of it, or because Clinton didn’t feel the need to visit these places during the campaign.

What we got is a caricature of a megalomaniac as president. He didn’t know what he was doing at first and governed the country like the despot he was in business. But there was too much smoke, too many mirrors, too many lies, too much bad judgment floating around. Every Trump hater began to label the president a fibbing, self-aggrandizing, incompetent, non-diplomatic, racist, misogynistic, sexist, mean person.

For four years, America has put up with Trump’s quirky personality and inability to work with or trust anybody he hired to be Secretary of State, Attorney General, head of any number of intelligence agencies, etc. Trump’s non-familiarity with big government has turned Washington topsy-turvy. The nation’s capital is more than ever chock full of con artists, shylocks and social climbing power mongers. But now, we also have a person with bad character in the White House.

Internationally and diplomatically, Trump has been the laughingstock of the global community. His counterparts in every country couldn’t believe that the most powerful man in the world was a dingbat. Play to his ego, and you can get whatever you want from Trump, they thought.

Anyway, we survived the last four years, barely. To make matters worse a pandemic has attacked the world and made the political scene even more insane. Now we have a terrible politician playing the role of an infectious disease expert. An existential threat is being managed by a man who was famous for being a robber baron and a real estate con artist.

Many believed Trump would drop out after four years of abuse by the entire Washington infrastructure. What kind of man comes back for more punishment after getting eviscerated each and every day on all the news outlets? Everyone hates the president, even people who support him. We hoped he would say after four years, “That was fun, I want to do real estate deals and build golf courses. I quit.” No way, he wants four more years.

You would assume that savvy liberals and Trump’s opponents would recognize that he is really vulnerable and ripe to be taken down. For the second time in four years, Democrats picked a person who is one of the few people around that Trump can defeat. Joe Biden, 79 years old, Sleepy Joe, is the man that has been chosen to defeat the president. He’s been hanging around Washington for 50 years and never really accomplished anything. He likes to remind Americans that he was Vice President. Big deal.

How could Democrats select Biden to run against Trump? He’s too old, too mistake prone, inarticulate, bumbling, not respected and after half a century of doing stuff in Washington, is clearly unprepared to be president.

Just about any decent Democrat could beat Trump head-to-head, and the liberals picked Joe. They are 0 for 2 picking contenders for the presidency in the past four years. Who is the Democrat king maker? He should be summarily fired.

And consider the positions Biden must take to solidify his base: de-funder of police departments, supporter of violent protests, pro entitlement giveaways in which unemployment pays more than a real job, releaser of criminals from prison, open borders advocate, illegal immigration sponsor, government over spender, etc. And most importantly, Joe has to sound like a socialist to collect votes.

I’m shaking in my boots about the staying power of Covid-19. I’m also frightened that either Trump or Biden will be president for the next four years. Doesn’t the country have some better individuals to be president. Apparently not, at least in 2020.

Who am I going to vote for? Neither of these two candidates.