If you want to understand everything that is wrong with American politics and society, but are tired of the Trump show, Rand Paul might be a good place to start. Paul is the junior senator from Kentucky so, believe it or not, is actually the more decent and compassionate member of that unfortunate state’s senate delegation, but given that the other senator from Kentucky is Mitch McConnell, that is not saying much about Paul.
For much of his life, both inside and outside of politics, Paul has been a devout Libertarian. He is the son of former Libertarian presidential candidate, and current quack, Ron Paul, so Rand Paul, who was named after the high priestess of Libertarianism-and deeply mediocre novelist-Ayn Rand, came to his Libertarian from a very young age. In recent years, like many in his party, Paul has moved away from whatever odd principles he once had in favor of fealty to Donald Trump.
Senator Paul recently became the first member of the senate to announce that he has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. According to a statement his office released on Sunday, Paul, “is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events.” If you are reading this and are able to take a test “out of an abundance of caution” because of “extensive travel and events” raise your hand. I don’t think many American hands went up. The US has been so slow getting tests out that many people who have symptoms are not able to get tested, but Paul a powerful, well-connected and wealthy man was able to get the front of the line. At no point has Paul expressed any recognition that the president he so faithfully follows has worked hard to deny other Americans the ability to assuage concerns similar to Paul’s.
Paul, like virtually every other member of his party made no effort to restrain, or even contradict, a Republican president who has spreading disinformation about the virus
In the days leading up to deciding to be tested for the Coronavirus, Paul continued to go about his life more or less as usual. Even after being tested, but before getting the results, Paul conducted his business as a senator, worked with staff and other members and did minimal social distancing. In doing that he exposed countless others to the virus, putting their health and lives at risk. Additionally, Paul, like virtually every other member of his party made no effort to restrain, or even contradict, a Republican president who has spreading disinformation about the virus.
Paul’s reckless behavior may have directly affected dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people, but for every high profile senator like Rand Paul who ignored the warnings right up until he became concerned for his own health, there are thousands of Americans who continue to be misinformed by Donald Trump and his enablers in politics and media. These people are unable to get a test when they are concerned, and, in many cases, like Paul have spent weeks ignoring the reality of the Coronavirus crisis and therefore accelerated the spread of the disease.
Rand Paul is an angry, unpleasant, hostile man who has been educated and indoctrinated far beyond his intelligence and who has sacrificed whatever limited integrity he once had at the feet of an unstable and dangerous president. He is now suffering from a deadly illness in no small part because of his own ignorance. However, I wish that he, like all sick people, have a speedy and quick recovery. If he recovers, the test of Paul’s meager intellect, and indeed humanity, will be if he recognizes that parroting scientifically bankrupt ideas for fear of upsetting a deeply troubled president is condemning others, who do not have access to early testing or good medical care, to death.
Lifting social distancing policies will lead to an extremely significant increase in deaths. However, a growing number of Republicans think that is okay if it helps the economy and therefore Trump’s reelection chances
Unfortunately, that reality still escapes most Republicans whether in government or media. The proof of that is the extent to which conservatives sought to downplay the Covid-19 crisis and their subsequent failure to defer to those who understood pandemics and how to fight them. Moreover, those previous failures are in danger of being compounded exponentially as Republicans including Donald Trump and numerous others are advocating lifting social distancing policies and recommendations because of the effect it is having on the stock market.
This is an extraordinarily short-sighted, murderous, immoral, and for lack of a better word, idiotic idea. Lifting social distancing policies will lead to an extremely significant increase in deaths. However, a growing number of Republicans think that is okay if it helps the economy and therefore Trump’s reelection chances. This is simply evil, but it also reveals a level of stupidity that is exceptional even in the Trump era. Do they not realize that two million deaths will lead to economic disruption and fear that would make the current economic downturn look like a Sunday school picnic?
Trump and Paul share a core inability to accept scientific reality when it gets in the way of either ideology or partisan interest, as well as an astonishing inability to recognize how this pandemic is already affecting millions of Americans. These two powerful politicians are completely buffeted from the economic uncertainty and lack of access to healthcare that frame the crisis for the rest of us. Thus, it is no surprise that they can blithely issue statements about getting tested because they are “concerned” or say things like “we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem.” Like most Republicans Paul and Trump know and clearly don’t care that the lives and livelihoods that are lost because of their decisions are unlikely to be their own.
Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LincolnMitchell