An Actual Presidential Response to the Pandemic

How the Biden-Harris administration brought adults into the room

Since I got after Facebook the other day I guess it’s only fair I rag on Twitter today. Twitter is great, honestly, but it’s also kinda … awful? I have many arguably destructive hobbies and one of them happens to be scrolling through Woke and Do Something Twitter and having a good laugh. I mean, it is genuinely great that y’all are so plugged in, but there’s just an absolute cornucopia of bad takes. And it’s truly deeply entertaining. If I ever get elected to office perhaps I’ll feel differently, but for now I am true neutral.

I’m not kidding. I am actually THAT girl.

When Trump was … “President?” I’m not sure we can call him “President,” but for the sake of this article let’s just go with it. Anyways, when Trump was residing in the White House despite not having the consent of the governed under a democratic system holding all people equal, Woke and Do Something Twitter was still pretty hilarious but at least for the most part I could excuse the bad takes as them simply not having that great a grasp on the process of legislation and governance. Which … I mean, that’s how Trump ended up in the Presidency, so sure. What I mean to say is Presidential powers are indeed expansive, but they are not the be-all end-all of governance AND whilst Congress as a co-equal branch of government blah blah etc does have a great deal of power no one individual in Congress wields equivalent power to that of the Executive Branch. That is whilst I previously described the Senate as the world’s 100 most powerful people, no one Senator wields the entirety of the Senate’s power.

No Senator EXCEPT Joe Manchin (D-WV). He does — in fact — wield the entirety of the Senate’s power. Go to ratio him in futility here:

So getting your knickers in a twist over what Nancy Pelosi or even Diane Feinstein is or isn’t doing in your personal estimation is somewhat silly. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pay close attention and have your own representatives on speed dial, but Nancy Pelosi is not Willy Wonka. I can understand the mistake. They both really love chocolate and are renowned for their disciplinary pwnage, but I’m pretty sure Nancy Pelosi doesn’t have a magical glass elevator. If she does I’m going to be a bit piqued because it means she’s been holding out on me. I TRUSTED YOU, NANCY!!

Okay, so all kidding aside if you go to the White House site now and click on that link it takes you to a page briefly outlining the COVID-19 strategy. And it’s fine. It’s a bit light on the details, but it’s a public facing site so that’s okay. Also, if you were to … I dunno scroll down and read the entirety of the page you would come across a nice little PDF entitled “National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness.

I make a lot of weird jokes, but in this case, I’m not kidding. It’s right there. Here’s the link again.

The PDF is 200 pages of policy and strategy. I read it, because of course I did, and unlike the other things I’ve read for you like the GOP 2016 Party Platform and what I can only assume was one of Stephen Miller’s wet dreams in print form, this one actually has an attachment to reality. It is only 200 pages and has the limitation of being policy proposed by the Executive Branch so there’s only so far it can go into detail, but it outlines what is more or less an executable strategy for distributions of vaccines, health support particularly for under-served communities, and re-opening schools. There’s even a Green strategy sort of tucked in with it.

So, the data here is level of particulates in the air in I think 2018. So, there is a trend, and you’ll just have to believe me that this was statistically significant, but probably it would have been better if I had been able to get air pollution data for the years during which those who passed were growing up … but the general point stands: The more air pollution in your state the higher the number of deaths from COVID-19 you’re going to have. (If you want to use this graph, just cite this article.)

Again, terms and conditions apply. The strategy includes twelve Executive Actions already enacted which although rigorous and helpful are limited in scope because they are Executive Actions. The strategy also requires the continued cooperation of Congress and despite the fact that both houses are held by a narrow Democratic majority Democrats are truly obscene in their idealism and belief in democracy as a system and therefore tend to forget that Republicans for all their corruption and current minority are typically able to present a more unified front.

There’s two areas of this strategy that deeply concern me. And I do need to note my concern is not the same concern I had regarding the Trump administration insanity. (Seriously, Trump’s greatest accomplishment was Melania’s tennis pavilion. After the remodel, my partner will enjoy making use of it when I am President. Decide for yourself whether or not I’m kidding. No. I’m serious. This is how a democracy works. You get to decide if you want to elect me to office.) For one I’m concerned that the Biden-Harris administration are rather gung-ho about getting kids back to school and for another I’m concerned that they are really dedicated to working with local leaders and government. Both of those things are on the surface really great and I do generally approve, but I will explain my reservations.

We do need to re-open schools and the strategy centres specifically on getting children back to school. The reason for this is because having kids at home is disruptive not only to their education and emotional development, but to the economy. American society is still largely based on the idea that women not only work in jobs which pay money but also take care of the domestic sphere, child-rearing, and any voluntary or political work. This is a big part of the reason so many women have exited or been forced out of their jobs during the pandemic and it will have severe and sustained economic repercussions for the next several years even with a concerted effort to course-correct. So yeah, getting kids back to school is incredibly important because the sooner women can get back into the workforce proper the less those nation-wide repercussions will be.

BUT even if children were not vectors for the disease — and they are — this requires teachers and school administrators to assemble with parents in person. Teachers in some states are slightly higher priority for vaccination, but it’s very inconsistent. Teachers, additionally, remain woefully underpaid and because the ACA has not been well supported by certain people who think they know best, educators and administrators are unlikely to be well supported and protected in all states and localities.

Which actually leads me into my next point. It is truly great that the Biden-Harris administration is making a concerted effort to work with local leaders and extant structures and communities and so forth, but this is a pretty idealist take. I don’t believe for a second that either Biden or Harris is naïve enough to believe that we’ll all be vaccinated by June such that we can hold hands and skip through the flowers — although if someone would draw me a cartoon of Harris skipping through a field of flowers … I mean, I’m poor, I can’t commission you, but it would be great. Where local governments and leaders are happy to work with Democrats in general and Biden and Harris in particular this will all go swimmingly. But show me one embattled Democrat in a red state or one political ladder climbing Republican wishing to make his mark and I will show you a locality where things are going to go a bit slower.

If this were climate change or the economy or something like that I’d be much less alarmist, but this is a pandemic which kills people. So, that’s not great. And the problem remains that despite the fact that Democrats and Dr. Fauci are currently on the side of not letting people die horrible painful deaths all alone and Republicans are apparently pro-syphilis, mercury treatments, and leeches or whatever it is they’re on about this week there are still a lot of people who would prefer to ignore Fauci and the Democrats just because … because.

Notice me, senpai!

These concerns of mine are ultimately probably not going to be huge issues, and again, I really have to emphasize this was 200 pages of stuff that I didn’t hate with a burning passion and need to fact-check every third word. I have concerns, yes, but I manage to have debilitating anxiety about whether or not I’ve put an extra gram of cottage cheese in my snack, because omg that throws off my calorie and protein count for the day. (Hi, I’m Ari, and I am both mildly autistic and fighting an eating disorder.) The point being there are gradations to my fears, anxieties, and concerns, and while this all does merit pointing out it’s not even approaching the disastrousness that was Trump and the GOP.

If Fauci and the Democrats and Trump and the GOP were bands I think Fauci and the Dems would do just metal covers of Disney songs and Trump and the GOP would be an all white Reggae band but without any sense of rhythm and none of the correct instruments.

Basically what I’m saying is at this point the entire modus operandi of the GOP is to be racist and smoke.

Without getting too far into it this because I’ll likely want to write more articles and this one’s already a bit long this kinda extends to everything with the Biden-Harris administration. They are leagues ahead of he-who-shall-not-be-named just by providing consistent and factual leadership. But, because of a number of factors people who want to virtue-signal on Twitter will never be happy with them. It’s stupid, and it’s damaging, and yet despite how annoying/entertaining it is this sort of *checks notes* discourse is crucial to our system. Even though a lot of these anti-Biden-Harris hot takes on Twitter are in bad faith it is imperative that dumb people on Twitter still get to express their opinions regardless of how dumb those opinions may be. This creates issues for actual progressivism because it means you have to make people who will never be happy feel like they did something when they totally didn’t, but at least we’re not in a situation where an unelected President is trying to get away with committing war crimes at the US-Mexico border.

So yeah, carry on with the hot takes, but if you annoy me too much I’ll start handing out reading assignments. And as usual: democracy is awesome.

Doctor of Palaeopathology, rage-prone optimist, stealth berserker, opera enthusiast, and insatiable consumer of academic journals.

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