Clowns Like Sen. Rand Paul Should Stop Trolling the Adults Determined to Get Us Through the Pandemic.
Some key paragraphs:
“…Although he often speaks with a straight face and assertive tone, he lacks seriousness at a deeply serious time in this nation’s history. He could be using his position as a second-term United States senator to help defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Paul spends his time downplaying a worldwide crisis that has killed more than 840,000 of his fellow Americans, and spreading lies and conspiracy theories about Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser on the coronavirus.
Paul is a physician, for God’s sake. We would like to think a doctor — who is also the son of a doctor — would be looking for opportunities to work in conjunction with Fauci and colleagues to help end the exasperating grip that COVID continues to hold on our daily lives. Not Paul. As an infuriated Fauci pointed out last week while testifying at a Senate hearing, Paul is not only making scurrilous charges but raising campaign money off them, providing boxes on his website for supporters to contribute $5, $10, $20, $100, right next an apparently motivating message: “Fire Dr. Fauci.”
If only the senator were still painting noses pink. Instead, as Fauci told him in the hearing, “You are making a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain.”
Sadly, Paul’s petulant trolling of a public official on the front lines of fighting this pandemic isn’t rare these days. Across America, parents are disrupting school board meetings or threatening teachers and school administrators because they’re upset with mask mandates and school closures.
Imagine being a school superintendent or a principal trying to decide, almost on a daily basis, what’s best, what’s safe, for students and teachers in classrooms, even as elected officials such as Paul and our own Gov. Greg Abbott use these dedicated professionals as politically convenient footballs. Imagine principals dealing with unprecedented staffing shortages trying to keep the learning going and the school doors open. Imagine teachers, many with children of their own, who walk into classrooms full of kids each morning, not knowing if this is the day the virus will get them.
Throw in parents and political opportunists railing about critical race theory and nosing about for alleged pornographic library books, and it’s no wonder teachers and administrators are leaving the profession. NPR recently quoted the head of the National School Superintendents Association, Dan Domenech, saying he’s had school leaders calling, “telling me that they’re ready to commit suicide” — an alarming admission he said he’s never heard before.
The situation on the medical front line is dire as well. Doctors and nurses in our hospitals are overwhelmed — and have been for months — primarily because they’re having to deal with an onslaught of patients who still refuse to get vaccinated. After two years of COVID, our medical professionals are exhausted, burned out, frustrated.
With more than 700,000 new cases being diagnosed in this country every day, far more than at any previous point in the pandemic, it can feel as it there’s no end in sight.
What happened to the greater good? What happened to common sense? Heck, what happened to personal responsibility?
Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services found that “Texans not vaccinated against COVID-19 were about 20 times more likely to suffer a COVID-19-associated death and 12 times more likely to test positive than people who were fully vaccinated.”
It’s easy to see why French President Emmanuel Macron, pointing out to a French newspaper that there’s no justifiable excuse for refusing vaccination, resorted to an obscenity last week. He used the naughty word to describe how his government would continue to make life difficult for the nation’s relatively few vaccine holdouts until the pandemic is defeated. Despite tut-tutting from Macron’s political opponents, France’s Health Ministry reported that the number of first vaccinations against the coronavirus had tripled a day after the president’s indelicate remark.
Closer to home, Dr. Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine is no stranger to trolling from the anti-vaxxer crowd and has been the target of threats, death and otherwise, as he has gained more and more visibility among public-health specialists trying to guide us through the pandemic.
This continued trolling comes as hundreds of millions of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed at Baylor by Hotez and longtime collaborator Maria Elena Bottazzi are being distributed in India and eventually around the globe. It carries no patent, so it can get into as many arms around the world as possible.
“This is a gift from Texas to the world,” Bottazzi told the Chronicle. “What else can I say?”
Here’s what we say: thank you.
Instead of trolling, insulting and even occasionally losing our temper with a well-meaning public servant, we should take a minute to contemplate the difficult, thankless job they’ve done day-in, and day-out — for nearly two years.”