Moving toward a better American future
April 24, 2020
These past few weeks have not been good for the American people or for the rest of the world. The coronavirus pandemic has wrecked havoc on not only the general health of the world’s population, but has had devastating effects on all aspects of the human condition, from our economic well-being to our social, religious and personal behaviors.
While the pandemic has for the moment quieted our political divisions at home, it has focused and brutally demonstrated our government’s three fundamental policy shortcomings. At the same time, it has highlighted the courageous actions of our first responders and the heroic efforts of our medical community to comfort and, to the extent possible, save the lives of victims of the pandemic.
We are faced with inexcusable shortages of basic medical equipment such as face masks, personal protective equipment, continuous positive airway pressure devices (CPAP machines) and life-saving ventilators, along with deficits in needed intensive care units. These material shortages are endangering the survival of those stricken with the disease and exposing the EMTs, doctors, nurses and all the support people engaged in this herculean task of healing the sick and minimizing the number of deaths.
Although the exact figures are classified, it is estimated that our government spends between $100 to $200 billion dollars per year on intelligence, security (exclusive of our public military budget) and strategic planning for emergencies such as natural disasters and health emergencies.
Supplies and equipment are supposed to be in federal government storage facilities strategically situated around the country for immediate access and distribution. It is unfathomable with the expenditure of such enormous funds that we should want for anything in the current pandemic crisis.
These failures must be attributed to the incompetency of the two branches of government who are responsible for the general welfare of the American people: the executive and legislative branches, the federal bureaucracy and the United States Congress.
While the current president and the current members of Congress are the target of justified criticism for the shortcomings we are currently experiencing, these are institutional failures that have existed for many years and under both Republican and Democrat administrations and a Congress and Senate controlled intermittently by one or the other of our two political parties.
These failures are partly brought about, but should not be excused, because our focus has been on dealing with natural disasters that occur locally and compounded with partisan politics.
Despite all the experts employed and the warnings given about a possible pandemic, our political leadership has been more concerned for many years with political partisanship and about poking the opposition’s eyes out, instead of opening their own eyes to the needs and general welfare of the American people.
A pox on both our political parties! Historically, political parties are born when fresh ideas are needed to meet the challenges of the that-current era. Historically, we have seen that ultimately they all morph into power clinging cliques whose only goal is to get re-elected. This pandemic has revealed that we are in such a time.
As we are seeing, the American people are taking back their destiny into their own hands. As tragic as this time is, we will get through this pandemic; and the American people will recognize that it is time to change the paradigm of our divisive parties; and to reorganize our politics, not our constitutional government structure, to achieve a better American future.
If you wish to comment or respond you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do so in a rational, thoughtful, respectful and civil manner.
Mel Pearlman holds B.S. & M.S. degrees in physics as well as a J.D. degree and initially came to Florida in 1966 to work on the Gemini and Apollo space programs. He has practiced law in Central Florida since 1972. He has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando; was a charter board member, first vice president and pro-bono legal counsel of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida, as well as holding many other community leadership positions.