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Sheldon: It starts at the top, and we can do better

Steve Sheldon
Valley Voices

I have always been proud to be an American. I’m not a flag-waving zealot by any means, and I think a lot of the world does things better (and worse) than us, but I have always been proud of what the United States of America stands for: decency, fairness, tolerance, opportunity, ingenuity, technology, innovation, arts, science and strength in the face of adversity.

Sure, we have had dark days and dark times, and we certainly have a huge environmental impact on the world, but overall, we are good eggs.

Nonetheless, despite my general positivity and general good feelings for our fellow countrymen and women, lately, I am embarrassed for our country. I am disappointed that we have devolved into a society where intelligent, rational thinking has been displaced with gaslighting and scapegoating.

I don’t mind if your first instinct is reactionary — mine sure as hell is. But we also must be capable of self-reflection and objectivity. I’ve never considered myself an intellectual, and my own mother humorously quips that I am much smarter than I look. No, I drive a pickup truck, prefer Budweiser, wine to me is either red or white, and while well-read, I’ve never picked up anything like “The Iliad.”

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I am upset that our country tolerates and does not vehemently and forcefully denounce calling nurses and health care workers “fake” and “enemies.” Protest if you must, but at your own risk and not the rest of ours. And protest without hate and without politicizing and such obvious pandering to the president.

What does wanting to get back to work have to do with Trump 2020? And why do you need an AK-47 to spout your conspiracy theories? We are trying to fight a virus, not one political party or the other. Chanting “Lock Hillary up” was maybe fun, but chanting “Lock Fauci up” brings up scenes of “The Walking Dead” in my mind. Pogroms and violence come to mind next. 

Having to fight a pandemic in America in 2020 but not giving our health care workers proper personal protective equipment is mind-boggling. Having great first responders who are being subjected to a deadly virus and having people protest about not being able to go bowling is preposterous. Our government having ample warning about COVID-19 and being behind the eight ball is unforgivable. Having a president show partisanship and favoritism while fighting a pandemic is felonious in my mind.

Weren’t we all taught our entire lives that “it all starts at the top?” Why then do we permit a president to deny responsibility and publicly claim, in regard to the lagging testing, “I don’t take responsibility at all.” How much can one person cry wolf before the Kool-Aid drinkers among us wake up and realize it ain’t the wolf?

This November we have a chance to change things. I honestly don’t think our country can handle another four years of this. Voting for someone as obviously inept as Trump because you don’t like option B is cutting off your nose to spite your face. And make no mistake, Trump is inept at being president and leading our country. This pandemic has at least finally verified that. I wish that I could say this was all my hyperbole and personal opinion, but it is not. Trump is a terrible leader.

So yes, it does indeed all start at the top. And below that, we need politicians who care more about the country than themselves or their party. Find them. Vote them in. Hold them accountable. And pray for America, she needs all of the above. Above all, be safe and cautious. Thanks for reading and engaging.

Steve Sheldon is an Eagle resident.


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