By SUSAN K. SMITH
Crazy Faith Ministries
In times of national emergency, the people of a country need assurance from their leader. That leader needs to be trusted and believed, giving the people the spiritual weapons they need to fight fear and panic, which are both crippling.
This country, however, has a leader who most do not trust, as noted by Newsweek. The president’s initial reaction, i.e., to call reports about the coronavirus a hoax, reflected his usual response to anything that he does not like or which he feels is not favorable to him, according to a NBC News report. He refused to listen to advice public health officials were giving and even continued to practice poor public health habits, including shaking hands with people, in spite of dire warnings against doing it, USA Today reported.
He showed little to no concern for people trapped on cruise ships due to the virus’ outbreak. Ever concerned with himself, he said he preferred the people to stay on the ships so the numbers in the United States would not indicate how widespread the illness was in this country, according to Newsweek.
The only thing, or the primary thing, he was concerned about, and continues to be concerned about, is the stock market. As the stock market has plummeted, especially as the world has listened to his remarks about the virus, he has refused to take responsibility – though he has always been quick to take credit for its rise, Business Insider reported.
He has continually said that the virus would “disappear,” continually said there were tests available when that has not been true, according to the New York Times. To his rank and file followers, his words have been gospel, with some of them encouraging people to go to crowded restaurants and to feel free shaking hands with whomever they want, CBS12.com reported.
Day after day, the lack of leadership of this president has been abysmal. Today, his tone changed. Today he said during a press conference that there was and is a real danger, that the virus is extremely contagious, and that people should practice social distancing.
And the bad thing is that even though his message today was more in line with all of the scientific and public health reports we have all been listening to for weeks, his sudden change of heart inspires not hope or comfort, but suspicion.
His concern has not been about us, the American people, but about the stock market. Those close to him say he has nervously watched the stock market plummet, because the economy has been what he has planned to use to get him back into office.
If the economy fails – if this country lapses into a recession, which economists say it is probably going to do – then the president loses his trump card (no pun intended).
His change of tone sounds hollow and false, inspiring more questions about “why now?” than a moment of revelation. NPR noted that he has known about this virus, according to reports, for a couple of months. What has changed and affected him so profoundly that he has found it necessary to blow a different horn?
Few believe that he has been tested for the virus, despite his claim to have done so, and fewer still believe that if he did have the test, that he tested negative. In fact, we can’t believe anything he says.
That is a problem, because this is a time when we need to believe our president. We need to be able to trust that he has the state of the lives of Americans in the forefront of his mind. It will be the poorest people, the women, the most sick, the elderly, the most marginalized people who will be hit the worst by this virus – physically and economically – and we have no reassurance whatever that the president will encourage the lawmakers to take care of them. He might say he’s going to do that, but nobody, or few people at best, believe him.
And that is a tragedy, unfolding right before our eyes.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. Her latest book, Rest for the Justice-Seeking Soul, is now available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon. She is available for speaking. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.