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Charles Meredith: Anticipating an aftermath

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Dear Friends,

Good morning. Former Congressman Jim Greenwood recently opined that after the coronavirus epidemic ends, Congress will hold many hearings on what went wrong with the United States pandemic response. The six-term Bucks County Republican said that a national blueprint for preparing for what has become the largest public health crisis in recent memory already exists.

“It was released in 2015,” Greenwood said, adding that he helped write the plan as a member of the privately sponsored Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense. “We kept saying up on Capitol Hill, it’s not a question of, if we’re going to have a global pandemic, it’s when.”

Greenwood is not shy to lay much of the blame for this failure on President Trump.

As I reviewed Greenwood’s comments, I though about the leader of my book club who offered this tidbit… “If Trump were Captain of the Titanic:

“There isn’t any iceberg ...

“There as an iceberg but it’s in a totally different ocean ...

“The iceberg is in this ocean but it will melt very soon ...

“There is an Iceberg but we didn’t hit the iceberg ...

“We hit the iceberg, but the damage will be repaired very shortly ...

“The iceberg is a Chinese iceberg ...

“We are taking on water but every passenger who wants a lifeboat can get a lifeboat and they are beautiful lifeboats ...

“Look, passengers need to ask nicely for the lifeboats if they want them ...

“We don’t have any lifeboats; we’re not lifeboat distributors ...

“Passengers should have planned for icebergs and brought their own Lifeboats.

“I really don’t think we need that many lifeboats ...

“We have lifeboats and they’re supposed to be our lifeboats, not the passengers’ lifeboats ...

“The lifeboats were left on shore by the last captain of this ship ...

“Nobody could have foreseen the Iceberg.”

As I look at the state of our national leadership, I think about people who’d perform much better than President Trump … Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, for example … or Cyrus Habib, the lieutanant governor of Washington State. Who’s Cyrus Habib, you ask? I had no idea either until I read Frank Bruni’s column in the Sunday New York Times (April 12).

“In the market for Easter Sunday inspiration?” Bruni began. “Try the parable of the blind man who gave up political glory for Jesus Christ. He quickly climbed the rungs of power, became the lieutenant governor of the state of Washington at 35 and had reason to believe that he’d be governor someday …maybe even before he turned 40.

“His ascent impressed people all the more because of his disability. At the age of 8, he lost sight because a rare cancer forced the removal of both of his retinas. He spent the next decades proving that he could nonetheless accomplish just about anything that he set his mind to.

“He attended Columbia University. Won a Rhodes scholarship. Graduated from Yale Law, ‘From Braille to Yale’ was how he often dictated his journey. It made for a great political speech.

“Then the man, Cyrus Habib had an awakening. He could feel himself being sucked into a ‘celebrity culture’ in American politics that had nothing to do with public service. He could feel himself being swallowed by pride. How many ways,” he said, “can you be called a rising star”

“He decided not to find out. Last month Habib, now 38, announced that instead of being on the ballot in November for a second term as lieutenant governor, he would soon leave office to become a Roman Catholic priest.

“Sometime this fall, he’ll report to a novitiate in Los Angeles, where he’ll live among other Jesuits. He’ll have a dramatic change of life, from being lieutenant governor of Washington to being told he’s cleaning he bathroom the wrong way!”

You can really cheer for a man like that. Thought you’d want to know.

Sincerely, Charles Meredith


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