Let’s imagine what truly good leadership would look like under the extraordinary crisis now facing us.
So imagine a leader with a genuine capacity for empathy, compassion, and selflessness who puts his own ego aside and focuses fully on doing everything possible to help our nation and all of its people get through and best deal with this pandemic and all of its ripple effects through all levels of our nation. One who with humility and unwavering determination embraces the great responsibility now thrust upon him (“the buck stops here”) rather than attacking and blaming others for problems which arise. One who does not minimize the realities of such a pandemic by initially calling it a “hoax” and then offers false reassurances intertwined with medical misinformation which his medical advisors must subsequently correct. One who believes that the American people can actually handle the truth, and would indeed be best served by being presented with the facts so that they can clearly understand what is facing us, what is being done and why, what they can do to help – and that we’re all in this together, and must do what is needed to help each other get through this.
One who listens to epidemiologists and medical experts advising him of the realistic risks posed by the COVID-19 virus and the best ways of addressing it, mobilizes all available resources to deal with it as soon as the possibility of its reaching pandemic proportions is raised, and does not disband and hollow out those government agencies once in place that were specifically designed to deal with such events.
One who prioritizes supporting our nation’s frontline medical staff by fully utilizing all of the powers available to him to support their heroic efforts – e.g., using the Defense Production Act to mobilize our nation’s manufacturing resources to ramp up the production of critical medical supplies such as respirators, ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPEs) – such as surgical masks, which are now being sewn together by everyday citizens to help out as supplies run out. This is beyond pathetic and disgraceful for what is supposedly the richest and “best prepared” nation in the world- it is downright dangerous and criminally negligent.
One who does not hesitate to mobilize the vast resources and logistical capabilities of our military services in this “wartime” level effort.
One who works in constructive collaboration with governors, mayors, and and other leaders at state and local levels who are now stepping up to provide much needed leadership, helping to bring about a more unified and coordinated nationwide effort rather than the currently haphazard and disorganized pattern which has been evident so far.
And one who genuinely offers his heartfelt recognition and gratitude to all those workers heroically and quietly serving to keep our nation running and to meet the basic needs of its citizens as much as possible during these most stressful and difficult times, and pushes policies aimed at helping our nation’s most vulnerable and working class citizens – who face the most severe economic impact – rather than its wealthiest individuals and corporations who are better positioned to weather this storm.
National leadership is now critical in order to save the lives of American citizens and limit the related social and economic damage entailed by this pandemic. Hopefully by the time you are reading this letter at least some small steps in the right directions will be evident. May we all do our parts. And may we all stay safe and healthy.
Dale E. Buonocore,