by Dr. David Moskowitz
President Trump claims that he had to choose between saving the economy and implementing a program that would reduce the risk of COVID-19. The problem with his fabricated dilemma is that the economy cannot be saved if people do not feel safe. If people do not feel safe in restaurants, you have to reduce the risk so that people will dine in them. This was not a situation in which one alternative had to be selected among two possible courses of action. This was not a Hobson’s Choice.
Let me explain. Thomas Hobson was a stable owner who rented horses in Cambridge, England. He did not allow his customers to choose any horse in the stable. He gave them the choice of the horse in the paddock closest to the door or they could not lease at all. This is what President Trump is claiming that he had to decide–either save the economy and accept the deaths that would follow or implement a program to save lives. This supposed choice that he had to make mischaracterizes the situation confronting our nation. The wise course of action would have been to save the economy by controlling the pandemic.
But I am even more concerned with the immorality of his decision to avoid controlling the pandemic. I am not prepared to sacrifice the health and the lives of my fellow citizens in order to improve the economy. I think it is immoral to sacrifice these folks for the good of the economy. Who among us is willing to sacrifice their grandmother in order to improve the economy? Let’s improve the economy by eradicating the COVID menace.
We have a president who has sacrificed thousands of lives for his own political goals. Those who have died are not like kamikaze pilots who elected to commit suicide in order to save their country. Our fellow citizens–our neighbors, family members, first responders, essential care workers–did not have to die to save our country. We now have to save our country by removing Trump from the White House and restoring our common values with a new president.
[Photo: Thomas Hobson (ca. 1544 to 1631) on an illustration from 1713, from Wikimedia Commons]