“Corruption has put our planet at risk, corruption has broken our economy, and corruption is breaking our democracy!”
I know most people are focused on staying healthy and helping others survive the coronavirus pandemic (Shoutout to Worcester Mutual Aid on the latter).
But we should also pay attention to the corruption the virus might be exposing within our government because it is deadlier than the virus, deadlier because it can exponentially increase the adverse impact of most other threats to the country and our democracy.
And it was perhaps corruption at the highest level of our government that made the coronavirus more ominous than it should have been.
Reportedly the president and selected members of congress were briefed by our intelligence services as early as January about the pandemic potential of the virus.
It is hard to imagine that these government officials, individuals sworn to defend the country and protect its people, would use the information they were given about the virus to line their pockets rather than to strengthen the nation against its contagion.
But that appeared to be the case.
The Washington Post and several other media outlets reported that even as the president played down the threat of the coronavirus, he was busy trying to corner the market on a potential vaccine being developed by a German company.
The Trump’s administration attempt “to buy exclusive rights” to the vaccine, according to the Post, prompting a rebuke from German officials.
“The American regime has committed an extremely unfriendly act,” the Post quoted Social Democrat MP Karl Lauterbach of Germany saying.
The MP added that “German health workers on the front lines — as well as people around the world — needed to have access to something developed in Germany, and that no country should be able to purchase exclusive access to the vaccine.”
“Capitalism has limits,” the MP said.
But this view of capitalism checked by decency is apparently not one that is shared by the Trump administration.
Noticed too the MP’s use of the word “regime,” – a term generally associated with authoritarian governments–to described our democracy.
How far the moral character of the country has fallen in four years.
Meanwhile some lawmakers privy to “virtually all of the highly classified reporting on the coronavirus” appeared to have traded off the intelligence information they were being given.
“The surge in warnings coincided with a move by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) to sell dozens of stocks worth between $628,033 and $1.72 million,” according to the Post.
“As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Burr was privy to virtually all of the highly classified reporting on the coronavirus.”
Burr wasn’t the only lawmakers who appeared to have traded off the intelligent briefings they were getting.
Sen, Kelly Loeffler of Georgia is also being scrutinized for suspicious trading activities that coincided with the timing of her intelligence briefings.
Presidential Candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren tried but failed to convince us that rooting out corruption in our government was the most urgent and effective remedy for the ills of our democracy.
The coronavirus is proving them correct.
We didn’t listen to Sanders and Warren when it mattered in this election cycle, but it’s not too late to listen to them now.