Lessons learned from the pandemic.

AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar

It’s commencement time on college campuses. Part and parcel of graduation are the platitude-laden and largely forgettable commencement addresses through which graduates and their families are made to suffer. (Quick. Who spoke at your graduation and what did he or she say?)

But there are exceptions that prove rules and one commencement address this year stands out. It was given by Mitch Daniels, former governor of Indiana and now president of Purdue University.

Gov. Daniels was speaking on the need for his COVID-era graduates to put the pandemic experience behind them and re-adopt an All-American willingness to embrace risk as the price of gain. To make his point he called attention to the government’s response to the COVID pandemic and he said this:

Sometimes they [government leaders] let what might be termed the mad pursuit of zero, in this case zero risk of anyone contracting the virus, block out other competing concerns, like the protection of mental health, the educational needs of small children, or the survival of small businesses. Pursuing one goal to the utter exclusion of all others is not to make a choice but to run from it. It’s not leadership; it’s abdication.”

Governor Daniels is right and when the books are written on the COVID pandemic, I predict that many in government and industry – and ultimately, all of us  – will be in for some harsh criticism.

We as a nation did, in fact, engage in the “mad pursuit of zero” and we did, in fact, largely pursue that goal to the “utter exclusion of all others.” By pursuing a zero risk of COVID objective, and by effectively engaging the help of the media in that pursuit, mayors and county judges and governors were able to avoid making the really hard choices. They were able to avoid accountability for the enormous damage done to families, school-aged children, small business owners and many others who lost their mental health and their livelihoods.

What we have learned – or at least what we should learn – from the pandemic is that people in high positions in government are quick to assume power and slow to relinquish it. Our own state notwithstanding, the reluctance on the parts of mayors and governors across the country to relax COVID-related mandates is instructive. So, too, is the media outcry when a governor like Ron DeSantis in Florida or Greg Abbott in Texas goes against the tide and does.

Just this week voters in Pennsylvania, as a direct result of their experience with the pandemic, passed an amendment to their state constitution that limits the emergency authority of the governor to 21 days unless extended by express consent of the state legislature.

That is an encouraging sign of civic health.

With respect to COVID, no one in government at any level from city to county to state to federal is likely to ring a bell anytime soon and shout, “All Clear!”

Life will get back to normal only when We the People say it’s time.

And that is how it should be.

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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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23 Responses

  1. Jean Bammel says:

    I am surely not one of the world’s great communicators, but I think that something needs to be said about the decisions our government made during the Covid-19 Pandemic. I feel that Mr. Trump and most state and federal agencies were doing there best to follow the suggestions made by the medical scholars. There were things that Mr. Trump and the state and federal agencies did that were just plain wrong, but the decisions made in the last 8 months were confusing and didn’t seem to be supported by anything but control of the public. Dr. Fauci and the other medical professionals we saw everyday seemed to feel that making a statement or commit was more important following sound medical advice.

  2. Jim Lee says:

    Excellent Paul That’s exactly how I think. We were way too quick to accept the strict new rules. My father was a great doctor, and had he been alive today, he would say “Not so fast”. Hopefully the masses will come to realize this. Keep up the good work my friend.

  3. G. A. Walters says:

    Could not agree more. My opinion of the Covid mess was that it was an exercise by the Ruling Elite to see how quickly they could turn the population into sheeple.

    • Michael Reagan says:

      AMEN! Look how many, across this land, continue to wear those white wool costumes! Think they would have had enough by now.

  4. Ron Eagleman says:

    Great essay Paul, and the “sheeple” comment by G.A. is very instructive! This whole exercise was a dress rehearsal to see if Americans are still “independent people”, or “dependent sheeple” who are comfortable being shepherded by bureaucrats. Sadly, except for a few states, including ours, it appears to be the latter.

  5. Matthew E says:

    I personally don’t recall anyone except a few folks maybe at the very beginning which was short lived,when China and reports coming in what they had going on were coming in expecting “zero” but in my defense it’s been a while. I do know this for sure,many people say a lot of things because it sounds good they think,on what they believe in,values,morals,but when they may have to sacrifice something even just temporarily, or be inconvenienced in any way it quickly seems it’s more or less every man for himself. So much for love thy neighbor, coming together as a nation as folks tried to sort the situation out best they could presumably. It all soon became some twisted version once again of a Freedom and Liberty issue which then turns political of course. Unfortunately it’s never getting better,it’s seems to be part of America now how we react and handle things.

  6. Richard Anderson says:

    First-rate column sir!

    The dishonest messaging of Dr. Fauci, a lifetime big government bureaucrat, could not have FAILED more miserably. At first, he says, masks are NOT necessary, then he “spins” and makes pronouncements in the opposite direction! I, like, many millions of Americans, have gotten rid of the mask, and We The People –a FREEDOM loving people– aren’t ever going back to wearing them again.

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott is correct. The most direct way to return to normal before the corona virus is to leave the mask in the dustbin of history, NOW, and get back to the business of living our lives as Americans in the greatest country in the world. The United States of America, a Constitutional Republic founded in 1776, one nation under God, in FREEDOM, forever more.

    • Matthew E says:

      Well I can’t imagine the benefit and for whom being dishonest about mask wearing would benefit, things have to be observed ( studied ) to better understand how to combat something such as a virus,one thing for sure, injecting bleach wasn’t going to help.

      • Richard Anderson says:

        As to far as to who benefits by requiring the wearing of a mask — it couldn’t be more clear. Examples.. Governor Whitmer of Michigan, Governor Wolf of Pennsylvania, and Governor Cuomo of NY. All Democrats and all 3 absorbed in exerting their “self believed imperious power” over millions of Americans UNNECESSARILY and UNCONSTITUTIONALLY. Again, The United States of America is a Constitutional Republic of states, NOT a dictatorial military junta of fifty fiefdoms.

        In regards to the alleged bleach accusation, such is not really worthy of a gentlemanly reply. However, for the sake of the irrevocable record of history, it is total balderdash and a blatant LIE.

        • Matthew E says:

          So these governers or whomever just simply get a kick ( enjoy) making these orders, or something along those lines then? Well nothing is impossible they say. And I’m guessing you’re one of the few Americans that didn’t see the ” Press conference ” with then President and other members of his cabinet, with him ( President) making that as possible suggestion as to numerous things they were looking into to combat the virus? Well again anything is possible.

      • Ron Eagleman says:

        “One thing for sure”, you need to broaden your information sources! Watching CNN is about as factual about the context of the “injecting bleach” news flash, as this paragon of journalism reported ad nauseum about the Russia hoax. I guess you are still onboard with President Trump being a Russian operative, and part of this dastardly plot was to inject the population with a toxic substance? Makes perfect sense to me!

        • Matthew E says:

          Well it’s clear to me that they all do their fair share of what you suggest CNN does . No I’m betting that he was definitely tempted to get involved with Russia, who knows the reality of it all. As far as some plot to get people to inject a toxic substance, man that’s a hell of a plot I never heard about that one. Although the behavior I’ve witnessed in recent years,if person you suggest did make that suggestion ( literally) as not a possibility but out right recommendation,I’d bet some would follow, just look back it’s certainly not far fetched ( at all ) unfortunately. Jim Jones , Jones Town , anythings possible. We’re in a strange time these days I do know that’s for sure.

      • C M Solomon says:

        The fence post stands its ground to hold up the barbed wire of lies that surround it. There is NO hearing, NO learning, NO seeing, NO thought, and NO discernment. It is just doing its job keeping the wire fence intact: hear no evil, see no evil because the barbed wire of lies from the wire factory can’t be wrong. Q.E.D.

        • C M Solomon says:

          Given the scientific facts about the microscopic size of the COVID-19 virus, the typical MASKS being touted as “effective” (and mandatory in some tyrannical Blue elite States and Cities that believe in the tooth fairy of Socialism that KNOWS EVERYTHING) are as useless as a chain-linked fence stopping mosquitoes!

          If you can smell fried chicken being cooked through your mask, your mask is a wonderful sign of obedience to your government masters but you have NOT stopped the virus but have stopped your exercise of common sense and self-education to learn the TRUTH and reject government and media sponsored fantasies! Go ahead and wear the mask if “required” but don’t fall for the LIES that encourage subservience based on a false, non-scientific claim. There is evidence that the mask is aggravating ANY respiratory issues due to lack of the free flow of you own breath. Again, common sense should tell you this!

          • Matthew E says:

            Yea it’s all somehow tied into the whole ” Socialism ” plan of course, I don’t recall anyone suggesting wearing a mask was a %100 guarantee that you would be protected, whether to infect or be infected . I’ll say this,out of all the issues and problems that face this country, that affects all or many negatively, wearing a mask is what so many people decided to become so outraged about and publicly express their disdain for being required to wear, wearing a damn mask, Wowww!!!! Absolutely unbelievable ! Of all things.

          • Michael Reagan says:

            C.M. where were the masks when “The Flu” was raging across this nation? All strains of “the flu”? CDC was not on anyone’s radar. Sorry for the repetition but go back and read the dang World Economic Forum’s agenda in the fall of 2019. War Gamed an out of control virus attack on the whole world and WALA it happened. Imagine that. CDC heads were part of this exercise, as was China. Even if one has had Covid, they can still smell the fish oil stink on that front. I find it very suspicious we over react to Covid and did zip when the other major diseases were assaulting our shores. We did not even get this wound up with AIDS.

          • C M Solomon says:

            Michael, you are so right! The tyrannical urges of Global BIG government can’t be restrained, anymore as the World Economic Forum’s agenda takes shape. Remember H. W. Bush and the “New World Order” he talked about that most of us didn’t want to believe was real? The Global Internationalists (corporations and governments) dream of World domination with erasure of national sovereignty and boundaries (open borders).

            They are planning on World Control of climate, health, energy, economy, laws, religion, politics, income, housing, food, diet, jobs, professions, education, manufacturing, media, water, fishing, hunting, transportation, inheritance, taxes, property, land, gender, child bearing, and anything else I forgot, in order to create the UTOPIA that these elitists want to rule with an iron fist, all in the NAME of SAVING MANKIND from itself, of course! Let the Constitution and our God given Rights as free thinking human beings, created in His likeness, be damned. This is pure Evil on steroids and will merge with ANY dictatorial system such as the CCP. Control, not Conscience is their Creed.

            There is a quote that illustrates their native incompetence and why we should not have trusted these megalomaniacs throughout the COVID “crisis”. This quote is authored by Ernest Benn: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” The acquiescence of our own people to political stupidity as in the “mask” situation is astounding. Remember the couple that was kicked off the airline because their two year old child would not wear the “mandated mask”. It is clear the “fence posts” in our society are willing and ready for World domination by the godless international globalist dictators that will “fix” humanity.

          • C M Solomon says:

            There is one more important thing that I forgot to mention. Some institutions, corporations, and governments in this country are starting to REQUIRE a “COVID Vaccine Passport” to enter their facility without a mask. Without the Passport or mask you are barred from entry. The “fence posts” would say that is OK in order to protect others from your germs even though you are not sick. What’s next? How about a certificate that you have graduated from the Critical Race Theory indoctrination course and that you have pledged allegiance to that agenda and disavow any allegiance to the subversive America First (MAGA) philosophy of White Systemic Racism sponsored by that well known terrorist, “Donald Trump”, in order to get an election ballot next time, or to buy a gun, or to apply for a bank loan for a house?

          • C M Solomon says:

            The Global International Corporations that are headquartered in the USA are not necessarily loyal American institutions with fidelity to the Constitutional principals that we enjoy and support. Their business model is global in nature and if you know Big business you know they like to deal with other Big businesses and governments because they share the same universal objectives of World influence and domination to be successful.

            The USA is only 4.23% of the World’s population. The rest of the World is typically ruled by autocrats that are corrupt and don’t like the competition of free markets and honesty in government. That being the case, Global International Corporations are by nature heavily influenced by this world-wide corruption where the autocrats make deals to benefit themselves at the expense of their own populations in order to stay in power and increase their own individual wealth. The same goes for the Global Corporations, themselves. So don’t look for the America First (MAGA) movement of free enterprise and honesty in government to be high on their agenda!

            Opposition to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tyranny over their native Chinese people (18% of the World’s population) and opposition to their Marxist global expansion world-wide are hardly the objectives that the Globalist Corporations would support regardless of their location in the USA. This explains why the American manufacturing industry has been bought up and moved to more “competitive” and lower cost countries where freedom of the population is less important and industrial and technology patents are not protected. The CCP is well known for their appropriation of technology as they partner with these Global Corporations willing to gain access to China’s market and manufacturing domain. It should come as no surprise that the American government (both Federal and State) have been willing partners with the Globalist Corporate agenda for decades and the Administrative State and the elite Socialists in both Political Parties have sold out their own constituents to benefit themselves at the expense of honesty in government and support for prosperity at home.

          • Ron Eagleman says:

            Hey Brother Solomon, don’t try to make common sense by stating logical scientific facts for the absolute absurdity of wearing face coverings with porosity larger than the virus. Even so, I think there is a huge benefit from wearing these face coverings, especially after being fully vaccinated….take a look at some of those faces that would be exposed! Keep ’em on! Please!

  7. Matthew E says:

    Well a number of years ago we had an exceptionally bad flue season according to reports, don’t recall the amount of deaths that year attributed to flue and how that compares to covid deaths,but that number would be very telling. Maybe there was not lot else to sensationaliz going on at that time,media is great at doing that,it’s all business ( entertainment),or very well was really bad. The aids epidemic for a long time was pushed as a gay thing predominantly, not a lot of sympathy for homosexual folks especially in ” Conservative ” circles, not sure if that has changed much . How the two viruses are transmitted very differently as well.

  8. Darrell Durham says:

    These comments are all examples of lessons learned. Masks were never about stopping covid-19. They were about submission, as we’re the lockdowns. The democrats have been plotting for years to take control of government. The public school system, healthcare, and many state governments have been taken over. We have seen (and been told by dem leadership!!) nothing is off the table in their pursuit. Many are blindly following, but many are not. This is still a democracy, and it is up to us to use our votes to decide if we want to lead or follow.

  9. L Miles says:

    This pandemic has illustrated the utter incompetence of government edicts by elected officials that are ABOVE ACCOUNTABILITY because of their HUBRIS. It is clear they seized upon this Chinese originated virus to exploit their insatiable thirst to enhance their power by using FEAR to subjugate the population. This has resulted in the replacement of the normal Doctor-Patient relationships where virology experts were capable of providing excellent medical care based on their experience handling CORONA virus infections through therapeutics that had been proven to be effective.

    BUT NO, the politicians, the media, and the ADMINISTRATIVE STATE SWAMP (ASS) (permanent fourth branch of government) would have none of it! Now we learn that a combination of fake media, incompetent politicians and their partners in the ASS have been covering up the early evidence that the COVID-19 virus was part of a bio-weapons project of the CCP! Chinese Party officials have actually published videos (now scrubbed) of their “fabulous scientific” accomplishments in the Chinese virology labs doing (weaponized) Gain of Function (GOF) research. This was previously banned (supposedly) in the US government labs many years ago. It has now been learned that US funding was secretly routed through third parties to the Wuhan Lab in China by Fauci’s bureaucracy.

    The ASS is made up of thousands of interlinked agencies that NO ONE can decipher which is staffed with hundreds of thousands of government bureaucrats, unaccountable to the American people through their government Representatives. Where do you think the thousand page bills come from that Congress passes that no one reads or understands that cost billions or trillions of dollars? The ASS is funding their own agenda with the cooperation of the elitist Democrats and Republicans that believe they hold all the cards for running the USA, not the “dirty” voters that don’t know any better what to do. This is WHY Trump was so DESPISED, because he saw through their unwillingness to be subservient to the American people as the Constitution requires while supporting America First sovereignty and prosperity as a independent Nation, free of the globalization agenda that permeates the Liberal dogma.

    Below are several links to articles and videos that exposes the CCP role in the origination and spread of the COVID-19 virus that has caused millions of deaths and devastated economies and families throughout the World. What is most astounding to me is the inadequate protection of our own government agencies by letting the virus cause so much damage to the Nation due to their lack of vigilance to expose the CCP agenda from the start. They were too busy “investigating” Trump! The moral of the story is NEVER trust a bunch of bureaucrats that clearly aren’t capable of accepting accountability in real time because of their habitual HUBRIS and isolation from the American people that they are meant to serve. Knowing how the virus was created by the CCP would have been important to finding the best treatment or possible cure at the outset of the pandemic.

    Published April 1, 2021

    Published May 18, 2021

    Published May 25, 2021

    Published May 25, 2021

    Video Published May 24, 2021

    Video Published May 25, 2021

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