Although I have never been a fan of Vice President Mike Pence and usually disagree with him on policy issues, I do want to commend him for his efforts in the federal response to the current public health emergency.
The vice president, unlike the president, has demonstrated that he understands what’s required of a leader during a crisis — a calm and calming demeanor, a steady hand, a reassuring voice. He doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, and is secure enough in his own skin to recognize that it’s not a sign of weakness, but of strength, to turn to others who do have answers.
My main criticism of the vice president is his constant fawning over the president. But even that fawning is part of Pence’s leadership set. He obviously recognizes that the president is so insecure with such a fragile ego that he must constantly be reassured and given credit for everything that goes right, but never accept blame for anything that goes wrong. The fawning is a strategy to help minimize the president’s harsh rhetoric and hopefully prevent disastrous actions. (Good luck with that!)
Bottom line: During the current crisis we probably would be better served if the roles of our top two elected officials were reversed. And a prediction: Before this crisis passes, Pence will fall from grace in the eyes of Trump. The president will eventually see and will come to resent that Pence is what Trump is not — a leader.
On Feb. 27, Sen. Richard Burr shared knowledge about the impact of the coronavirus with members of a private club, but couldn’t be bothered to tell the least of us. He warned Tar Heel Circle club members that the coronavirus “is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.” He told them not to travel to Europe, that the military would be opening hospitals, that schools would be closed.
That same day President Trump put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of our response to the coronavirus. Both said the risk to the American people remained very low. Had the senator spoken his words in the public domain vs. a private club, heads would’ve turned. We might have begun saying “shelter in place” much earlier. Imagine the impact.
Not a week later, on March 3, Burr announced on his Facebook page, “I will continue working with federal, state, and local officials to ensure they have the support they need to protect North Carolina families and communities.” Shame on Burr. He failed to serve us on Feb. 27 and he did not protect us on March 3.
Matthew 25:45 says: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Sen. Burr should step aside and let someone who actually cares for the good people of this state warm that chair in the Senate for the rest of his final term. Enjoy retirement, but avoid Europe.
Over the years while writing my concerns, I always addressed Sen. Richard Burr as “Honorable Sir.” After watching our life’s savings dwindle, it sickens me to find that he is not honorable. If he had any decency he would resign today.
It’s so sad to watch what is happening in Washington, D.C., and that greed has destroyed Burr.
In this together
The Journal’s March 22 front-page headline, “ ‘We’re all in this together,’” is a catchy phrase, yet true on many levels. Unfortunately, for a large group of our fellow community members, their truth is better stated as “we are in this ... some of us without medical care and unable to afford it.”
In a pandemic, the last thing we need is for people to not have primary care access. In other words, the first thing we need is for all people to have access to primary care.
Expanding Medicaid would have gone a long way to addressing the need in North Carolina. With hope, we can all vote in November for sweeping changes that promote us all truly being in this together.
With all the bad and scary news these days, Scott Hollifield’s column in the Journal is a delightful breath of fresh air. Keep him writing!
Jean McClure Greene
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