It seems we need another economic indicator to gauge successful governing.
Here we obsessively focus on the CPI, the GNP, the GDP, when we should be tracking LE – life expectancy.
Unbelievably – or too believably – Americans’ life expectancy declined by a full year in the first half of 2020.
More stunning, black Americans lost three years LE, Latinos almost two.
It’s called Making America Grim Again.
Put a cork in all that blather about stock market gains. If U.S. life expectancy has suffered its biggest drop since World War II, that’s bad governing.
As we slide past a horrific marker -- 500,000 Americans dead from COVID-19 -- we hear in the course of defending the last regime, “There’s nothing we coulda done about it.”
Medical journal Lancet begs to differ. Its analysis finds that the last regime “caused tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths” with its antipathy toward science and an attitude toward the pandemic which ranged from half-hearted to flat-out mocking.
That hands-thrown-in-the-air response to all the suffering should feel familiar to Texas residents who spent a week literally trying to stay alive.
In response to their cries: a symphony of deflection from Republican office-holders. Who knew Alexandria Ocasio Cortez controlled the Texas grid?
After a week of no water, who’s with Rick Perry on his sword-in-the-sand call against a federal role in making sure things like this never happen again?
The term is “public servant.” Who meets the criteria these days? Well, Beto O’Rourke and Kacey Musgraves are civilians, but they have done more to ease the suffering than many Texas elected leaders. Et tu, Ted?
By the way, AOC just raised $5 million for Texans, and she doesn’t even represent them.
The clear difference is that she acts on her concern about her fellow human beings when too many Republican leaders care mainly about their brand, the Trump brand.
What did Ted Cruz come to Washington to do, anyway? To make public schools, highways, water systems, parks systems and international relations better? No, he came to blast away at and disable government.
He came mainly to offer himself as the face and voice of a culture war.
Little did he expect that someone – Donald Trump -- would employ destructive language even better and ace him out in his quest to reach Republican Valhalla.
But of course, little of what Trump said or did could be translated to governing, not to managing a pandemic or addressing just about any other challenge of governing.
Posturing is not governing. Governing is doing. Governing is leading.
Has anybody seen what Joe Biden has been doing? Just about everything imaginable to get this nation out of its hole, in addition to helping victims of the great freeze-out.
The administration’s daily White House briefings have been the best thing since FDR beamed his voice into America’s living rooms. The message: We are not just talking. We are acting.
What was Trump doing in the last month of his presidency? Oh, yes: He was promoting the Big Lie about an election he lost bigly, and cradling his nine-iron.
As he lied, people died, observed the Lancet authors in their denunciation of him, Trump “exploited low- and middle-income white people’s anger over their deteriorating life prospects to mobilize racial animus and xenophobia and enlist their support for policies that benefit high-income people ad corporations and threaten health.”
Those people never imagined that “deteriorating life prospects” would mean some would die from a virus once derided as a hoax, or thousands would beg for drinking water in a state where a go-it-alone gospel left them dangling like icicles on a ceiling fan.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.