While I am not a supporter of his flawed policies, actions and character, I was nevertheless deeply disturbed to learn that President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested COVID-positive. Trump's frequent, large-capacity rallies and reluctance to wear a mask and keep socially distant leaves him and many others vulnerable. Trump's advanced age and obesity are factors that should make him more receptive to globally accepted scientific safety practices for COVID-19.
I feel certain that Trump will now heed the scientific recommendations, and discard his COVID "hoax" theory, and realize that COVID will not magically go away just because we all wish it to.
I am also confident that all individuals in contact with President Trump will be thoroughly contact-traced to mitigate the effect of his actions. Perhaps this unfortunate event will hasten the necessary legislative funding for what is undeniably this century's worst health crisis, and we can resurrect Bush and Obama's "pandemic playbook" that was unfortunately discarded by this administration.
Trump, his family and his associates are in my thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery, and I continue to pray daily for the health and safety of our country and the entire world.
Not so nice
Among mud-slinging politicians, Rep. Jon Hardister stands out for his multi-media campaign of misinformation about Nicole Quick, his challenger in the race for the N.C. House.
Hardister is known for stating positions to his constituents and doing the opposite in the legislature. He favors modified Medicaid expansion, then withdraws his commitment and wins support from the "Americans for Prosperity" PAC. He proposes a nonpartisan districting commission but cooperates with a GOP-controlled process. He believes in LGBTQ+ rights but votes for the HB 2 "bathroom bill." He supports teachers but advocates token salary increases rather than the raises in Gov. Cooper's proposed budget.
Despite this party-line voting record, Hardister has maintained a public image as a moderate "nice guy." That's over.
In mailings and television spots, some produced by his campaign and others, which he has not disavowed, funded by out-of-state "dark money," Hardister ads warn that Quick's "$100 million dollar tax hike" will destroy small businesses in North Carolina.
Quick has proposed no such plan. She supports small businesses. And Quick, whom the ads accuse of not understanding economics, has a master's degree in the field.
The man spreading these lies is not a "nice guy." He's a ruthless career politician.
Crisis of spirit
Our nation is in a place that runs counter to the values most of us learned as kids.
We’ve lost American lives as the president denies and lies about the science behind COVID-19 and West Coast fires. But it isn’t just a crisis of health and safety. It’s a crisis of spirit.
As a child, I learned biblical values from my church and parents. Love of neighbor. The Golden Rule. Inclusive community. Because of our income, my Toughskin jeans may have had patches, but when people were in need, my parents lent a hand.
That's the opposite of what we see from President Trump. When his supporters commit violence, he encourages them. When immigrants bring their children into our country, he separates them. When he sees a crisis, he ignores it — unless he thinks it will help him win an election; then he exaggerates it.
Luckily, we have a strong alternative. Joe Biden is a lifelong person of faith whose policies honor the dignity of all people, especially those in need. He works with folks across the aisle. He treats people with respect. And he believes in something bigger than himself.
Joe Biden will help America heal from its spiritual wounds.
We're all losing
The American people have been losing for a long time.
Washington has failed them in every way: health care, the border, infrastructure, the economy, jobs.
The stupidest thing about it is that we keep voting the same ones back into office for years on end.
And they do nothing for us. Republicans and Democrats just draw pay and talk about what they are going to do and then do nothing.
When they vote for legislation, Republicans vote with Republicans and Democrats vote with Democrats, no matter what.
They do not have the ability to govern; they just want power for their parties, Republicans and Democrats.
The sad part is that we the people suffer for their inability.
Shine a light
The American people have endured enough uncertainty in recent months and it’s time our representatives made transparency a priority.
Currently, information regarding how our tax dollars are being used in the research and development of COVID-19 drugs, and information regarding patents on such drugs, is very difficult to access. This absence of transparency not only allows the government a lack of accountability for its actions, but it also increases the likelihood that testing, resources and treatments will not be adequately or equally distributed to all Americans.
In order to combat the inevitable disparate access to the COVID-19 treatments that are being developed by researchers across the country, our government should work to ensure complete transparency with the American people as new developments arise. Most of the research currently being conducted is supported by public funding and therefore it should be made clear now, prior to the release of these potential treatments, that there will be equal access for all.
The members of Duke University’s Partners in Health Engage implore Sens. Tillis and Burr to co-sponsor the TRACK Act to prioritize a centralized COVID-19 database with clear, easy-to-access and up-to-date information for the American people.