Alyssa Ahlgren: Partisan Politics Stands Strong Amidst Pandemic

One thing is unequivocally true, the United States’ response to the disease has been the swiftest out of every country that’s been hit. But instead of rallying behind the administration to succeed, something that seems so obvious in a time of crisis, we see the partisan crevice widen.

Worry, hysteria, and panic-buying have ensued as the days of uncertainty during COVID-19 continue. The contagion rate, mortality rate, a potential vaccine, and other details of the virus may be in question, but one thing is for sure — partisan politics is alive and well. 

Gone are the days where a national emergency unified the country. Gone are the days where we are able to unite as Americans rather than along party lines in a time of despair. Present are the days where every action taken is twisted into a political punch towards the other side of the aisle. Present are the days where legislation to combat a threat is taken advantage of to sneak in ancillary policy agendas. Present are the days where tragic events are viewed as political opportunities rather than a team effort for the people. 

It’s true, we live in an exacerbated time of divisiveness. We’ve seen the divisiveness prevail through shootings, deaths, and national crises. It took a global viral infection to show us that this divide is rooted deeper than we might have anticipated; deep enough to stand strong as our countrymen and those around the world fall ill. 

In the early days of COVID-19 President Trump closed travel to and from China. The left adamantly berated him as racist. Now that the move has been praised by the Surgeon General – amongst other experts – to have saved countless lives, the left disparages the administration for not doing enough. During any type of catastrophic event it’s easy to be on the side of critiquing because there is no control group to prove a counter point. For instance, if the Trump administration shut down everything day one and nothing happens, you can argue the government unnecessarily shut down the economy at the expense of the American people rather than their interest. If the Trump administration shut everything down day one and we see the infection spread, you can argue the administration is lackluster in their response. 

The truth is, we have no idea what the results would be regardless of the action taken. We have no idea what a Democratic president would have done differently in the moment, regardless of what Democrats say retrospectively and outside of the position of making decisions on behalf of the free world. It’s easy to be on the side of disapproval; there’s nothing there to prove you wrong. Partisanship during a crisis exists not because it’s the just thing to do but because it’s the easiest thing to do. 

However, one thing is unequivocally true, the United States’ response to the disease has been the swiftest out of every country that’s been hit. But instead of rallying behind the administration to succeed, something that seems so obvious in a time of crisis, we see the partisan crevice widen. When you see Nancy Pelosi try to push through abortion legislation in the COVID-19 relief bill you know a piece of our nation’s soul is missing. When you have Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ripping apart VP Pence as a science denier unfit to lead the effort against the pandemic because he refused to have the government of Indiana hand out needles so people could have clean needles to shoot up heroine you know rational thinking has been replaced by partisan emotion. 

There will never be blanket agreement as to what steps to take and the solution to combating a national emergency. But let me tell you a secret. It’s something you might believe is a myth or only exists in bedtime stories. However, it’s not only real, it’s something we are all capable of. The secret is, agreement and disagreement doesn’t require a political party. In fact, it absolutely shouldn’t in a time where we need the government to function efficiently for once in its life. An ‘R’ and a ‘D’ are just useless letters outside of politics. Do you know what a viral disease is? Outside of politics.

Party affiliation has absolutely nothing to do with debating solutions, going over possible plans of action, and deliberating next steps. It was a long time coming, especially after Obama’s tenure, but it was that fateful day President Trump got inaugurated when we could officially say that nothing is outside the realm of politics. Pop culture, mainstream culture, sports, and social acceptance have been engulfed by the partisan monster. We can now add viral illness to that list. 

The left blames the right for making this issue political and the right blames the left. It’s a story as old as time. Only now the story has turned into a never-ending nightmare that only continues to harden the heart and blacken the soul of the American spirit. The only cure for a national emergency that we can all play a part in is unity. We are a nation of red, white, and blue. Not red or blue. There are no sides when facing a viral external threat. So why do we feel like we must pick one?