Readers Write: Descent into lunacy


One day, I was listening to  MSNBC, and Nicole Wallace  referred to the latest tweet of Donald Trump as a “descent into lunacy.” I thought that her phrase, in addition to being true, had a nice ring to it.

We live in the age of the coronavirus. And one of the most frequently heard complaints is that Trump did not act quickly enough which led to unnecessary deaths.

In fact, the entire month of February was wasted when the federal government could have taken action.   I began to think about who might provide better leadership.

The first name that came to mind was that of General Leslie Groves who headed the Manhattan Project during World War II. He was in command of a group of scientists and military personnel charged with building the first atomic bomb. With headquarters in Los Alamos, N.M., Groves presided over this odd assemblage.

He ruled with a forceful hand and in today’s parlance, he would be considered a “czar.” Another name that came to mind as someone who could demonstrate leadership was Robert Moses also known as the “master builder.”

Some of his methods were criticized, but he got the job done.  Both of these men acted in what we call a “presidential fashion” although neither held elective office.

A further reason for describing Trump’s failure to lead as a “descent into lunacy” is his propensity for avoiding the truth.

For the past three-plus years, we have had a president who, according to the Washington Post as of March 2020, has lied or made misleading statements over 16,000 times. This is in addition to his being a racist, a xenophobe, a misogynist, a narcissist, a bully and a name caller.

Add to this his penchant for self adulation. For example, he has called himself a “very stable genius” as well as firing those who cross him.

For all these reasons, I believe we have descended into lunacy. I could go on with these criticisms such as his lacking all intellectual curiosity and his criticism of the press which, as Jefferson pointed out, is essential to a democracy. There is only one person who has emerged in this crisis as the kind of leader who acts “presidential.”

His name if Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic governor of New York.

He has held daily news conferences every day and he consistently demonstrates wisdom, objectivity, a reliance upon science, and a grasp of the situation which is admirable. He does not sugar coat the facts nor does he give false hope.

At times, he may wax poetic and he would never state that the church pews should be filled on Easter Sunday since that contravenes the rule about “sheltering in place.”

On occasion, he may wax poetic as when he warns us that we are not running a sprint, but a marathon, but his best idea is that we must have “rolling” resources.

So if New York City needs ventilators, they should come from other states and counties. and when these entities have a greater need than N.Y.C. the caps, gowns and ventilators will go to them.

Cuomo has other great ideas such as establishing a nationwide buying consortium instead of the competitive bidding among the states and the federal government.

Cuomo represents rationality and Trump a “descent into lunacy.” To reiterate a point this is a matter of life and death. The orange Nero was fiddling while N.Y.C. burned.

Dr. Hal Sobel

Great Neck




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