The tortoise and the hare

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to news medMarch 9, 2020, in Flint, Michigan. JOHN J. KIM/CHICAGO TRIBUNE/TNS

Published: 3/25/2020 3:38:25 PM

A fable written by Aesop, several hundred years B.C., may well define the root of the deadly problem now strangling the country The ancient story of the tortoise and the hare provides an accurate description of how Trump runs his administration — and perhaps explains the recent meteoric rise in popularity of Joe Biden.

Being president resembles running a race — and running a race requires familiarity with the course and one’s own strengths and weaknesses. For example, in the Boston Marathon, in order for runners to preserve energy and stamina for Heartbreak Hill, they need to pace themselves. The presidency also requires anticipation of the scope and potential difficulty of a problem before it occurs as opposed to minimization which can result in catastrophic results when it occurs. A systematic and measured approach is more effective than denying the problem, then precipitously attacking it once the difficulty has become acute.

In light of the carnage in Italy due to the effects of COVID-19, we can only hope that Trump’s long-standing denial of the problem doesn’t cause similar horrific results in this country. The administration’s current daily catch-up game leaves us wary that the remedies are too little too late after the prolonged period of stubborn refusal for weeks to recognize the potential deadly consequences of the virus has put the country and the economy into a Cuban Missile Crisis mode. It is a mentality that could have been at least lessened by a more cautious approach. However, Trump, always the hare, scoffed at those who question the pace and scope of his success, promising that he would lead a tremendous effort with magnificent results at the finish.

Perhaps Joe Biden’s meteoric rise from obscurity in the Democratic primary to likely nominee is a reflection of the country’s realization that the hare approach to government and crises is not working well and a reasoned — and a seasoned political figure would be better for them after all. These days, it seems to be a more attractive alternative since — at this point — we are fearful if, and when, Trump will ever get us to the finish line of this deadly virus that for too long, he treated like it was only a common cold.

Steven E. Kramer, a former Franklin County resident, lives in Lexington.


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