Letter to the Editor: When there are no magic answers

Bob Older gave his “apology to all small-business owners” in his Delaware State News Commentary (5-14-20). The short version of his piece is that (1) small-business owners deserve better, (2) he doesn’t like what our governor has done, (3) it’s not fair that big business gets the booty and small business gets trickle-down, and (4) Mr. Older is anxious about everything, too.

However, one sentence in his piece starts with a good but incomplete idea: “Shouldn’t we be trying to help both sides (big business and small business)?” To me, “both” means two. Sorry, I think there are a lot more than two “sides” here, and it would take a whole commentary space just to make a list of names. It’s not just “small business” that is hurting.

Yes, credit should be given to those well-meaning people who gave various kinds of personal advice. And Delaware State News should get credit for publishing them. I thought our federal and local governments should get quite a bit of credit, respectively, for organizing stimulus packages meant to salvage our economy and temporary restrictions meant to save lives. A great amount of credit should be given, too, for the efforts to fight disinformation on the internet’s social and other media channels. One of the worst pieces of recent bad propaganda was the “Plandemic” video, which was debunked by many respectable efforts from groups with established credibility and high-quality knowledge.

Recently, I have been reading books about the history of past pandemics and plagues going back for more than 2,000 years. There were many, and their impacts were always devastating – death rates up to 50-90%, and not counting the suffering! And they did not have the faintest idea what they were dealing with.

Social effects included a lot of mental illness and increased crime. Starting only about 100 years ago, science has successfully helped us learn what pathogens really are and that often – but not always – a treatment or cure can be found. Science is really hard work (I have my own experience with that) but the average person doesn’t give much credit there either. Against science, now, are flows of organized and unorganized disinformation, “infodemics,” ideological dogmas and extremist fanaticisms. The private social media corporations (e.g., Twitter and Facebook) are just beginning to try to control this.

We won’t know about good COVID-19 treatments or vaccine progress for maybe at least a year. The tragedy of Dr. Anthony Fauci as he tries to get the realistic truth out about the medical possibilities without being negative, all the while dealing with President Trump and his hucksterism, divisiveness and defective knowledge, is just another example of the inhumanity throughout history imposed on us by quacks that get into positions of power or influence.

 In the meantime, I would recommend more charity from the better-off to the less better-off.

Arthur E. Sowers