I’ve put off writing this article because of its political nature but I can do so no more.
What is negligence? According to Webster’s it is “failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in life’s circumstances.”
When President Trump’s Chief if Staff Mark Meadows bluntly said “We’re not going to control the pandemic” it solidified the negligence of the Trump administration. Over 80,000 Americans and 1,000 deaths per day over the weekend from Covid and over 225,000 deaths since the pandemic began. We know Judaism’s primary value is pikuah nefesh, safeguarding life. To know measures which work to curb covid, such as masking and social distancing, and deliberately not advocate, worse make fun of, people who wear them is negligence of the first degree. We know there are measures that can slow the spread yet the presidents chief of staff wants no part in them.
Thank God I live in Miami where I can spend a sufficient amount of time outdoors in the winter. I feel for those in Denver where it’s currently 7 degrees or Missoula where it’s 1 degree. This cold winter is not going to stop people who need to from going to work in multi story buildings or from essential business travel. Having an administration who admits they will do nothing to combat Covid, essentially advocating for the herd mentality, and which advocates for “learning to live with it,” is committing negligence of the first degree.
The Torah states “You shall not place a stumbling block before the blind.” An administration which purposefully withheld information in January and February so as not to “cause a panic” has placed a massive stumbling block which led many people I know to become infected with covid. The Torah also states “build a parapet for your roof” so that those in danger of harm will be protected. Where’s the parapet protecting the “essential” meatpackers or our essential teachers risking their lives day after day going into work?
While in the end I became a rabbi and not a lawyer, this administration is clearly guilty of negligence. I am tired of being a guinea pig in it’s futile experiment to “do nothing” and see how many get Covid.