POWELL: Biden's cosmic hypocrisy; UConn health's ironic ads

Published on Monday, 25 January 2021 17:14
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At least President Biden has some sense of his high office, knows how to behave in public, and unlike his predecessor, Donald Trump, is not likely to become a cosmic embarrassment on account of his demeanor. No, Biden's embarrassments will be matters of policy and hypocrisy, as with the cosmic hypocrisy of his inaugural address calling for national unity.

For the new president, a Democrat, leads the party that just spent four years proclaiming "resistance" to Trump, much of that time also contriving the hoax of Trump's supposed collusion with Russia. This followed multiple presidential elections in which Democratic congressmen challenged the electoral vote, conduct the Democrats now suppose to be treasonous when committed by Republicans. Until now national unity has been of little concern to the Democrats.

But if unity is ridiculous in the current circumstances, Biden's call for civility in political discourse should be heeded. When the country's leaders treat each other viciously, standards collapse everywhere. The country has had four years of bad examples from both parties.

The president's address was wrong about something else. He said democracy is "fragile." This has become a theme of the Democrats and the many news organizations allied with them. They suggest that the Republican opposition is typified by the rioters who ransacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 after being summoned to Washington by Trump to "stop the steal" as the electoral vote was counted and that this was a "coup" to overthrow the government.

But there were only a few hundred rioters and there was no force behind them, no junta poised to seize the government. The riot was entirely a matter of the lack of ordinary police protection, it was quickly put down, and it appalled the country and demolished much regard remaining for Trump.

If Trump had ordered the military to "stop the steal," the generals would have laughed at him and few people even among his own supporters would have followed illegal orders from him. Coups don't work in established democracies. They succeed mainly in overthrowing regimes with less than majority support, as in Chile in 1973, not in preserving unpopular regimes.

Whether the vote in the recent presidential election was tallied honestly remains a fair question deserving investigation because the mass absentee balloting that was used is an invitation to mistakes and fraud.

While Trump's campaign failed to produce compelling evidence that any state's tally was reversed by fraud, news organizations attesting to the integrity of the tallies never seriously investigated them either. So Congress had to follow the totals officially certified in each state.

While state Capitols were put on alert for rioting by Trump supporters on Inauguration Day, there wasn't any. The only rioting is being done by the usual crazy leftists and anarchists, who don't like Biden either.

Yes, as the new president said upon taking office, democracy has prevailed. But it prevailed because it is still pretty strong, not fragile.

Medicine is getting competitive, so no one may begrudge the radio and television advertising being done by the University of Connecticut's Health Center in Farmington, which styles itself UConn Health. The ads are bright and try to be inspiring, though of course, as with much advertising, their script might be used by any other hospital anywhere.

But while the script of the UConn Health ads won't be questioned by news organizations, which are starved for advertising, it is spectacularly ironic. For the ads conclude grandly: "Together anything is possible."

That's never what UConn Health tells state legislators and budget officials. For UConn Health chronically runs huge deficits requiring special appropriations and last month the current deficit was estimated at $50 million.

The problem is always staff compensation and lack of basic management. Two years ago UConn Health kept a professor on the payroll for months after he stopped showing up for work - his wife had killed him - and an audit found that UConn Health had lost more than 700 pieces of equipment each worth more than $5,000.

Anything may be possible at UConn Health except controlling costs.

Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Column, Editorials on Monday, 25 January 2021 17:14. Updated: Monday, 25 January 2021 17:16.