The word metric connotes a ‘system or standard’ of measurement’. (Remember from elementary school that thing called the Metric System. My apologies to readers outside of the U.S.) Such exists so that there is a means by which a society can be on the same page, share the same references and markers.
This is what White House Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason was invoking, when on Friday, April 10 during a Corona Virus briefing he asked Donald Trump concerning the reopening of the country: “What metric are you going to be using?” In an amazing moment, Trump immediately responded by pointing to his head and saying “This metric right here.” (See video below for the moment.)
A monarchy is being sold right before our eyes. Were it bringing us irrefutable improvements in governance, spurred by the undeniable gifts of a wunderkind and genius, there might be a debate to be had about it’s value. What is not what we have and we’re in the absolute worst of times to be seeing so.
Senator Sherrod Brown warned, “There needs to be one person at the NSC, with the backing of a capable team, who can coordinate across agencies to ensure that we have the resources necessary to guard against and respond to any outbreak that threatens the United States.”
National emergencies on the level of a pandemic require well thought out plans, crafted by teams of the most experienced and gifted civil servants, academics and subject experts. This is the reason that an Office of Pandemic Response (OPR) existed, under leadership of Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer, existed when the Trump administration took hold of the reins to the Executive Branch. The influence of national security advisor John Bolton saw the forcing out of Admiral Ziemer and disbanding of his team, which included the respected global health authority Dr. Luciana Borio,
The very day of Ziemer’s departure, Senator Sherrod Brown, of Ohio, sounded this alarm: “There needs to be one person at the NSC, with the backing of a capable team, who can coordinate across agencies to ensure that we have the resources necessary to guard against and respond to any outbreak that threatens the United States.” How prescient his warning is, given the woefully uncoordinated response our nation finds itself in at this time.
Why, with tens of thousands of Americans dying, is a young real-estate developer named Jared Kushner showing up-in an apparent leadership role- in the White House Corona Virus briefing? How did he find time to put more on his plate, that already included automating the entire federal government and orchestrating a Middle East peace deal? By what metric is such broad responsibility being entrusted to a 39 year old with not one day of diplomatic, civil service or elected official experience?
One last musing for this post, before I sign off. You’ll notice in the video shared, Trump referencing a third party’s claim that only Trump could decide about the reopening of the national infrastructure and economic activity. This is patently false. In a republic, which the United States still is, the governors of the 50 states wield a representative power concerning the governance of their state territories. Is Trump’s comment inferring that the very states whom he has publicly prodded to find their own way during the COVID-19 pandemic, have no autonomy over when commerce and public life resumes in their state? By what metric is that true?