The role of politics during the troubling days of COVID-19 has been a highly controversial topic for the last several weeks.
We are at a crucial point in time as we continue to face the unknown, yet one could argue this pandemic has provided another pressing topic to debate in a partisan battle.
Politics in the U.S. is more than the expression of differing opinions over policies, the approach to problem solving and the resolution of various issues. Politics has become very personal, and attacks on the opposition have become commonplace.
COVID-19, however, takes us into a different world.
We should remember how all Americans were united after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, because the United States’ very existence was threatened. And, in more recent history, we should remember how the U.S. came together to support each other following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Now, we are fighting a war, and politicians and all Americans should put politics aside and unite against this threat to the livelihood and health of all Americans.
In a war against COVID-19, it seems completely counterproductive to waste any of our effort in fighting each other when there is so much at stake in terms of lives and health. Instead, we should all be united in fighting the invisible enemy — capable of harming us all.
It feels as if we get so tied up in the antics of our opposing political parties that we forget the very essence of our political system. We need to remember that the purpose of our political system is to come together and effectively find solutions to the problems we face.
That being said, COVID-19 has attacked us just as we are entering a crucial point in our political cycle.
Later this year, the U.S. will be finalizing its election process for the new presidential term beginning in 2021. We should not let this pandemic interfere with the core values of our democratic system and the significance of our election process.
Politics should not be brought into the debate on how to handle the pandemic. This is a health emergency — we should all be on the same page. People are dying, enough said.
There is a time and a place for everything. President Donald Trump and Joe Biden have every right to take a stance and talk about their views on foreign policy, the economy, national security, immigration and other issues.
But we cannot put the health and safety of the people into the hands of political divisions. The pandemic is a ruthless danger, spreading across the world. This is not the time to argue over liberal and conservative views. This is not the time to further divide the country. This is the time to unite for the people, the country and the world.
To use the pandemic as a political football to score campaign points would do a disservice to the people of this country that are enduring so much as they attempt to fight the spread of this disease and, in a very real sense, would do a disservice to all the health care workers who put their lives on the line every day as soldiers in the war against COVID-19.
The democratic process is what this country stands for, and the process deserves to be followed in this election year. But as long as we are battling this disease, we should all refrain from using the pandemic as grist for the political mill.
At Lehigh, we are being educated to become the next generation of leaders in various fields and to be informed citizens in our democratic process. This pandemic, occurring as it is during an election year, should remind us that our country will be made stronger by what unites us, rather than what divides us.
Our solution isn’t to bash the opposing political party or point fingers. Rather, we must devote all of our effort to winning this war.
Victory will be achieved by our coming together to increase the amount of test kits readily available, expand the availability of our hospital system to accommodate more patients and continue to research a vaccine.
The real test will be whether we will be strong enough to put politics aside and, as a united people, act to defeat our common enemy.