Democracy is supposed to be the be-all and end-all of society. The media and politicians talk about the importance of democracy in ensuring the rights of the individual. You hear American commentators speak about the importance of instilling democracy around the world and how much the United States should be involved in that role.
But why are Americans, who always talk about the importance of democracy, so eager to give power to those who are not elected?
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on Americans in more ways than one. People have lost their lives, their livelihoods, and their psyches. The virus was even further exacerbated by the reality of 2020 being an election year. Former President Trump and President Biden needed to portray the pandemic in a way that would get them elected. However, through the ashes of such a fiery battle, there was someone who became viewed as the second coming of the prophet Luke: Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Dr. Anthony Fauci’s beliefs have been seen as gospel throughout this pandemic. Former President Trump has been criticized for not making decisions based on the opinions of Dr. Fauci. However, Fauci has contradicted himself many times throughout the pandemic. First, he backtracked on the necessity of masks, and then he changed the herd immunity timeline. Fauci has also been inconsistent on suggestions for social distancing. Also, after being critical of family gatherings, discouraging people from going to church, and discouraging people from exercising their First Amendment rights, Fauci remained quiet during the riots, inspired by the killing of George Floyd, that happened over the summer of 2020 when asked during a congressional hearing.
In contrast to that silence, Fauci has been consistently praising the Cuomo administration’s handling of the pandemic in New York. Andrew Cuomo, the New York governor, allowed COVID-19 patients into nursing homes. Exacerbating the situation, he let COVID-infected workers continue to work in nursing homes despite them being home to the demographic that is statistically most likely to die of COVID. However, Fauci continues to make appearances on news networks such as CNN, MSNBC, and even FOX. His inconsistencies and who he supports are rarely called out, yet before election day, Fauci was still viewed as more popular than former President Trump.
Listening to scientists is important, especially during this pandemic. However, there is more to science than blindly following the word of an inconsistent bureaucrat like it is gospel and suppressing any dissenting opinions as “anti-science”. Science and democracy are supposed to encourage a salutary amount of skepticism and question-asking. As we’ve seen throughout the course of this pandemic, once the public stops questioning the words of experts, people begin to lose their freedoms.