On Friday, Donald Trump announced that he would be pulling the United States out of the World Health Organization (WHO), effective immediately. The thing is, Donald Trump is not a member of WHO … the United States is a member of WHO. The United States is comprised of some 330 million people. As one of those 330 million people, I reject his decision, made solely in his own head with no consultation by knowledgeable experts or the people of this country. It is not right and proper for one ‘man’, a ‘man’ with substandard knowledge and substandard intellect, to make such a decision entirely on his own. It is dangerous … extremely dangerous. It is unfair to the people of not only this nation, but of the world.
Let me tell you a little bit about WHO. The United Nations body was founded in 1948 with a mission to promote health around the world. The organization took on a swath of responsibilities, including managing the response to major global health priorities such as tuberculosis and malaria, as well as helping with access to health care around the world. In its more than 70-year history, the WHO has tackled some of the world’s most pressing health issues, including emergencies. It helped eliminate smallpox and all but eliminate polio. It supports the administration of measles vaccines worldwide. More recently it played a role in the 2003 SARS outbreak, the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak and the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Granted, WHO has its difficulties and has been accused of not responding quickly enough to the current pandemic, as well as others in the past. But, to simply walk away, to pull $400 million per year away from the organization, is a classic case of ‘throwing out the baby with the bathwater’. It is like the couple with three children who are having some difficulties, and rather than work through the problems, one partner says, “I’m done, I’m divorcing you and I’m not paying child support!” It is, in a word, unconscionable. The problems within WHO could be worked through and resolved, but it takes effort, it takes cooperation among nations, and it takes willingness to compromise.
Other world leaders have been quick to state that they have no plans to follow Trump’s example, but the reality is that the U.S. is the biggest financial contributor to WHO and without that funding, what they can accomplish will be severely limited. Donald Trump, in pulling out of WHO, is putting the entire world at risk, and for only one reason that I can see. He failed miserably at being a leader when the pandemic hit the U.S., and his failures have significantly reduced his approval rating … just a few short months before the November election. As is Trump’s way, he must find someone else to blame, and in this case it is WHO. He has turned the health and well-being of every person on the planet into a political tool to save his own carcass. Senator Chris Murphy says it well …
“It was never about reforming the WHO. That was all lies. It was always about distraction and scapegoating. Leaving castrates our ability to stop future pandemics and elevates China as the world’s go-to power on global health. What a nightmare.”
I am deeply disturbed by the number of international agreements Trump has pulled out of. First, the Paris Climate Accords that are attempting to find ways to save the environment from the ravages caused by the industrialized nations of the world, of which the U.S. is the largest per capita ravager. Then he pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal … an agreement that, by all accounts, was working well in keeping Iran from developing nuclear weapons. He pulled out of the United Nations Human Rights Council, an organization tasked with protecting human rights around the globe. In all, he has pulled this nation out of more than a dozen international agreements, leaving not only the U.S. vulnerable, but the rest of the world as well. There was a time that the U.S. was called the “leader of the free world”, but today, I’m not sure we are even a part of the free world, thanks to Donald Trump and his megalomania. It seems as if Trump wishes us to be so isolated that we are not even a part of the larger world … this is a frightening scenario. It is my hope that next January, we will quickly re-join these international groups that are trying to keep the world safe, that we will once again become part of the world.
I would urge Congress to stand up, do their job, and stop Trump’s utter madness, but … as we all know, the republicans in Congress are no longer our representatives, but rather Trump’s yes-men, thereby rendering Congress ineffective. I would urge the people in this country, the ones who still care about people, to write letters to their representatives and senators protesting this unconscionable move by Trump, but again … our letters would be put through the shredders on Capitol Hill. In short, we have lost our voices and will only have one last chance to exercise our will … on November 3rd.