“Heads I Win, Tails You Lose” and the Election

When I was a child, I was occasionally tricked by an older kid (or at least a smarter one). We would have a coin toss and the kid would shout out, “Heads I win, tails you lose”. No matter which side of the coin turned up, the other kid would always win. It is because the coin toss was rigged. It was framed in such a way that eliminated fairness and justice.

Something similar is happening now in the presidential election. Trump has predicted that he will win when the votes are counted OR if the tally shows him losing, it will be because of vote fraud. He has also affirmed that he would take the election to the Supreme Court if he loses. This is dangerous for our country. If there is a fair election AND Trump actually loses, many of his more devoted followers might protest the counting of mail in votes and declare fraud. Some of these followers might turn to violence.

On the other side, Biden is currently beating Trump in the national polls by 8 – 10 percentage points.  If there is a fair election AND Biden actually loses, many of his more devoted followers might protest and claim that the disqualification of enough mail in votes was fraud. Some of these followers might turn to violence.

Both candidates can take actions to reduce the possibility of violence. If they lose fair and square, they should commit themselves to acknowledging their defeat publicly and not allow frustration to blow up into violence. They should also commit themselves to not declare victory prematurely, which could stir up wrong expectations. It is time for Trump and Biden, and for their respective followers, to commit themselves to abide by the election results. So be it!

What Kind of Republicans (and Democrats) does our Country Need?

In the United States, we have had two main political parties (Republican and Democrat) since before the Civil War. There have been third parties on occasion, but these have not been very successful. Political parties are subject to the same challenges that other institutions have: leadership structures that do not encourage change from within. Leaders gather around them “yes men” and “yes women” who say what the leader wants to hear and not what needs to be heard. These people are “enablers” who contribute to the corruption of their institutions from within. This is unhealthy for the institution and for the broader society.

In the current reality of the Republican Party, some leaders who are no longer in office (like former Ohio governor John Kasich and former White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly) have felt free enough to criticize President Trump’s policies and personal behavior. Nevertheless, most officials who are still in office or who are running for reelection have become enablers and have jumped on the president’s bandwagon on every single issue, no matter how absurd.  It is accurate to say that Republicans have become the Trump party and have moved away from traditional Republican principles (fiscal conservatism, standing against dictatorships, etc,).

An exception to this trend is Republican senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Earlier this week he criticized President Trump on a phone call with 17,000 of his supporters. He pulled no punches in his use of words. Regarding Trump’s support of dictatorships around the world like Russia, North Korea and others, Sasse says he strongly condemns “the way Trump kisses dictators’ butts. I mean, the way he ignores that the Uyghurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang right now. He hasn’t lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong Kongers,”

Sasse continued his criticism, “The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership. The way he treats women and spends like a drunken sailor. The ways I criticized President Obama for that kind of spending I’ve criticized President Trump for as well. He mocks evangelicals behind closed doors. His family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity He’s flirted with White supremacists.”

The Nebraska senator explained that he is concerned about the large number of people leaving the Republican Party. “If young people become permanent Democrats because they’ve just been repulsed by the obsessive nature of our politics, or if women who were willing to still vote with the Republican Party in 2016 decide that they need to turn away from this party permanently in the future, the debate is not going to be, you know, ‘Ben Sasse, why were you so mean to Donald Trump?’ It’s going to be ‘What the heck were any of us thinking that selling a TV-obsessed narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea?’ It is not a good idea.”

The senator also honed in on the main issue of the election: Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “The reality is that Trump careened from curb to curb. First, he ignored Covid. And then he went into full economic shutdown mode. He was the one who said 10 to 14 days of shutdown would fix this, and that was always wrong, So I don’t think the way he’s led through Covid has been reasonable or responsible or right.”

Senator Sasse is trying to shape the future of a post-Trump Republican Party. Republicans need to decide today what kind of party they want. Who has the better understanding of reality, Donald Trump or Ben Sasse? The future of the Republican Party hangs in the balance.

The Coronavirus and the Election Results

The coronavirus is affecting every area of life, including the election this fall in the United States. Let’s anticipate some of those effects so that we aren’t surprised on the evening of Tuesday, November 3rd. Here are some of the changes we can expect.

  • There will be many more mail ballots than normal. Due to the virus, many people are rightly limiting their presence in public gatherings. This phenomenon does not affect Republicans and Democrats equally. Surveys suggest that about 70% of Republicans will vote in person (and 30% of Republicans will mail in their ballots). It is expected that about 40% of Democrats will vote in person at the voting sites (the remaining 60% of Democrats will mail in their ballots).
  • This will affect the counting of the votes and, therefore, the reporting of the votes on the evening of November 3rd. The counting of mailed in ballots varies from state to state. Some states begin counting mail in ballots as they come in (on days before election day), some do not even begin counting these votes until after the polls are closed on election day. Most states require that mailed votes must be postmarked by election day. They vary on how many days after election day they permit for the mailed ballots to be delivered by the postal service.
  • Scenario 1 / a “purple” precinct where they are exactly 100 voters who will vote for Trump and 100 voters who will vote for Biden. If on election day this precinct counts only the in-person votes and waits to count the mailed in votes in the following days, the early reporting on November 3rd will give an inaccurate picture. The early reporting that evening could show 70 votes for Trump and 40 for Biden, a huge victory for Trump. Nevertheless, in the following days, Biden’s numbers catch up and become exactly equal to Trump’s, 100 to 100. There is no evidence of fraud, but one party *feels* that cheating has taken place.
  • Scenario 2 / a “slightly blue” precinct in a swing state likes Pennsylvania where 105 of the 200 voters plan on voting for Biden and the other 95 voters will vote for Trump. The in-person results on election night show 44 votes for Biden (40% x 110) and 63 votes for Trump (70% x 90), a strong and significant win for Trump. As the days go by and the mailed-in ballots begin to be tallied, Biden catches up and eventually wins 110 to 90. Cries of fraud erupt, but here again there is no evidence of any kind of cheating.
  • We have become accustomed to ¨exit polls¨ which are surveys of voters after they have already cast their ballot at the voting place. By definition, these do not take into consideration voters who mail in their ballots, so exit polls will be skewed in favor of Trump. The true vote totals won’t be known until the mail in ballots are counted in the following days.

THEREFORE, We should not expect any final votes on the evening of November 3rd, because many mailed in ballots will not be tallied until the following days. Unless it is a landside victory obvious to all, no presidential candidate should claim a win on election night. A premature claim to victory could easily lead to violence if supporters whose candidate “won” on election night ends up losing as the mailed in votes are counted. Let sound reasoning prevail among us!

Hypocrisy in High Places

The headlines today deal with revelations about President Trump’s taxes over the past two decades and I will comment on this in a future blog. Today I would like to denounce the hypocrisy in the U.S. Senate which is happening right before our eyes.

Back in February of 2016 Justice Antonin Scalia died which left a vacancy on the Supreme Court. President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace Scalia on the Court. The Republican controlled Senate refused to give Garland the necessary hearing. They claimed that a Supreme Court replacement should not take place during the last year of a president’s term in office. The battle cry was “Let the people decide through the presidential election in November’ (even though that meant an unfilled vacancy in the Supreme Court for ten months).

On September 18, 2020 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. Those same Republican senators who argued that the Court should remain vacant for ten months (McConnell, Graham, Grasse, Rubio, Cruz, etc.) now argue that the vacancy should be filled immediately through a nomination by President Trump. The overarching principle of “Let the people decide by voting in the presidential election” has been thrown overboard.

Lindsey Graham is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that governs the “advise and consent” Senate process of confirming Supreme Court nominations. He used to be a person of principle, but he has sold out his soul. In 2016 he said, “I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president whoever it might be, make that nomination.” In 2018 he was even more clear, “if a Supreme Court opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait until the next election.” Graham has broken his word. He is afraid that Trump will lose the election and that Biden will nominate a person much more liberal than a nominee by Trump. Lindsey Graham is a hypocrite and should be so judged by his own words. He is practicing the morally bankrupt maxim of “the end justifies the means”. But you cannot obtain a good end (a Supreme Court justice of your preference) by using the immoral means of breaking your word.

The defenses by the Republican senators are twofold. The first is that times have changed and the White House and the Senate are controlled by the same party. That was not the heart of their argument four years ago. Then they said, “Let the people vote!” They also claim that the Democrats would do the same if they were in their shoes. If Democrats practiced the same hypocrisy, I would denounce them as well. I have criticized Democrats before and I would denounce them again. Our ethical principles mean nothing if we don’t apply them to friend and foe alike. Let’s clean out the swamp of hypocrisy in our midst.

How Should We Receive Exaggerated Praise?

How Should We Receive Exaggerated Praise?

Most of my readers know that I retired at the end of spring semester. My last employment was with Whitworth University, eight plus years at their Spokane campus and over four years with programs in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico. Upon retirement, one of my colleagues gathered together “tributes” from dozens of professors and former students and made them into a video. If you are interested in seeing it, it can be viewed at https://youtu.be/k7c_RVSOoxs. You will notice that they “sang my praises” and I danced and sang “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof…in Spanish…on top of a table…in Costa Rica.

Many nice things were said, and it brought me to shed some tears. I imagined it to be somewhat similar to hearing the eulogy at your own funeral. How should we respond when we receive overstated praise?  I am vain enough to think that some of what they said was true. I am also realistic enough to know that I have not been as good, as scholarly, as exciting, as honest, as patient, as creative a professor and colleague as I could have been.

What should we take away from that kind of tribute? That people are important. Friendships that last over the years are one of the most beautiful of God’s generous gifts. So, give deeply of yourself to others and graciously receive their love.

Idolatry and Politics

The current political situation in the United States is quite troubling and sad. This can be illustrated by looking at an identifiable group on each side of the political spectrum. On the “right” are the “always Trumpers”. They repeat the White House’s talking points on every issue.  A clear example is the current spike in the Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths. President Trump has downplayed the severity of the pandemic. He has repeatedly claimed that the high numbers are due to the greater number of tests the United States has administered and that the U.S. has a low Covid-19 rate. The “always Trumpers” have echoed these claims even though they are absolutely false. On a per capita basis, the U.S. has NOT administered more coronavirus tests than most European countries, and the European Covid-19 rate is much less that the rate in the US. In fact, the U.S. has the fourth worst per capita rate in the world. In their desire to support the president, the “always Trumpers” are in denial of reality.

On the other side of the political spectrum are the “never Trumpers”. For them, Trump is so detestable that everythihng he says or does is false and evil. They have such a knee jerk reaction to Trump that they must be against everything Trumpian. For example, Trump has pushed a ¨Warp Speed¨ vaccine for Covid-19 for rapid research and actual production of millions of vaccines. Although it is obvious that Trump is urging this project largely for election purposes, the ¨never Trumpers¨ are unwilling to acknowledge that moving swiftly toward the development and distribution of a safe vaccines is good and necessary.

If people are totally “pro-Trump” or “anti-Trump”, they have abandoned their use of logic and reason. Their absolute political loyalty distorts the use of their minds. From a Biblical point of view, an absolute commitment to any human or institution is idolatry because we are worshiping the creation and not the Creator.

Unless people want to be classified as “pro-Trumpers” or “anti-Trumpers”, it is easy but not helpful to put our “opponents” in one of these categories. It is easy because we can then dismiss any evidence they offer without examining it.  Because too many of us categorize others in this way, we are becoming ever more polarized. When our favorite political party or politician receives a criticism, our default mode becomes a defensive posture. Instead of seeking and acknowledging the points of truth in the criticism, we grasp for any argument that helps our position, no matter how flimsy.

Since both of these extremes are dangerous for the advance of truth in our world, I suggest the following. Identify the three strongest criticisms against your favorite politician or political party. Are there any grains of truth in these criticisms? If so, do we acknowledge and act on them? If not, we are treading on dangerous ground.

Let´s keep seeking the truth and it will set us free.

Figures Never Lie… but Liars do Figure

My father would frequently repeat this quote to me, “Figures never lie… but liars do figure”. During my many decades of life, I have found that this phrase quite accurately describes human nature. In fact, it is logical. We usually try to defend our actions with reasons that we hope are persuasive (if not persuasive to others, at least to ourselves). Sometimes these arguments are valid, but at other times they are illogical rationalizations.

What we do on a personal level also occurs in the broader society. In healthy societies, opposing or alternative points of view are defended and debated in the public arena. These arguments frequently use statistics. Citizens need to think hard to evaluate the merits of the various arguments. In times of deep polarization, like our current situation, we must avoid knee/jerk reactions if we want to reach the truth. How do we evaluate these competing points of view when they involve figures, percentages, and statistics? I have found the following questions quite helpful.

  1. Are the figures accurate?
  2. What do these figures reveal (the merits and purposes of the argument)?
  3. What do these figures omit or hide (the flaws of the argument)?

The Covid-19 pandemic is a good case study, because statistics play such an important role in the national debate. For example, President Trump has often stated, “We do more Covid-19 testing than any other country.” At one level, this is a true statement. Because the United States is a large nation with a sizeable population (roughly 330 million people), the total number of tests administered here (about 40 million tests) is larger than any other country. The intention of the statement is to create confidence in the government, that our political leaders are adequately managing the pandemic, and that the large number of infections is to be expected.

At a more important level, this statement is quite false and misleading. We should compare the percentage of people who have been tested with the total population, in other words, “per capita”.[1] We could then compare “apples with apples”. At a per capita level, the United States is testing for Covid-19 at about the middle of the pack of industrialized nations. Depending on the exact date of comparison, the U.S. has tested more per capita than France, Japan and Sweden, but fewer than Australia, Russia, and Spain. The purpose of this misleading information is to paint a more positive picture of our government leadership than is warranted.

In light of this frequent misuse of numbers and statistics, what should we expect of each other? I hope that fair minded people will treat the figures accurately and not jump to inaccurate conclusions. Both those who support and those who oppose Trump (or any other leader or policy) should be honest enough to acknowledge all valid and pertinent figures and statistics, in other words, to find common ground. I also expect that people of all sides of an issue would disavow figures that are obviously wrong.[2] We must hold each other and our leaders to the high standard of truth-telling.

We are living in difficult times. The Covid pandemic is just one of our many challenges. If we want to overcome these problems, we must treat each other with serious respect, affirming what is true, rejecting what is not.


[1] Other more useful criteria would be per capita measurements of hospitalizations, ICU usage, and mortality rates.

[2] The president has made claims that are clearly false such as “We test for Covid-19 more than all other countries combined” and, more recently, “99% of Covid cases are totally harmless”. His supporters should have the courage to reject and distance themselves from these outlandish affirmations.

Truthing Along in Love

Most readers of this blog know that I am retiring at the end of this semester. I was invited to give a farewell address of encouragement to my faculty colleagues at Whitworth University which I gave on May 11. Here it is for your enjoyment.

50 years ago, this month, I was a freshman at Ohio University. The war in Viet Nam was escalating and protests were happening all over the country. Then on May 4, 1970 four middle class Kent State University students were killed by the Ohio National Guard. Violent protests erupted including at my campus. To respond to the protests, our university administration shortened the spring quarter and sent all the students home six weeks early.

For the next fifty years, I have always had at least one foot in the world of higher education. Studying, teaching, ministry and ahhh… yes, grading exams and term papers. Five decades later my formal academic career is coming to an end. This week I will probably be grading my last tests and papers. I am again experiencing several weeks of disrupted classes…this time due to the coronavirus.

My dad would frequently say, “Too old, too soon, too wise, too late!”

I have become older, but have I grown up? I have added years, but have I added wisdom? I have become more senior, but have I become more mature? In the letter to the Ephesians 4:15, Paul gives us an exhortation on how we can grow up into maturity and not just grow older. This verse is usually translated as “speaking the truth in love, we will grow up to maturity in Christ”. In order to be more faithful to the original Greek, we must take the noun “truth” and change it into a verb. Something like “truthing along in love, we will grow up to maturity in Christ.”

I would like to limit my reflections to three aspects of truthing along in love

  1. Speaking the truth
  2. Seeking the truth
  3. Living into the truth
  1. The phrase “speaking the truth in love” is an important component. We need to speak truth into each other’s lives. Why? Because we are finite and because we are fallen. We all have blind spots and we need others to enable us to see life more clearly. Because we are fallen and sin permeates all areas of our lives, speaking truth to each other brings healing to our world.

We have one of the best jobs in the world. We get paid to speak truth to our students. We do not primarily teach history, nor literature, nor science, nor Spanish, nor even our beloved Core 350. No, we teach students! History, Science, Spanish and Core 350 are tools of our trade to help shape our students into more mature men and women. To speak academic truth into our students’ lives is relatively easy but to show how this information can and should produce character, wisdom, courage, the making of good choices, a more accurate self-understanding, the building of healthy relationships is harder, but it is just as vital. Let us carefully, cautiously, and humbly speak truth into each other.

  • A second component is seeking the truth. It is equally important but much less common. We must be more than “open to the truth”. We need to actively seek it out. Many public officials and executives do not seek the truth. They surround themselves with Yes Men and Yes Women: people who will tell them what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. How much further down the road would I be now if I had sought out truth and invited more mentors, colleagues, family members and students to pour truth (as well as they understood it) into my life? Some of us have been fortunate to have experienced a good mentor, discipler, spiritual director who poured tough love into our lives.

I am going to ask you to do something. Over the next weeks and months, I ask that you give a standing invitation to a couple of colleagues to speak tough love truth into your life. Something like ¨Friend, I invite you to speak truth into my heart. Where you see something good, reaffirm it. When you see me going astray, lead me back to the right path¨. Begin with a couple of close friends, but then extend the invitation to those who you frequently disagree with. If we actively seek out truth, we can make Whitworth better.

  • Living the truth is quite scarce today, from the White House, down through our institutions and in our homes. Why is that? From our earliest days we learn how to lie, to embellish the truth, to make our information look better and that of others to look not so good.
  • As children we learn that lying saves us from getting punished…in the short run.
  • Commercials on television tell us that product A is better than product B even when it isn’t.
  • On our curriculum vitas, we highlight what makes us look good and we omit that which does not.
  • In our promotion of Whitworth, we emphasize the positive, but do we do not usually mention our warts.
  • If we run for public office (as I did), we are encouraged to select our facts, to speak half-truths, to give misleading answers in order to get more votes.
  • Why is living the truth important? Because people´s lives are at stake. Let´s take Covid-19 as an example. Dr. Fauci has repeatedly warned that if we do not obey told us by public health experts, we will witness thousands of needless deaths.

There is a more eternal reason. During my fifty years in higher education (both secular and Christian), most of the people that I have met (faculty, staff, students, parents) have been attracted to Jesus, but very disappointed and disillusioned by Christians. Our students too quickly become jaded…not primarily by our failures, but by our failure to admit our faults. When we do not admit our mistakes, we turn our holy faith into a Pharisaical farce. We become spiritually proud…and our students learn to imitate that pride and others turn away from the faith. Therefore, let us be quick to confess our sins to each other so that we may be healed.

Sisters and brothers of Whitworth, let us speak the truth, seek the truth, and live the truth so that we may better know the One who is the Truth and who will set us free!

Cultivating Relations with Students: Lessons Learned along the Way

Most followers of my blog know that I have been a professor for most of my adult life. As I approach retirement, Whitworth University has asked me to share about cultivating relationships with students. Here are some of my reflections.

Walking alongside students as a teacher, mentor, and friend is one of the greatest privileges and professions on earth! Having enjoyed this privilege for more than four decades, here are some of the life lessons I have learned along the way.

I am frequently asked, ¨What do you teach?¨ On my better days, I strive to resist the urge to say I teach Spanish, Latin America History, or Worldview Epistemologies. These subjects are important tools of the trade, but my students are the principal object of my teaching. My main goal is to help shape and sharpen my students as they walk through life. I hope to accompany them as they aim to become mature seekers of truth.

Since each student is unique, I need to get to know them, their hopes and dreams as well as their doubts and fears. With some students we have a common faith so I can mentor them towards maturity in Christ. With others, I need to discover ¨common ground¨ so that I can encourage them to reach their highest goals. Overseas study programs are great ways to get to know students. The 24/7 activities combined with the fact that we are all out of our comfort zones lead to important shared experiences. Following the pedagogy of Jesus, we have deep reflections on these experiences and praxis.

Education is more that just information. There is a strong volitional component, of living faithfully into the truths we are discovering. How do we urge students to obey the truth in difficult times? Each major field of study (architecture, medicine, journalism, etc.) has its particular ethical challenges. I strive to help students see how those challenges have been faced in the past and how they might embrace similar touch choices in the future. I share with my students pertinent stories from my own life, my successes and failures, and my difficult decisions. Sometime my anecdotes are humorous, sometimes self-deprecating, but (hopefully) always useful.

Friendships do not end at graduation. Blessed with modern technology (email, blogs, skype, etc.) I strive to stay in touch with students after they have left Whitworth. Through my periodical newsletters, I keep former students abreast of job opportunities and my commentary on recent political events.

                Our postmodern world is characterized by an overly generous ¨tolerance¨ of each other´s shortcomings mixed with horrific abuses of power in all areas of life. Many students yearn to be like Jesus who perfectly combined truth and grace. When the trust between us has grown, students readily open up and share their dilemmas of how to react to evil in our world.

Given how fragmented modern life is, I find it important to help students connect the dots of ¨isolated¨ information. For example, the land grabbing wars in the nineteenth century against Paraguay and Bolivia by their neighbors were inspired by the war against Mexico by the expansionist president Polk twenty years earlier (that Illinois congressman Abraham Lincoln protested against). Learning from the past enables us to face the present with courage and wisdom. Pursuing this theme of connecting the dots, I recognize that it takes a community to mentor our students. I ask them what they are learning in other courses. How does what we are studying in our class mesh with what they are learning in other courses?

The older I get, the more I recognize how much I have learned (and keep on learning) from my younger friends. Learning from others is a lifelong activity.

The Coronavirus and a Bad Week for “Trump’s” Stock Market

Over the past three years, President Trump has been repeatedly warned not to take too much credit for the rise in the stock market. If he claimed that he and his policies were the main reason for its gains, he would also have to ¨own¨ that same market if an unexpected plunge would bring the market down. His unmerited praise in the good times could easily be outweighed by undeserved criticism for bad conditions beyond his control.

The truth of the matter is that Trump inherited a strong economy from the Obama administration. For example, in the last 19 months of Obama’s administration, 3.9 million jobs were created in the U.S., whereas 3.6 million jobs were created in the first 19 months of Trump’s presidency. (In my next blog, I will analyze the tax cut, the national debt and other aspects of our economy, but here I want to concentrate on the Coronavirus and the stock market.)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all time high on Wednesday, February 19. It closed that afternoon at 29,348.03 Although there was an awareness of the negative economic effects of the Coronavirus, the White House and many economic pundits believed that the negative impact would largely be limited to China. Small drops in the Dow Jones were expected to occur and that is precisely what happened last week. Nevertheless, the harsh economic reality hit with a vengeance on Monday, February 24, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than a thousand points to a close at 27,960.80 (a decline of more than 3%).

It was widely predicted that the Dow Jones would rebound on Tuesday. That turn around did not materialize and the market continued to fall another 880 points.

The Dow Jones index dropped another 125 points on Wednesday which prompted President Trump to present a special televised message to the nation later that evening. His message was to show to a concerned citizenry and a jittery market that the administration was in control of the Coronavirus situation. In response to the criticism that the administration´s response was in shambles, Trump appointed Vice President Pence to be the ¨Czar¨ of the situation. Trump´s message was not his best. He rambled, repeated himself, and made misleading comments about the Coronavirus being similar to the flu. He claimed that it was not inevitable that the virus would extend widely throughout the U.S., thus contradicting what his own CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)  had announced that it was not a question of IF the Coronavirus would spread in the United States, but WHEN it would do so.

Far from calming his public, the Dow Jones dropped another 1190 points on Thursday to close at 25,766.64. This was the largest one-day point drop in the history of the Dow Jones. In a strange twist on the fable about the boy who cried wolf, President Trump has a credibility problem with half of the American public. The more he affirms, ¨Everything is great¨, ¨we have it under control¨, and ¨we are totally prepared¨, the less our citizens believe him. I don’t believe him. More importantly, investors don´t believe him.

On Friday, the nose dive of the Dow Jones continued. It dropped another 357 points to close at 25,409.36. It was the worst one week decline since the economic crisis of 2008. From its high on February 19, it has fallen 15%. Most economic and political pundits believe (hope?) that the bottom has been reached and that the value of the stocks will soon rise again. Nevertheless, here is what we need to keep in mind if we want to move forward:

  1. We must not minimize the personal tragedy. Almost three thousand people have already died from the virus and over 82,000 have been infected worldwide.
  2. Vice President Mike Pence, the new ¨Czar¨ charged with heading the fight against the virus, needs to surround himself with credible medical health experts. When Pence was governor of Indiana, he made several troublesome medical health comments like ¨Cigarettes do not cause cancer¨.
  3. President Trump must be more honest and transparent with the American public. He has muzzled government scientists and health officials to get clearance with Pence´s office before they communicate with the media. This censorship does not inspire confidence.
  4. The coronavirus is not the sole reason for the Dow Jones fall. Most stock market experts agree that the market was overvalued and was in need of a ¨correction¨. Before the virus hit, many countries around the world were sliding into a recession. That is now more likely. The trade war with China had already weakened the economies of that country and the U.S. The relationship between our economic growth and our huge national debt is at a very dangerous level. As a country, our expenses are much higher than our income. We are paying for our lavish lifestyle by borrowing from future generations.
  5. The economy has a huge political impact. Remember Clinton’s political slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Trump’s political fortunes will rise or fall on how his administration handles this crisis. For better or for worse, Trump “owns” this economy.