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Community Voices (Scanlan): Commentators making out the Left to be sinister while trying to rewrite history

My wife and I recently finished watching HBO’s “The Outsider,” based on a Steven King novel. It is a great mixture of mystery and detective work, with a definite creep factor. Without giving anything away, the show got me thinking about urban legend and the macabre tales that crop up around the country. Many of us have heard of the Jersey Devil, the Chupacabra, and the Bogeyman. I grew up in Prince George’s County where we had our own supernatural monster, the Goat Man. Half-man and half-goat, he would stalk remote lover’s lanes and decapitate unlucky teens.

When I moved to Carroll County I heard all about Legh Master and the ghost of Furnace Hills, Drac’s Grave, and Cry Baby Bridge. Some legends, like Legh Master and the Goat Man, are specific to a locale. Others reappear around the country and even the world. For example, there are Cry Baby Bridges all over the United States. The Bogeyman appears all over the world under many different names.

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If one is a regular reader of the Carroll County Times, there seems to be another sinister creature lurking about. It has gone by many names but has evolved into the Left, a name so vague as to strike fear in the hearts of all but the bravest. This entity can’t be called progressive, because we know what progressives stand for: affordable health care for all, a sustainable environment, equal opportunity. But the Left? Now that’s spooky!

It is human nature to fear the unknown. Children fear the proverbial monster in the closet. I thought the Goat Man was real. However, as adults, we should outgrow our childish ways. For children, we can turn on the lights to show them there is no monster. Adults could metaphorically turn on the lights by dealing with facts, reading reliable sources of information, and getting out of their echo chambers.

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We are little more than two months into the COVID-19 crisis, and already local commentators are trying to rewrite history and ignore reality. To claim that liberal Democrats held up the $2.2 trillion CARES Act is simply not true. It was Republican Rep. Thomas Massie who tried to derail the bipartisan bill that unanimously passed the Senate on Wednesday. I suppose ensuring that workers receive unemployment insurance and that hospitals receive adequate financial assistance was some sort of liberal plot. Providing oversight of how major industries use their $500 billion bailout was a waste of time? In whose world are stock buybacks and CEO salaries more important than the health of fellow Americans?

Speaking of wasting time, the president’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak was abysmal. A recent columnist bragged that it only took Trump 10 days to snap into action by banning travel from China. Let’s be real. On Jan. 20, the first diagnosis of the coronavirus was made here in the US, the same day as the first diagnosis in South Korea. Within a week South Korea had mobilized its medical professionals and began robust testing for the virus. We did absolutely nothing despite repeated warnings from epidemiologists and Trump’s own national security advisors. We were told that it was just one guy from China, the virus was going to magically disappear. The US could have received testing kits from the World Health Organization, but turned them down. We could have allowed private hospitals and companies to produce their own tests, but instead an understaffed CDC shipped out faulty tests. South Korea has conducted five times as many tests per capita as we have, and they have contained their outbreak. A full month into our epidemic Trump was still downplaying its significance, saying it was “very much under control” while blaming others.

We are lucky to have a governor who actually pays attention. While Trump was still misleading the American people, Gov. Hogan decided to close schools and then non-essential businesses in order to control the spread of the virus. Governors around the country have stepped up to take the actions that didn’t come from the White House.

Making sure we get through this spreading epidemic is nonpartisan; Republicans and Democrats alike have an equal stake in this. Maybe Trump really didn’t know that he had fired the US Pandemic Response team in 2018. Maybe he doesn’t know that a vaccine is at least a year away and there aren’t enough tests available and many people can’t afford treatment. I guess he’s not a detail kind of guy. There is one thing he’s gotten right though — “I don’t take responsibility at all.” Even the scary Left couldn’t make this stuff up!

Tom Scanlan writes from Westminster.

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