“We are approaching a point where those denialist efforts are more than cynical, irresponsible and self-interested: they are starting to look like crimes against humanity.”
Those were the words of journalist Philip Ball in a piece on The Guardian site on Oct. 9 in a review of a book by a climate scientist. He was talking about politicians and others who have worked to undermine the climate change movement and maintain the status quo.
I had been thinking recently about some of the absurd decisions politicians have been making since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and wondering if some of them might eventually face charges for, at the least, criminal negligence in the performance of their duties.
In Canada, the United States, Brazil and other nations, we’ve seen politicians make pandemic-related decisions that pander to their conservative, anti-vaxx voters rather than common-sense health decisions to benefit the welfare of everyone.
As a result, hospital ERs have been struggling with COVID cases in a vicious fourth wave of the pandemic. People are suffering and dying because politicians ignored the advice of the medical profession and eased restrictions too early — or didn’t impose enough in the first place.
In parts of the U.S., it seems, some politicians are supporting anti-vaxxers while at the same time trying to restrict women from having abortions. So, it’s OK to spread COVID and kill people. But it’s not OK for a woman to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
One of the worst offenders these days appears to be the unvaccinated president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro. As another Guardian article points out, he is “a right-wing radical who critics accuse of destroying Brazil’s economy, environment and place in the world – (and) retains a hardcore support base of about 20% of voters.”
His latest absurd move was to “block a plan to distribute free sanitary pads and tampons to disadvantaged girls and women,” The Guardian is reporting today (Oct. 11).
“It was expected to benefit 5.6 million women and was part of a bigger package of laws to promote menstrual health, which has been approved by legislators,” The Guardian says.
Bolsonaro reportedly said that it was against public interest, but you have to wonder what segment of the public he is talking about.
Says the report: “In May, a report by the UN children’s fund, Unicef, and population fund, UNFPA, found that 713,000 girls in Brazil live without access to a bathroom; about 4 million girls don’t have adequate hygiene facilities at school, such as sanitary pads and soap, and at least 200,000 girls lack even the minimum hygiene facilities at school, such as bathrooms.”
Some young people are reportedly using “paper, newspaper or breadcrumbs to contain menstruation.”
Can you imagine that?
If men had periods, do you think Bolsonaro would have vetoed the plan?
Clearly, people like Bolsonaro appear to be putting the interests of select business groups ahead of the common welfare of mankind. They appear to be abusing their positions, whether through gross negligence or worse.
In Bolsonaro’s case, I think he will eventually be impeached and brought before the courts for his actions. But some Conservative politicians in Canada and Republicans in the U.S. who have been negligent during the pandemic will probably never face charges, even though they ignored medical authorities and made decisions that led to unnecessary suffering and deaths.
I think we need to raise the bar on that. Politicians need to be held accountable for the decisions they made during the pandemic and at other times. And if the courts find they made decisions that sacrificed lives for votes and profits, they should be jailed.