Let’s agree there’s more than one way to skin a cat, but no one should want to skin a cat.
Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping used to say he didn’t care what color a cat was, as long at it caught mice.
Curiously — because cats are curious — this brings us to the COVID-19 crisis and government’s wholly unsatisfactory response to it.
Federal, state, city governments all took a bite of the you-know-what sandwich. There were as many failures as stops on the Market Street El.
Until Jan. 20, Democratic senators, governors and mayors were screaming about how President Donald J. Trump had screwed the vaccine pooch.
And he had.
After that, it was Republicans turn to howl about Democratic ineptitude.
Next thing you know, Democratic New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo is on Page One double-talking about how he killed more senior citizens than bathroom falls, and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is hiding from journalists who want to know why and how a bunch of Drexel kids were given a contract to distribute vaccines.
Like everything else in today’s America, the issue is covered in a sticky coating of perceived racism because we can’t have a conversation about it.
The goal is to distribute vaccine as fast as possible to as many people as possible. There is more than one way to accomplish it and the city has just decided to make the Pennsylvania Convention Center a mass distribution point, turning its back on Lincoln Financial Field, which had been the preference of City Council, spearheaded by Councilman Allan Domb, who also proposed harnessing Black churches.
It wasn’t that the city decided to go in a different direction. It was how the Council plan was rejected.
Mayoral spokesman Mike Dunn put it this way: “We ask Councilman Domb and other supporters: Are you deliberately trying to ensure that white privileged suburban residents of other counties and states are prioritized for vaccination over Black and brown taxpayers of Philadelphia?”
Like RCA’s Nipper following his master’s voice, Dunn played the race card, angering Domb, who is white, but pissing off Cindy Bass, who is Black. Dunn’s is the kind of demonization that you spout when you don’t have an actual argument based on logic and facts. It’s just easier to go with the R-word. It’s a favorite of white progressives for whom “racist” is their default setting. (Kenney doesn’t mind providing resources to those here illegally, another progressive position.)
The city seemed to have concerns that nonresidents of Philadelphia would be served at the Linc, but that could happen just as easily at the convention center. Well, unless people are asked for ID, and Democrats feel that is racist, too, as with voting.
“I don’t know whether I am more offended or saddened” by Dunn’s statement, Domb said. “Does our mayor really think so little of us as to believe that we would let out-of-state and out-of-county residents come and deplete our supply of life-saving vaccines for Philadelphians?” (Millionaire Domb donates his city salary back to this majority minority city.)
Domb was followed by Bass: “As a Black woman and elected official, I’m offended by that remark.” Her Public Health & Human Services Committee conducted a long hearing last week into the troubling circumstances around the city’s use of a group of unqualified college students to administer vaccines. “I continue to be appalled and disturbed at how vaccines are being distributed here,” she said.
The arguments in favor of using the Linc? Easy auto access, size and decent public transportation. For the convention center: even better mass transit, but smaller, and no free parking.
A debate was fine.
My best idea? Instead of making people go to the vaccine, bring the vaccine to the people through existing pharmacy networks — such as CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreen’s — which already reach into every pocket of the city. They serve rich and poor neighborhoods, white and Black and brown.
For minorities in the deeper inner city, utilize the churches, as they are nearby and trusted.
It’s not that hard. The color of the cat doesn’t matter.
But to in effect call Council racist and elitist — and borderline criminal, as Dunn did — is repugnant and a reflection of a progressive mindset that is blind to everything but race, ignoring rational thought, throttling helpful discussion.
Racial warriors like Dunn and Kenney are tearing us apart even more than actual racism.