MILLER: Sweet are the uses 

The East Asian bullfrog is pictured in this undated file photo. (AP Photo)

If you’re a Shakespeare fan, you might know what a character in “As You Like It” said about facing adversity. When Duke Senior loses his dukedom to a usurping brother and is banished to the Forest of Arden, he rallies fellow outcasts by declaring, “Sweet are the uses of adversity / Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, / Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.” Those lines capture exactly the process in place to beat Covid-19 — and the outcome we await.  

Phase one of the process is well underway, and no one can overstate the debt we owe to healthcare workers, to industries that retooled factories to produce ventilators, and to the team of experts who’ve put our venomous toad in retreat. A teammate from Dr. Fauci’s high school basketball team remembers him as the point guard who “would literally dribble through a brick wall,” and Fauci’s success persuading Americans to self-isolate is no mean feat.     

Those of us who spent whole summers quarantined during polio epidemics remember being forbidden playmates, being scrubbed raw by watchful mothers — and being turned loose by the advent of the Salk vaccine. A vaccine for Covid-19 will come, but progress on other fronts will come much sooner. 

Only those who equate American prosperity with imperialism and xenophobia could oppose plans to loosen China’s grip on our economy. Trump was among the first to note the threat China posed to American enterprise, but, in 2013, no one knew that China would imperil our health as well — then control access to life-saving equipment. It seems we are to China what frogs are to master chefs — a delicacy to be dropped in cool water, then heated slowly to an inescapable boil. Now is the time to plan our escape.    

Only slightly less culpable is the World Health Organization, whose collusion with China made them downplay the threat of a pandemic, then congratulate China for its “transparency” and its “outbreak response.” The WHO’s duplicity has surprised no one who remembers that their 2000 report to the United Nations ranked America’s healthcare system 37th out of 191 countries studied — behind Columbia, Morocco, and Oman.  

As if to confirm their anti-American bias, the WHO’s 2001 report cited “racism” and “inequalities” as the cause of healthcare disparities, prompting the chief of neuroradiology at Stanford Medical Center to call that report “an intellectual fraud of historic consequence” because it ranked countries “according to their alignment with a specific political and economic ideal” — not their methods and results. In his 2008 exposé of the WHO’s leftward tilt, the Cato Institute’s Glen Whitman asked “WHOm Are They Kidding?” Not President Trump whose decision to withhold funding was long overdue. 

To those sweet uses, I add a suggestion for parents who’re sheltering university students who are working online. Students whose instructors are using a pandemic to stump for extensions of government relief need homeschooling in the fate of nations whose citizens are beholden to a central authority — like China for instance. In the name of compassion, they accelerate controls — then hold citizens responsible for bearing the costs. Or, as economist Walter Williams just said, “The best time to be wrong and persist in being wrong is when the costs of being wrong are borne by others.” Parents of university students should remind them that today’s young adults will be tomorrow’s “others.” 

Such logic has never worked with the hard left, so I suggest that voters use this time to look closely at the Democrats’ 2020 platform. Their stated aim is to control healthcare, private enterprise and the distribution of wealth, but their real mission is to destroy Donald Trump — and send taxpayers the bill for incessant investigations. Whenever I hear Speaker Pelosi recite that pledge, I remember what Whitaker Chambers once said about the radical left. They wield a “moral superiority which makes them…berate their opponents with withering self-righteousness.” Czarina Pelosi claims that she prays for President Trump, but I suspect she spells it p-r-e-y-s. 

In Shakespeare’s comedy, Duke Senior’s nemesis repents his treachery and restores his brother to his rightful dukedom. No one expects Ms. Pelosi to abdicate her position as nemesis or to cooperate with Trump to beat Covid-19 — even though her cooperation would enhance the process, as well as the progress being made on those other fronts. The outcome of the 2020 election is anybody’s guess, but, come November, We the People just might favor the constructive use of adversity.