Pence setting a poor example

Dear Editor:

On Easter Sunday, Indiana’s Sixth District US Congressman Greg Pence published – then later deleted – a post that said he and his wife, Denise, were spending the holiday with their children and grandchildren. The post included picture of Pence walking alongside his grandchildren, giving the thumbs up sign.

I don’t know if Greg is somehow more privileged than the rest of us to have daily tests to make sure everyone in his family is C-19 negative or what, but that post really angered me as I haven’t seen or hugged or my grown sons or held some of my grandchildren in almost two months!

As of April 12, 2020, when Greg posted this pic, we were all supposed to be social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19. I personally prepared Easter dinner at my own home in Muncie, then left plates of food outside in the porch for my family to pick up; many Hoosier parents who are trying to mitigate the spread of the virus did similarly.

When questioned about the social media post, Greg was his usual “submarine strategy” self and answered no questions to those who asked why he wasn’t doing what we all are doing to maintain safe shelter-in-place practices.

Many on the post called him hypocritical, with some telling how they have been ill themselves and how others have lost loved ones to COVID-19. Neither Pence or his team responded to the criticisms, but the post was taken down and was never mentioned again.

FYI, Congressman Pence: Just in case you were not aware of it, in just a little over one month, nearly 10,00 Hoosiers have tested positive for Coronavirus and almost 500 Hoosiers have died of this disease! All who passed have passed alone by themselves, with medical staff holding up a FaceTime camera as loved ones said goodbye without being by their side.

Illness has befallen doctors and nurses, the elderly and even the young.

Maybe, this all doesn’t have much affect on people like you, your brother, Mike, or President Trump, but it does affect the rest of us who are losing jobs and healthcare as we work through the changing aspects of this pandemic every single day.

You all discuss facts and figures as if they don’t represent actual people or actual concerns of families. You act as if these are sheer numbers and not humans. You act as though our parents dying doesn’t matter, like our spouses being sick doesn’t matter, and like our children being taken away from their friends and teachers doesn’t matter.

But these are not just numbers, Congressman.

They are our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives and children who are suffering – it is us who are suffering, and although you’ve avoided the public long before the pandemic, it’s high time you gave a flying fig and lowered yourself to become “one of us.”

It’s beyond time for you to give Indiana more than lip-service, sir. Time for you to come out of your protected circles of privilege and wealth and figure out a way to truly make a difference for Hoosiers who are seriously hurting right now.

If you can’t do more than post hypocritical photos of you and your family “enjoying life” during a worldwide crisis, then gently step aside and let others lead more effectively.

I may not know all the answers on what to do right now, but I’ve got some damn good ideas. The first would be to be an example of a caring, empathetic leader during a pandemic.

Start there, Congressman!

Jeannine Lake, Muncie

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