Politicians need to stay in their COVID-19 lanes

The last U.S. presidential election made people question the legitimacy of information fed to the public. It’s where that term “fake news” came from. Suddenly, people couldn’t be sure of the accuracy of what they heard or read. Mixed messages during the coronavirus outbreak once again have heads spinning.

I realize that COVID-19 was new to the world and situations will change and evolve. That’s not what I’m talking about when it comes to conflicting information.

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In times of global crisis, you’d think people would be able to look to their elected officials to take charge and give reliable and accurate information. Instead, we’re witnessing medical and scientific spokespeople contradict the important messages being transmitted.

I’m not pointing a finger at President Trump, who largely contradicts the experts working around him. Watching Canadian politicians explain various positions makes me second guess where things stand, too.

Earlier in the week I watched a federal news conference with Canada’s prime minister addressing the nation. Later, I saw regional press conferences with local politicians and experts commenting to the nervous public. While I’m not suggesting the two sets of government officials aren’t co-ordinating their messaging, I do believe that one voice – one trusted voice – should be used to hand down information.

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Justin Trudeau isn’t a medical professional. I’m not expecting him to be able to answer every medical question thrown at him. Donald Trump has confused people to no end in recent weeks. And he’s contradicted himself in addition to the experts flanked during his press conferences.

As the world is increasingly on edge during the health scare, people wonder if they should trust the medical experts or the people who won an election. I’m leaning more and more to ignoring the politicians and only listening to people with “doctor” in their name. It seems that they are mostly in agreement, anyway.

While there is a minor sense of comfort in seeing a country’s leader step up to the microphone to put a waiting nation at ease, I think they should stay out of the spotlight when it comes to answering the medical questions.

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Absolutely, tell us why you’ve made the decisions you have. But when a deeper explanation is required, step aside and let others speak for you.

For the most part, the world leaders already do that. But the more and more they flip-flop without being able to provide scientific or medical fact behind what they’re saying, I don’t want to hear it. Sometimes I fear they blurt out whatever comes to their head because they’re put on the spot. There’s nothing wrong with taking a beat and having a moment to think about an answer.

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Better yet, if you don’t know, say you don’t know instead of dancing around the question without providing any clarity. Mass confusion is not what we need right now.

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