It takes a pretty healthy (as in large) ego to think you've got what it takes to be president of the United States. Sometimes, though, that ego - combined with a less than stellar intelligence - can cause a person in that position to take actions that come around to bite them in the ass. The ancient Greeks had a word for it: Hubris. We've had two disastrous examples of that in recent history: Bush the Lesser (Dubya) and The Former Guy (TFG).
When Bill Clinton was president, terrorist cells were ramping up in the Middle East. The Clinton administration knew this was a growing concern for domestic safety and increased intelligence gathering. When leaving office, they passed this information onto the incoming Bush administration. The warnings fell on deaf ears, because - as we know post 9/11 - Dubya was more focused on Iraq. The Bush Administration received numerous intelligence reports in its first 18 months, including the infamous "bin Laden determined to strike inside the United States" memo. Their response to that was to shrink and defund the counterterrorism programs
. We all know what happened next.
Fast forward 16 years, and we have the incoming "TFG" administration - a textbook case of narcissism and hubris (and Dunning-Kruger). His predecessor - President Obama - had dealt with SARS and Ebola. Learning from this, he put together a pandemic response team with subject matter exports and resources ready to be rolled out in case of emergency. As we all know, TFG's main focus as president was to undo as much of Obama's work as possible, in retaliation for a joke President Obama once told about him at the Press Club awards.
One of these ill-informed actions was to disband the pandemic response team
, closing the office, and scattering the employees to other areas of the administration (those who weren't outright fired). When the Coronavirus pandemic hit, the country was not prepared to deal with it, and as a result, over 600K people died. This also likely made him a one-term president.
Unfortunately, the hubris often runs downhill, and outlasts the ignorant president, so that their replacements need to clean up the mess. Joe Biden had to deal with the everlasting war in Afghanistan from the Bush administration, in addition to conforming to a terrible treaty deal put in place by TFG. Despite criticism (which is mostly wrong
), he has managed to finally end America's longest war.
TFG's cult followers have mimicked the hubris of their hero, and they are paying for it with their lives. The vast majority of the recent deaths from COVID-19 are those refusing to take the vaccine, or trying "alternative" remedies like Ivermectin. Conservative talk radio has been the most vocal about the vaccines, and four of them have died in recent weeks
(oops - make that five
I know we should feel bad for these people, dying from their own stubborn ignorance, but in the case of those holding sway over others (such as radio hosts or religious leaders), their deaths may actually save more lives, if even only by silencing their voices.
In ancient Greek literature, hubris was often punished by the gods. So it seems nowadays as well.