In the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, the founders enumerated a list of general principles they hoped this new document would ensure. "To form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty."


As we continue to navigate through this COVID-19 pandemic, promoting the general welfare has moved to the forefront of our national priorities.


President Trump’s positive test for COVID-19 — as well as the positive tests for White House staffers, politicians and other dignitaries — make me question whether President Trump shares this concern. Furthermore, the fact that the White House has continued to skirt safety protocols, publicly undermine medical and public safety officials, and downplay the seriousness of the threat of this pandemic, forces me to be skeptical of their commitment to promoting the general welfare.


After contracting the virus and receiving care and treatment that no one else who has COVID-19 will receive, I hoped President Trump would develop empathy for those who have contracted the virus and the family members of the more than 210,000 Americans who have already died from COVID-19.


I should have known better. Instead, President Trump takes a self-serving and reckless joy ride/publicity stunt, which put members of his Secret Service detail in danger of contracting the virus. As various commentators have noted since this incident, the vehicle recirculates the air meaning that anyone in the vehicle could potentially breathe in the virus from President Trump.


Furthermore, one Secret Service agent interviewed noted those agents would be required to quarantine, unlike the President himself. Dr. James Phillips noted "The risk of COVID-19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play."


My concern regarding President Trump’s cavalier response to COVID-19 and his own illness only heightened after upon his return to the White House, he removed his mask and posed for cameras. Yes, he was mostly by himself and the optics might have portrayed strength, but I do hope he took the mask out of his pocket as he re-entered the White House with an active viral infection.


I do agree we cannot let COVID-19 dominate our life, but this does not mean we should ignore it. I can only imagine how those words fell on the ears of those Americans who have lost their jobs or business owners who have seen their dreams dashed by the economic effects of the pandemic. Not to mention the emotional and psychological impact that social distancing and quarantining have had on millions of Americans.


Perhaps one silver lining of President Trump’s bout with COVID-19 is that it might convince those who declared COVID-19 a "hoax" and the legions of people who continue to ignore the medical and scientific warnings of experts who actually know what they are talking about.


Phenomenon like COVID-19 possess the power to bring into focus our common humanity and the reality of our world as a global village that can transcend our parochialism and arbitrary national borders. As Louis Pasteur acknowledged, "Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and it is the torch which illuminates the world."


May science spark solutions that will promote our general welfare."


Nicolas Shump is a longtime educator and writer in northeast Kansas. He can be reached at nicshump@gmail.com.