There is a hard lesson for people in leadership positions, that should not be this hard to understand. If you don’t deal with a crisis, it has a predictable habit of biting you in the rear-end.
The first and foremost lesson in addressing a crisis is to tell people the truth. Only then, can you enlist their understanding and help.
The second key lesson is to show sincere empathy for what people are going through. If they detect insincerity or a self-serving mindset, you will lose their trust.
The third lesson is to do what you can to help people or lessen the dilemma. Do not make matters worse. Not unlike the Hippocratic Oath, a leader should “do no harm.”
Having said these three lessons, it should not be a surprise that Messers. Bolsonaro, Johnson and Trump have failed miserably to address the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice crises facing Brazil, United Kingdom and United States.
Jair Bolsonaro has lied to Brazilians from the outset on COVID-19. Several health ministers have resigned because of his ham-handling of the pandemic. And, his country has long had poverty and racial tensions, which go unaddressed.
Boris Johnson was supposedly sitting pretty as the New Year rang in. Yet, not taking the pandemic seriously, he risked not only his health, but others. Now, he is facing backlash from some in his own psrty. Plus, he has been slow to address the racial protests which have hastened with the American police killings.
In the US, Donald Trump also naysayed and downplayed the pandemic even after being apprised of the risk. He continues his misinformation and has put people at risk by pressuring reopening and placing his own followers at risk with scheduled events.
Further, the president’s racist bent has further divided America and he adds fuel to the flames by being tone deaf to the protests.
The similarities of these three men precede their mishandling of these crises. Each are known for being untruthful, populists, and self-centeredness. Bolsonaro is even referred to as the Brazilian Trump. And, like Johnson, Bolsonaro has heightened risk by not following social distancing. And, like Trump, he has embraced a possible cure before it was proven, which remains so.
All three have failed in addresses these crises. Trump ridicules Brazil for its pandemic response, but the US numbers are far worse. Yet, each is doing their best Wizard of Oz impersonation saying “don’t look behind the curtain.” What they fail to realize, even a curtain cannot hide their mistakes.