Trump Merchandise 2

Adrian Robertson arranges t-shirts of President Trump merchandise at his stand at I-44 and Yale in Tulsa, OK, June 17, 2020. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World

For months, Tulsans have made tremendous personal and economic sacrifices, sheltering in place and social distancing to keep family members and neighbors safe from the coronavirus.

Such diligence slowed the spread of the disease in our city, which has been commended for its handling of the public health crisis and its subsequent safe reopening.

It would be absurd for state and national leaders to risk compromising a city’s admirable efforts to safeguard the health and welfare of its citizens during a global pandemic. And yet, that is exactly what happened as Tulsa’s success was exploited for politically motivated ends.

It defies good sense and health experts’ recommendations to host largely attended events anywhere right now. The campaign rally in Tulsa attracted thousands of people to our community at a time when the numbers of COVID-19 cases were rising.

Moreover, officials scheduled this potentially rancorous and divisive event on the weekend of Juneteenth, in a city seeking healing from the past trauma of the race massacre, during a time when citizens are demanding progress for racial justice and social transformation.

These actions promoted by government officials and political leaders could be called ignorant, tone-deaf or self-centered, at best. They are more accurately described as negligent and unconscionable.

Rather than recognizing their call to protect and serve the public, certain elected leaders and officials are failing us by focusing on their own self interests.

Jennifer Philp, Tulsa

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