Caryn Sullivan: You can believe your eyes

Most people don’t care what you call it — recession, downturn, or transition. The name doesn’t matter. The experience does. 

Caryn Sullivan

We’re living in an era where there is a disturbing disconnect between what we hear and what we see.

Let’s start with President Joe Biden.

A historically unpopular president who has failed to lead on any initiatives that will make this country better, he insists he’s running for reelection in 2024. And yet, every time he speaks, he illustrates why that’s just such a bad idea.

Ignoring consistent polling, Biden continues to promote policies that drive our country away from traditions and values that have distinguished it for more than two centuries.

On the COVID front, he has no credibility.

A year ago, he called COVID the pandemic of the unvaccinated, attributing the persistence of COVID to those who chose not to get the jab(s). If we followed his lead (double masked and double vaxxed), we’d put COVID behind us, he insisted.

Last week, Biden stood on a White House balcony, double vaxxed and double boosted, and told us he’d gotten the ‘rona but he’d be fine in no time.

After five days, Biden’s doctor announced his patient was out of the woods and back in the game.

But, oops, they jumped the gun. It turns out our president is one of the allegedly rare folks to experience rebound COVID after taking Paxlovid, an antiviral therapy.

As his team assures us the president is fit and fine, they must recognize two realities.

Their credibility is shot, as is any pretense of bringing unity to a divided nation.

It’s time to move on.

Biden isn’t the only politician trying to create a false reality. Gov. Tim Walz sings from the same hymnal as the other Democrat candidates who want us to believe in a narrative that defies common sense.

Though some Americans will cling to a “zero COVID” goal, most of us recognize it for what it is. It’s a virus that most will weather with some discomfort; some will struggle with; some will dodge; and a few will succumb to.

The days of pushing people, particularly children, to get vaccinated and boosted, wear masks, and keep our distance are behind us.

Despite their efforts to sustain a pandemic of fear, we’re not wired to live in a constant state of emergency. This is particularly true since what many suspected is now confirmed:  politics usurped science almost from the beginning, according to Dr. Deborah Birx, the former COVID response coordinator.

COVID. Climate change. Racism. Monkeypox!

Make it stop.

We know what the real threats to our well-being are and Monkeypox is not in the top 10.

The real threat is to our financial well-being.

Most people don’t care what you call it — recession, downturn, or transition. The name doesn’t matter. The experience does.

Having less money than we’re accustomed to is a threat to our well-being on many levels.

Having less money means less of what we need and want.

Having less money means not being able to purchase school supplies and backpacks, repair the air conditioner, or replace a broken washing machine.

Having less money means not being able to take the kids to the State Fair, though it’s a family tradition.

Having less money means having to ask grandparents to provide childcare because it’s no longer affordable.

Having less money means not being able to save for the kids’ college educations.

Having less money means not being able to contribute to the retirement account.

Having less money means having to postpone retirement.

Like Biden, Walz doesn’t have his finger on the pulse of the electorate.

Weeks ago, he held a rally on a hot Sunday afternoon along with many other Democrat candidates. Their message of solidarity was all about one thing: ensuring women from Minnesota and beyond have access to abortion at any time.

But the issue is a red herring. Abortion is settled law in Minnesota. Even Dr. Scott Jensen, the Republican candidate for governor, has acknowledged the issue is not on the ballot.

When voters head to the ballot box next November, I submit the issues on their minds and hearts will be the ones we’re dealing with every day: rising crime, inflation, and gas prices.

In less than 100 days, we’ll find out who is right.


Caryn Sullivan
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A retired attorney and author of the award-winning memoir, "Bitter or Better: Grappling With Life on the Op-Ed Page," Caryn Sullivan has inspired readers with her thoughtful commentary for the past two decades. To learn more about Caryn’s work or to connect, visit