A few weeks ago, following a 10-mile run on the Fox River Trail from North Aurora up to Geneva and back, I stopped at a 7-11 to pick up some hydration and food as I’d forgotten to bring anything in the car. Pulling on my mask, I walked through the door and immediately noticed a tall, fairly overweight man in a Trump hat standing with his daughter next to the Slurpee machine.
I eased past them to pick up some iced tea and a slice of prepackaged banana bread, then moved to the counter to pay. The big dude lined up a couple feet behind me with his daughter clutching her Slurpee and sipping on it while they waited behind me.
It was hard not to make a comment about their lack of masks. The early fall rise in Covid-19 infections was all over the news. Yet here stood this guy with his little girl wearing no face protection at all.
Perhaps you’ve seen similar people out in public without masks. Which raises the question: How is your pandemic experience so far?
It’s not hard to draw the straight line from his Trump hat to the choice not to wear a mask while out in public. We all know the nature of those objections. That Covid-19 is a supposed hoax. That wearing a mask is a government intrusion in the lives or private citizens. All of that points back to the fact that Trump himself publicly denied the threat of Covid-19 on many occasions.
In interviews responding to the release of the Bob Woodward taped interviews in which Trump admitted to downplaying the dangers posed by the Coronavirus, the President claimed he was trying to prevent ‘panic’ in the American public by releasing the truth about the potential effects of the disease. The fact remains that Trump lied to the American people by insisting the pandemic would either just go away on its own when the weather got hotter or run its course by some sort of magic to which only he was privy.
Instead, the pandemic has swarmed through the American population, killing hundreds of thousands of people. As it took hold, Trump defied scientists and medical experts trying to contain the virus through protective measures. Now he has tried to claim credit as pharmaceutical companies used research done well before Trump was President to push a vaccine into action.
Back in March of 2020, Trump tossed the federal government’s response into the feckless hands of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who cynically tossed it over to the states to handle it on their own. Then he ran off and started a side business grabbing up PPE supplies to parcel out as he wished, especially to whom he wished.
States struggled to find enough PPE supplies to help first responders in overburdened hospitals. All the while, Trump kept insisting that there wasn’t really a problem in America. He spent all his time whining that the “China virus” wasn’t his fault and that Democrats were making too much of the surge in infections. He also cynically claimed that the only reason there were more infections in America was the increase in testing. How that justifies his claim that Democrats were playing the virus for political purposes was never explained. It was a 1:1, logical fact that testing was revealing increased rate of infections.
Stats about the deaths of Americans don’t lie. Which raises the question: How is your pandemic experience so far?
But Trump has never let cause and effect get in the way of his political ambitions, personal greed and narcissistic need to always be right. Those were the reasons he denied the threat of the virus in the first place. He was anxiously aware that a pandemic, if it got out of control, would affect his chances at re-election. The reasons why he so feared losing were financial, legal, emotional and criminal.
Yet despite Trump’s attempt to avoid economic collapse by lying about the Coronavirus, that is exactly what happened. The economy tanked, and that frail claim to authority was the main tool Trump hoped to leverage in his re-election campaign. Trump had greedily claimed credit for the straight line recovery and growth coming off the Obama years. To make his case, Trump eagerly touted stock market numbers as a sign that America’s economy was booming. Then he and the GOP tossed billions in tax cuts to the most wealthy citizens in this country. The middle class? The poor? He doesn’t consider those people worthy of his attention despite what his cult worshippers insist. Now he’s bilking those same people out of millions in contributions after he lost the election. That’s called being a sucker.
Trump’s rabid support was cognitive dissonance considering the massive number of people thrown out of work by the economic collapse caused by the pandemic. State governors imposed Stay-At-Home orders in attempts to corral the effects of the contagious virus. Trump and his Republican minions griped that such orders were too stringent and were harming businesses nationwide. They were correct about the latter, but ignored the true source of those problems, which was Trump’s denial of the threat in the first place.
The Chicago Tribune carried a story today that cited the fact that under Trump, the federal government has ramped up the rate of executions, but for what purpose? Is his base somehow eager for people to die as a sign that Trump is loyal to them, or to satisfy the bloodlust lurking just behind the vigilantism, gun culture and militia mentality of the uncivil population?
Most of us got small pandemic relief checks months ago. Which raises the question: How is your pandemic experience so far?
The bulk of us were left to figure out how to survive Trump’s selfish denials. A Covid relief bill was passed, and unemployment benefits were extended, but those were short-term actions that barely carried people through their breaking point. People living under the poverty level increased dramatically. America was in crisis.
The nation has 25% of the deaths worldwide yet only 3% of the world’s total population. There is no way to portray those numbers as anything other than a massive failure in leadership by the Trump administration.
Yet Trump’s followers, including that big dude behind me in line at 7-11, refused to admit that Trump was in any way at fault. The armed vigilantes who stormed the Michigan state capitol building and spewed spit in the faces of police offers tasked with protecting the government…were there to whine that the governor was being too hard on the citizens of the state by imposing restrictions designed to control the spread of the virus.
Millions of people are trying their best to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. But others don’t seem to care. Which raised the question: How is your pandemic experience so far?
Those of us wearing masks and giving up most of normal life to protect the lives of others found the arguments of Trump’s obviously selfish supporters alarming beyond reason. The anti-masker movement flourished beside Qanon conspiracy theories and calculated attempts by Trump to undermine the upcoming election by compromising the US Postal Service to hinder mail-in balloting.
Trump’s failures and corrupt actions were catching up to him like an Ironman triathlete who cut the course in the swim, drafted during the entire bike segment and refused to take either nutrition or hydration along the course because he considers himself a superman. Indeed, the sight of Trump standing on the balcony of the White House, breathing heavily and walking shakily down the steps is something every endurance athlete recognizes. He’d just run into his own wall of dishonesty and cheating.
Those of us who accept and abid by the state strictures to social distance, wear masks and generally avoid large public gatherings find the Trumpism refusal to help the country reduce infections and deaths beyond disturbing. This morning I heard a physician describe the fact that he had just checked in 36 new Covid-19 patients, four of who went straight to the ICU. Those are someone’s relatives, parents or grandparents. They might well die before the week is out. If so, they’ll join nearly 300,000 Americans that have passed away under Trump’s less-than-honest watch.
The other thing that Trump has ignored is the threat of climate change. That worldwide problem is another danger to the lives of Americans, yet Trump denies that it is real, even engaging in attempts to undermine the ability to pass laws controlling pollution of any kind. Trump is a calculating killer and despot. That’s all there is to it.
We’ve all tried to rationally engage in some kind of normalcy during the pandemic. Which raises the question: How is your pandemic experience so far?
My wife and I admittedly got out to do a couple triathlon events this summer. The precautions put in place by those events during a low ebb in infection rates ensured that people were safe. There were no reported infections from those races.
But we canceled a scheduled race in Florida this coming weekend because we deemed it unsafe and selfish to fly and race during this massive surge in infection rates. The race was canceled anyway, but we’d made our decision well before that.
All of us has had to sacrifice in one way or another during all this madness. Yet the one man who could have made it all better continues down his selfish path of trying to overturn the election he likely lost because his lies about the Covid-19 disease caused such hardship for millions upon millions of Americans. Those who voted for him anyway ignored these facts out of some sense of loyalty to his narcissistic claim to lordship over all.
I found some final pieces of evidence that reveal the vicious nature of the Trump administration and why so many people have died as a result of his actions and inaction. The clippings in this article reveal that Trump and his administration care only about ideology, money and power. The rest of us, in his eyes, can all go to hell.
Which raises the question: How is your pandemic experience so far?