Embracing Death to ‘Own the Libs’.
Donald Trump might be losing the election, but up to 40 percent of the country will be acting in his name long after he is gone.
The day before he was released from Walter Reed Medical Center after being diagnosed with Covid-19, the country watched as President Donald Trump sealed himself in a car with Secret Service detail, and drove around the building to wave to his supporters who had gathered there. For me, the main takeaway from this inarguably bizarre propaganda event was not necessarily that he had subjected the men tasked to protect him to a deadly, highly contagious virus for the sake of his own ego and public perception, but how it was perceived by the crowd in attendance. In the days that have passed since then, I still keep thinking about the man standing on the sidewalk as the President rode by, who was captured on audio declaring passionately:
“God bless our president. I will die for him. I will die for that man, happily. I will die for him. Anyone want to mess with him, you mess with me first. He is a hero that man.”
I’m not sure anything could serve as a more grim reminder of the fact that while Donald Trump might be losing his re-election campaign, potentially as much as 40 percent of the country will still be acting in his name long after he is out of office. With each passing day as we get closer to the general election, it becomes increasingly obvious that we are dealing with a phenomenon that transcends this unprecedented moment. A phenomenon that will likely outlast not just the President’s time in power, but the President himself. Regardless of who ultimately wins this election, the battle against the ignorance he revels in will continue. Ignorance that has been and will continue to be turned in to a deadly weapon by Donald Trump and the Republican party, all for the prize of political power.
Aside from Donald Trump’s own lethal inaction and weaponized ignorance, few have so happily toyed with the lives of their constituents than Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida. While nearly 740,000 people have contracted the virus in his State under his watch and over 15,000 have died, the Governor could be seen without a mask at Donald Trump’s first rally since contracting the virus, giving high fives to others in attendance and touching his face afterwards. That night at the same rally Donald Trump was seen also without a mask, dancing to Y.M.C.A.
Meanwhile, over 215,000 people have died.
They died drowning in their own fluids alone in a hospital bed, leaving millions behind to mourn not just the loss of a loved one, but to deal with the added pain that comes along with not even being there to hold their hand as they passed. Among them was not only Herman Cain — who likely contracted the virus at Trump’s Tulsa Rally — but Craighead County, Arkansas’ GOP Chairmen Steven Farmer as well. Farmer reportedly contracted the virus at an event at the Craighead Committee’s “Reagan Roundup” social event, where few wore masks when gathering inside a barn. The conservative Group Turning Point USA’s cofounder Bill Montgomery has also died of complications related to Covid-19.
Still, even the deaths of their own has not stopped 40% of the country from sending their children and grandchildren to school in the middle of a global pandemic not merely out of necessity like so many of us, but rather to make a political point. 40% of this country is eagerly throwing their children to the wolves, risking their safety as well as the safety of those around them in order to prove allegiance to a President that told them not to be afraid of a virus that has left millions gasping for air, and hundreds of thousands dead. In the eyes of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters, the dead are nothing more than collateral damage. Not only are they willing to die for the sake of “owning the libs”, they expect us to be as reckless with our lives as they are with theirs.
Even if the Coronavirus had killed Donald Trump, it seems almost inevitable that he would be viewed as a martyr and a hero in the eyes of those in his base. Not only that, but his video released after he returned to the White House seemed to be priming that sentiment. Rather than viewing their leader as someone who had carelessly subjected himself to an illness that he likely would not have gotten if he had taken the proper precautions, he would instead have been revered as a man who fought for a noble cause, and sacrificed himself in the process. But when his own staff are arguing that his “firsthand experience” with the virus makes him more equipped to lead the fight against it than his Democratic rival Joe Biden, can we really be surprised?
Regardless of what happens in November, Donald Trump will still live on in the minds of his supporters who have been meticulously groomed to embrace everything he represents. As disturbing as it is that such a high percentage of the country is willing to die simply to prove their allegiance to Donald Trump, perhaps even more concerning is the question that poses in the midst of an election that it appears he is going to lose. If they are already willing to die, how many might be ready to fight on his behalf for the preservation of his power?