In case all of you forgot, there is a coronavirus pandemic raging across the globe right now. With winter coming in the United States, the country surpassed more than 100,000 cases in a single day, on Election Day no less. A record of irresponsibility ignored by the country engulfed in a nail-biting race for President.
We found out early and often in the pandemic that Americans are terrible at governing themselves. A small piece of cloth was an infringement on their personal freedoms. Frankly, I’ve never seen grown adults throw such hyperbolic temper tantrums over the simple concept of ‘loving thy neighbor.’
The severity of the pandemic cannot be unsold and it is important that the American citizens know all the facts and act responsibly to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their neighbors. If only Donald Trump told us sooner, maybe we could have saved more lives.
Millions of conservatives think that the pandemic was all a political stunt, a scare tactic drummed up for the presidential race. They said amongst themselves that come November 4th, the day after the election; we would never hear about the pandemic again.
Honestly, that would be a relief. But it won’t be happening.
From the very beginning, the pandemic was always going to last until we had an effective and widely available vaccine, regardless of who was President, our style of leadership, the lockdown measures, all the safety measures, etc. The latest projections are mid-2021 before we have a widely available vaccine with at least a 70–75% effectiveness rate.
How we managed the virus between the start of the pandemic to when that vaccine becomes widely available is what separates great leaders from terrible ones. The goal is to run out the clock on the virus. The human race is locked in a game of chess with the pandemic, and the goal of all of these measures was to minimize how many pieces we lost.
Let me be clear, there are two different paths to Herd Immunity, a concept that Donald Trump and his surrogates love to talk about without fully understanding it. Herd Immunity via a vaccine and Herd Immunity via exposure. This is a novel coronavirus, at this point there is more we don’t know about the virus than we do know. That makes the prospect of Herd Immunity via exposure insanely dangerous.
If we follow mortality rates, even at the most conservative numbers, in order to reach 60–70% of the U.S. population immunity via exposure, at the very least, another 1 million Americans would have to die.
To my conservative friends, are you comfortable with their blood on your hands? Or can we agree that these people deserve a chance at living and all it would take is for you to wear a mask inside and wash your hands?
At the head of the attack on the lockdowns, social distancing mandates, and mask requirements is none other than the President of the United States. Donald Trump, the man entrusted with leading and protecting the American people, is the biggest critic of the measures meant to keep people alive.
Only in today’s America, with Trump at the helm, would we consider a deadly virus’s greatest ally the President. That is how sad and repugnant we have become as a nation. On March 5th of this year, I wrote about Trump’s false reality cracking under coronavirus. To this day, even after contracting the virus himself, that alternate reality never dissipated.
Even worse, while failing to lead, Trump and the U.S. government failed to help the American people survive the crushing economic impacts of the virus. The government passed trillions of dollars in coronavirus aid, but very little of it was designated for or made it to the American people.
Being a consumer-based economy, all they had to do was give its people money to survive. It even failed at that, choosing instead to funnel trillions of dollars to corporations, banks, and billionaires. While millions of Americans watched their unemployment benefits expire and their measly $1,200 stimulus check get eaten up by rent in less than a month, Trump’s friends got even richer.
A Devil’s Bargain
One thing that Donald Trump and his cohorts in the Senate did not hesitate to do, and remained highly effective at, is appointing hundreds of life-time appointment judges in the judicial branch of the government. While the pandemic raged and the people suffered, Trump packed the courts.
You see, Donald Trump doesn’t care about American lives. Mitch McConnell doesn’t care about American lives. Lindsey Graham doesn’t care about American lives. They don’t care about you. They never did. Their words may say they do, but their actions speak of an evilness devoid of conscience or shame.
While the people suffered, and more than 230,000 Americans died, the Senate couldn’t bring themselves to the table to negotiate or even consider one of the several relief bills passed by the House of Representatives. For more than six months, Mitch McConnell and the Senate sat on their hands while Americans died en masse.
But when Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September, suddenly the Senate wanted to do its job. Hundreds of thousands of dead Americans weren’t motivation enough. An open Supreme Court seat, however? Well, that was cause for work to be done. And boy, did the Senate work then.
With an expected contentious election upcoming, and the potential of a judiciary needed to decide who will be the next President, Donald Trump prioritized stacking the deck in his favor over taking care of the American people. Cold, calculating gamesmanship.
The Senate held their committee hearings and confirmation hearings, and in 28 days, second fastest in history, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed and seated on the Supreme Court. The Senate had done good work. They were proud of their expediency. They shook hands, took pictures, and spread the virus amongst themselves.
And while they worked and smiled, thousands more of Americans died. So far, Trump has seated more than 200 judges and 3 Supreme Court Justices. And each one of them only cost 1,000 American lives apiece. In the eyes of Donald Trump and the Republican Senate, that was an acceptable bargain.