America as we knew it prior to 2020 is over. Finished. This once-great nation will likely never fully recover from the effects of COVID-19—and, more significantly, from the stubborn stupidity of Donald J. Trump and his naïve, dimwitted followers. Thousands of Americans have died and hundreds of thousands more will die. And you, my fellow white evangelicals who jettisoned the values you once claimed to cherish in order to pursue your new messiah, Trump, you have blood on your hands.
A decade from now, when historians have completed their analysis of the nation’s demise, the pandemic of 2020 will be cited as playing a notable role in America’s downfall, but the intransigent idiocy of nearly 40 percent of the nation’s population—made up largely of white evangelicals—will be revealed as the primary factor.
I refer to the nation’s demise not in a hyperbolic sense. By the time the pandemic and the consequent economic depression have run their course, America could look more like a scene from The Road Warrior than the shining city on a hill Ronald Reagan envisioned. COVID’s devastation will ripple out beyond the death toll, and even beyond the economic toll. It will profoundly pummel Americans’ already depleted faith in the federal government. And that cynicism could lead to open rebellion.
One Man’s Incompetence
COVID-19 is a voracious little monster, consuming the lives of millions and devastating national economies. However, had our nation elected a competent Commander-In-Chief, we likely would have been able—eventually—to recover, to rebuild, to regain the mantle of greatness. But because some 40 percent of our voters are too foolish to distinguish a con man from a statesman, our nation’s response to the virus has been dismal at best. And that imprudent response is unlikely to improve to any great degree any time soon, not while that 40 percent continues to esteem ignorance over reason.
Here’s a small sampling of the preposterous statements made by our con man president and echoed by many of his asinine acolytes:
Jan. 22: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” — Trump in a CNBC interview.
Jan. 30: “We think we have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment—five—and those people are all recuperating successfully. But we’re working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for us … that I can assure you.” — Trump in a speech in Michigan.
Feb. 14: “There’s a theory that, in April, when it gets warm—historically, that has been able to kill the virus. So we don’t know yet; we’re not sure yet. But that’s around the corner.” — Trump in speaking to National Border Patrol Council members.
Feb. 24: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” — Trump in a tweet.
Feb. 26: “So we’re at the low level. As they get better, we take them off the list, so that we’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. So we’ve had very good luck.” — Trump at a White House briefing.
Feb. 26: “I think every aspect of our society should be prepared. I don’t think it’s going to come to that, especially with the fact that we’re going down, not up. We’re going very substantially down, not up.” — Trump at a press conference, when asked if “U.S. schools should be preparing for a coronavirus spreading.”
He Ignored His Predecessors’ Warnings
In 2005, President George W. Bush established “the nation’s most comprehensive pandemic plan—a playbook that included diagrams for a global early warning system, funding to develop new, rapid vaccine technology, and a robust national stockpile of critical supplies, such as face masks and ventilators.”
When President Obama handed the presidential mantle over to Donald Trump, Obama’s administration also handed the new president a 70-page playbook with everything Trump & Company would need to competently cope with a pandemic. But the overconfident Trump wanted no gifts from the predecessor he despised. So he not only rejected the playbook, he then fired the government’s entire pandemic response team.
When the virus finally did strike—just as Trump’s predecessors knew it would—the nation was utterly unprepared.
When the virus finally did strike—just as Trump’s predecessors knew it would—the nation was utterly unprepared, and one man is responsible for that lack of preparation, the man who repeatedly and falsely assured the nation that he had everything under control.
With this president—adored by his starry-eyed followers, especially white evangelicals—repeatedly making ridiculously false statements about the grimmest threat this nation has yet faced, it’s no surprise that many Trump-enamored evangelical pastors have defied state and municipal regulations against large public gatherings. And then, not surprisingly, those pastors’ impressionable parishioners similarly dismiss as conspiracies the facts as announced by the true experts, choosing to follow “faith” over facts.
Many of those crazy conspiracy theorists who mocked the approaching pandemic are now dead. Faith failed to protect them from a relentless, emotionless, politically-indifferent killer. Even more tragic and infuriating is the almost-certain fact that many of those conspiracy theorists who ignored the warnings of scientists and medical experts spread the disease to people who did their best to play by the rules.
Yes, COVID-19 would have reached the United States, even if all of us—including our president—had taken it seriously from the start. However, with sane citizens heeding responsible leaders, we would not today, April 5, be mourning the deaths of more than 6,000 Americans and the infections of another quarter million of our neighbors—numbers that are multiplying by the minute.
But the USA is not a nation full of sane citizens following responsible leaders; it is a nation in which more than a third of its citizens have abandoned reason to follow a clueless false messiah. America will be destroyed not by bombs, foreign armies, or even plagues. If America fails to learn from the COVID-19 tragedy, it will be ruined by stupidity.