Hal, Mitch, and Greg (all pseudonyms for real people I know) were, are, and probably always will be true-red Donald Trump fans. If any of them saw The Orange Assassin holding a gun and casting furtive glances around Fifth Avenue (not that any of them are likely to ever visit America’s biggest, bluest city), they’d very likely offer to go buy him more ammunition. They’re all—normally—good men. But, like so many Trumpists, they check their reason and compassion at the door when they enter Trumpsylvania. Their hero’s cape can be crusted in chicken manure, but they still see it as pristine.
So when the man who boasts of his “total authority” fails virtually every exam and pop quiz in his first real crisis as president, they find others to blame. Messiahs don’t make mistakes. Not even when the homecoming chickens are roosting—and pooping—on his adoring disciples’ shoulders.
Hal, Mitch, and Greg have been responsible, hard-working men throughout their adult lives—blue-collar guys who made a good living by the sweat of their brows. But now, like millions of other hard-working Americans, they’re out of work. Derailed by a mindless, microscopic monster. So, like hundreds of thousands of other hard-working Americans, they want the resumption of business-as-usual to take place sooner rather than later. If doing so means more Americans will be infected with the coronavirus, well, that’s just the cost of doing business. After all, as many Trumpists regularly trumpet, “The cure must not be worse than the disease.”
It seems, then, according to the Trumpists, that facing financial hardship is worse than death. Well, it is, they seem to argue, if the ones facing those financial woes are in their 50s, while the ones facing death are in their 70s and 80s. It’s now Gen X Trumpists versus vulnerable Boomers. Those Boomers should understand and accept the need to increase their risks of exposure to the potentially deadly disease—the economy depends on it.
But should it have come to this horrid choice between the lives of the elderly and the livelihoods of younger Americans?
As I’ve noted previously, COVID-19 would have reached our nation, regardless of any and all precautions. However, had we been led by a better-informed, more responsible president, those precautions would have been enacted in time to dramatically reduce the spread of the disease that has now killed more than 54,000 Americans and decimated our economy.
Perhaps there are some health experts who could develop a scientific analysis that could reasonably calculate the infection and mortality rates had certain decisions been made sooner. Or, similarly, perhaps some economists could develop an algorithm that could show us that a better economic picture would have been possible had our president taken the pandemic more seriously. But for now, we can only surmise. And it seems reasonable to surmise that our nation’s physical and economic health would both be better had our president not trashed his predecessors’ detailed plans for dealing with a pandemic, and had he not terminated the nation’s pandemic response team.
The messiah Hal, Mitch, and Greg—and so many other hard-working-but-misinformed Americans—voted into the most-important office in the nation is clearly responsible for much of the physical, emotional, and economic suffering we all endure these days. Many Trumpists face financial ruin because they voted an imbecile into the presidency. The proverbial chickens have come home to roost. But the nation’s Hals, Mitches, and Gregs will never admit it. Even as those metaphorical roosting fowls foul our collective nest, wild horses couldn’t drag the true believers away from their messiah.
Reasonable people will have to do that for them, November 3rd.