Wednesday, March 25, 2020

A Journal of the Plague Year, Part the Sixth - The Politics of Death

Americans, your president is trying to kill you.

There is no way to put this gently.  You may not want to hear it.  But it is true.  Donald J. Trump wants you dead.  It’s nothing personal, you understand.  He won’t show up at your doorstep with a knife.  He’s far too lazy for that anyway.  But his corrupt, reckless decisions on the coronavirus will do the job just as well.

It’s about money, you see.  And in Trump’s world money is far more important than anything else you can imagine.  More important than human life.  More important than air or water.  More important than the collapse of society within two or three generations from climate change.  More important than any religious faith, though they’re happy to exploit that faith for profit if necessary and right-wing so-called Christians in particular are happy to be exploited.

That’s the thing about Trump supporters – they make the best marks in the world.  Not only are they in on the fact that they’re being conned, they’re proud of it. 

The simple fact is that this president wants you to die to protect his profits.  He’s been pretty up front about that, in fact.  It’s almost refreshing, in a “thank you for confirming my worst stereotypes” kind of way.

The evidence is clear.

He has spent most of this calendar year trying to minimize or ignore the current pandemic despite dire warnings from American intelligence services and governments the world over.  He was briefed on this in January and chose to do nothing because he felt it was a threat to his re-election campaign.  He has lied repeatedly to pretend that this isn’t a crisis.  He continues to do so.

He has repeatedly undercut any effort to prepare or respond to this crisis.  He wasted time that could have been used to prepare for testing, for medical equipment, for any kind of rational response.  He has muzzled and contradicted the experts who know better than he does what needs to happen.  He has cast the states adrift when it comes to obtaining supplies and then outbid them when they tried to do so on their own.  He tried to bribe German scientists to produce a vaccine solely for the US (a fact confirmed by the German government, which has a far better record for accuracy and reliability than the current US administration).  He has misled the public, screwed up the American response to the greatest crisis of the last decade, and consistently behaved like a toddler denied recess at daycare.  He continues to do so.

He has explicitly prioritized profits over the lives of American citizens.  He is concerned only with the health of the Dow Jones and not yours.  He continues to do and be so.

His supporters have done the same.  Seriously – when you have right-wing politicians and media sycophants openly saying that people should be happy to die in order to keep the stock market from sinking any lower, you know you have entered into a world of pure evil.  There is no other way to put that.

And now he is threatening to violate the advice of every single medical professional in the world, every responsible government in the world, and every person in the world with an actual goddamned clue, and lift all of the shelter-in-place orders that are this nation’s last, slim hope of averting catastrophe – a move that will kill literally millions of Americans and ironically enough leave his precious, precious economy even worse off than it would be otherwise.

Because after all, the choice we face is not shelter in place vs get the economy going. 

The choice is shelter in place vs resume normal business and face catastrophic pandemic deaths which will kill not only humans but the economy as well since – contrary to what Trump seems to think – the economy is made of humans, not dollars.

Fortunately he doesn’t have the legal or Constitutional power to lift orders given by governors or local officials (though this has never stopped him from trying before, authoritarian that he has amply demonstrated himself to be, and I’d hate to be the flunky who tries to explain this to him), and equally fortunately many of those governors and local officials – Democrats and Republicans alike – have essentially told him to fuck off.  GOP Texas Governor Greg Abbott, for example – whose Lt. Gov. is one of the idiots openly suggesting we sacrifice lives for the economy – simply said “I will base my decision as the governor of Texas on what physicians say.  If the goal is to get the economy moving, the best thing we can do to get the economy going is to get COVID-19 behind us.”

You can imagine how well this has gone over in the Oval Office.

Trump and his minions are openly saying that they are perfectly fine with 1% of the country – which if you do the math comes to more the three million people – dying unnecessarily from this disease as long as it puts a few more dollars into their already overstuffed pockets.  This is the mark of a tyrant.  This is the mark of an apocalyptic cult leader.  This is the mark of a heartless grifter, a sociopathic narcissist, and a clear and present threat to the security and survival of the American republic.

It is now clear that Trump will have to be removed from any role in the US response to this crisis.  This can be done officially by impeachment (again – maybe this time the Republican Senate will develop a backbone, or a sense of responsibility, laws and morals, or at minimum at least a sense of self-preservation) or through the 25th Amendment.  It can be done unofficially by him being rapidly and completely sidelined by people who actually have a clue what is going on and how to respond to it.   But one way or another it will have to be done.

His minions will need to grow up and learn how to accept reality.  This will likely be the most difficult part of the process.

But the alternative is the needless death of millions of Americans, and through them millions of others around the world.

And that is unacceptable.

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