Undertaker and Chief — A new moniker for Donald Trump? Well, some 130,000 more Americans have died so far this year than would be normal. If the shoe fits . . . .
We have now far outstripped other “developed” countries in numbers of deaths and confirmed cases. But instead of an informed national strategy for dealing with the worst public health crisis in a century we’re left with a clown show, in which the president mocks and flouts expertise and persists in acts that threaten the lives of hundreds, if not thousands.
His “strategy” for addressing the crisis consists pretty much of buck-passing and wishful thinking. For example, “I think that at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear. I hope.” Seriously?!?!? He “hopes” it will all just disappear? That’s his plan? Imagine Roosevelt saying, “I hope the Nazis will just go away.” Or George Bush saying, “Well, I hope they don’t hit us again.”
Trump made this statement on a day when 37 states reported spikes in new COVID-19 cases over the preceding week. And, for the first time, confirmed cases in the U.S. exceeded 50,000 in a single day. He has repeatedly denied the CDC permission to brief the public, has encouraged armed vigilantes to “liberate” states that did try to impose serious (a la Europe) lockdown measures to stop the spread. He has pushed ahead with indoor rallies without insisting on social distancing or masks, at a time when ALL experts agree that wearing masks is the single most effective, and least costly, means of slowing the spread.
The result is that instead of “flattening the curve,” the curve has flattened us. The president has effectively yielded the field to the coronavirus, opting instead to divert the public’s attention by stoking the culture wars and attempting – at a time we normally celebrate our aspirations for unity and liberty – to further divide us.
As Anne Applebaum recently noted in “The Atlantic,” “The numbers of American sick and dead are a source of wonder and marvel all over the world. They also inspire fear and anxiety.” Americans are excluded from European Union countries because of fear of disease transmission. Uruguayans and Rwandans can go to Italy and Spain, Moroccans and Tunisians can go to Germany and Greece. But we can’t. Think about that. For the first time in living memory, Canada has kept its border closed with the United States. On July 3, the governor of the Mexican state of Sonora announced the temporary closure of the border with Arizona and banned Americans from Sonoran beaches. In short, we seem to have turned into one of those “s____hole countries.” So much greatness . . .
The continually rising infection rate and death toll are now entirely on Donald Trump owing to his utter fecklessness. Why anyone running for political office would want to consciously associate with the personality cult that used to be known as the Republican Party is a mystery. Call it the Undertaker Cult.