Prior to 2016, I don’t think I donated to any political campaign; since then, I’ve sent money to several, with the majority of my contributions going to Elizabeth Warren’s presidential run. I was so hopeful that she could get the nomination – she had real plans to address issues that matter to lots of people and she didn’t have the baggage that plagued Hillary Clinton’s last attempt – that I let myself really hope it could happen. I’ve once again been reminded that here, in America, women still have to be twice as good as men to get half the credit the men do, and it makes me so frustrated that things are still like this in what I used to think was one of the more advanced countries in the world. I cried when Senator Warren suspended her campaign, the second time in my life that the results of an election have reduced me to tears of frustration and fear.
I don’t doubt that Senator Warren’s poor showing on Super Tuesday was driven by the older voters, those in my own age group who were raised by stay-at-home moms and working dads who reinforced the accepted gender stereotypes of their day in their children. Little boys were taught from an early age that they had to hide their feelings and be tough, while little girls were encouraged to be nurturing and submissive. Boys were encouraged to pursue careers, while girls were expected to get married, have babies, and perform domestic duties to support their working husbands. Women were not seen as competent to be in charge of anything more involved than the household budget, and their opinions were often not even considered when decisions were made. Any expressions of dissent were attributed to “hormones” and dismissed or blatantly ignored altogether. Women who exhibited any interest in pursuing positions of power were patted on the hand and discouraged from stepping out of their predetermined lanes.
So these voters are the demographic largely responsible for the position we now find ourselves in – two old white men running for the Democratic nomination while a highly capable woman had to step away from the race. Of course there are a large number of young people who support Senator Sanders’ campaign, while the boomers are leaning heavily towards Joe Biden, making it impossible for Senator Warren to earn enough delegates to keep her campaign viable. Many of those boomers believed that a woman couldn’t beat Trump (largely, I feel, because Hillary lost to him in 2016) based on “electability”, which is often used against female candidates as a not-so-hidden form of sex discrimination. Our party has become so laser-focused on choosing a candidate they think can get Trump out of office that I think we are in danger of forgetting the lessons from 2016.
Now the Trump administration is facing a crisis not created by Trump himself that they cannot make go away by lying about it repeatedly on Fox ‘News’. The Covid-19 virus pandemic isn’t going to be stopped by Trump’s claiming it’s a hoax, and his inability to deal with the facts won’t make the facts any less real. Trump’s lack of capacity to understand how vaccines are developed and tested before being available to the public, coupled with his public statements that directly contradict the professionals at the CDC and NIH, are putting his own supporters at significant risk of contracting and spreading the virus. There have been reports of a significant portion of Fox ‘News’ viewers who believe that this virus is no worse than the flu despite the most recent WHO report that the mortality rate of Covid-19 may be as high as 3.5%. Sure, that’s not too high – unless you or one of your loved ones happens to be one of those 3.5 people out of a hundred who dies from it.
Trump even had the gall to blame the lack of sufficient tests on the Obama administration, despite the fact that the virus hadn’t even been identified until last year. Trump repeatedly makes up the number of people currently known to have the virus within the country, while claiming that the virus will miraculously disappear when the weather gets warmer in April. He has no interest in learning anything that does not comport with his preconceived, illogical and uninformed opinions, and his complete ignorance is putting all of us in danger.
The cult of Trump will continue to cover for his incompetence until they are forced by circumstances to change their behavior. I guess that the only thing we can hope for is that Trump or someone in his administration or family will be diagnosed with the virus and be forced to acknowledge that they have no idea what they’re doing. His inability to focus on anything except the stock market, which continues to lose huge amounts of value because of the uncertainty generated by his failure to do the right thing to address the issue, is related to the only thing he cares about – his re-election.
It’s frightening that the thing that is putting so many of us at risk is what may finally break through the Fox ‘News’ bubble to take Trump down, and it’s sad that this is what it’s going to take to convince his followers how awful he is for the country. Whatever else happens, I hope that the people responsible for the propaganda machine propping Trump up are caught up in the pandemic, because the incompetence of the Trump loyalists running the agencies mandated to protect us are why we’re here in the first place. Their complicity in his deconstruction of the federal government cannot be forgotten or forgiven.