I’ve been busy living life the last week or so, watching while the Trump administration shows the world further proof of its ineptitude as it faces a crisis of monumental proportions – the coronavirus and the pandemic now in progress.
Trump has made it clear that his number one concern, as always, is himself. He’s so worried about how this will affect his re-election that he cannot see past himself. The fact that he’s spent more time worrying about the status of the stock market than about how many people already in the country are carrying and transmitting the virus should be all the proof needed for all citizens to rise up and demand his removal from office.
Trump’s inability to absorb basic facts about anything not directly affecting him personally are on stark display when he repeatedly insists that vaccines will be available “rapidly”, that there won’t be more cases of the virus here over time, or that belatedly trying to restrict travel to and from countries that have reported the highest number of Covid-19 can make a difference in the worsening spread already happening here. Anonymous sources within his administration have been quoted saying they can’t figure out “what the fuck is going on.”
Trump has designated his lackey Mike Pence, who as governor of Indiana refused to consider needle-exchange programs to reduce the spread of HIV, to head the government’s charge to address the pandemic instead of choosing a healthcare professional because, after all, Pence will keep the election uppermost in his mind. This is a recipe for disaster, and Pence’s requirement that all information released to the public by the CDC and NIH must be funneled through him only serves to further delegitimize anything that the administration says about the pandemic.
The public needs to be able to believe the things that officials say regarding this crisis, and no one who has paid attention to the Trump administration has any reason to expect that they will provide us with real, actionable information or even basic facts. Why would anyone believe they have the ability to put steps in place that will lead to a resolution before thousands have sickened or died as a result? Both Trump and Mick Mulvaney have claimed that there is nothing to worry about, blaming the media for inciting panic or trying to say that it’s a “Democrat hoax”, that Democrats want millions to die to damage Trump’s re-election. Somehow, this is now acceptable political speech in America, at least for Republicans, and it reveals yet again that, for Trump and his minions, nothing matters if it helps keep them in power.
Trump has put Richard Grenell, an unqualified political sycophant in place as his “acting” DNI while nominating another incompetent and (hard to fathom) even less qualified fool, Representative John Ratcliffe again as the official DNI. This is likely a ploy by Trump exploit a loophole in the law governing Cabinet vacancies that would have required Grenell to leave as acting DNI by March 11th, allowing him to keep Grenell as acting DNI for up to seven extra months while Ratcliffe’s nomination flounders in the Senate. Trump’s previous attempt in 2019 to put this clown in the position was opposed by Senate Democrats and Republicans because he’s not only unqualified for the position, he’s also lied about his prior record. Trump doesn’t find him unqualified, because the only qualification that matters is loyalty to Trump on Fox. That law governing Cabinet vacancies now forces the Senate to choose between two idiots for a position that was created to keep us safe. There is nothing about either of these men that should make any of us feel safe.
I do not know how we as a democracy are going to survive the Trump presidency. The damage done in the first three years of his time in the White House has been so overwhelming that it’s been impossible to keep up with it all. He’s put bad actors in positions of power to successfully roll back wide-ranging regulations to benefit corporate benefactors going back fifty years. His administration’s corruption is truly unprecedented, and the Republican Party is all in on the continued abuse of a system never designed to have someone so totally unethical in the seat of power.
The primaries now underway are concerning, too. Senator Sanders, an Independent who is now running for the second time for the Democratic nomination, has garnered massive numbers of supporters who seem willing once again to throw the presidential election to Trump if Bernie doesn’t win the nomination. If ever there were a time for all of us who recognize the existential threat to both our democracy and the planet of a second Trump term that time is now. Vote with your heart in the primary, but for the sake of the future of all of us and our children and grandchildren, once a nominee has been named, it is imperative that we all get behind whoever that nominee is and vote the ticket.
If we cannot hold the house while taking both the presidency and the Senate to send Mitch McConnell back to Kentucky, the country we will be left with will be unrecognizable. Continuing to leave the Republicans in any position of power will ensure that a generation will be adversely affected by their racist, misogynistic and reprehensible policies designed to keep them in charge while preventing the rest of us from moving forward with policies that the majority of citizens believe should be enacted. No one who really wants things to change for the better should be willing to do anything except vote for the Democratic nominee for president, because the changes that will occur during another four years of Trump include the very real possibility of autocratic rule overtaking democracy completely. The likelihood of the positive changes we all hope for would be none, at least for our lifetimes. That’s something I cannot bear to consider.
So talk to your friends and family, and tell them how important it is for them to do what’s best for our democracy for the long-term. I don’t plan to vote for Bernie in the primary, but I will throw my support behind him one hundred percent if he wins the nomination, because that is what we have to do to take our country back from the Republicans who have gerrymandered and voter suppressed their way into power. We must vote for Democrats up and down the ticket in order to undo their minority grip on the system; only by doing that do we stand a chance at implementing the fundamental changes that we all want to truly make our democracy live up to the “One person, one vote” standard we all want it to be. Minority control was baked into the Constitution to manage the slave population on whose suffering our country was built, the original sin of America. It is past time to make foundational changes that ensure we are no longer forced by that minority to be held down by their repressive and backwards policies.