December 9, 2020
Though just 51% voted for Biden, I’d hoped his election might dispel the fog of insanity gripping most of the rest. But so far if anything it’s deepening.
Deepening too is America’s worst crisis of my lifetime. A 9/11’s worth of deaths every day, 15 million sickened, hospitals overwhelmed, psychological trauma, economic devastation widening. And where the fuck is the President??
If ever there was a time crying out for real national leadership, this is it. But Trump has been MIA for months about the pandemic. Except to claim credit for vaccines, even while he disregards the daunting challenge of administering them. Instead of working on that, or to curb covid’s spread, or with Congress on stalled relief legislation, instead of rallying the nation’s resolve or comforting the suffering — a deranged president in his bunker fixates on trying to undo the reality of his amply deserved election defeat. Spewing lies about nonexistent fraud. When the real fraud is scamming his suckers to donate to a phony “election defense fund” ($200 million and counting).
Peter Baker’s Sunday analysis in The New York Times* — “Trump’s final days full of rage and denial” — reads like literature. Full of Shakespearean references. Trump as some mad medieval monarch careening toward the implosive last act. Even after four appalling years, the picture now is yet more extraordinary and unnerving.
And astoundingly, 47% voted for this guy! One of the vilest men on Earth. Still swallow his lies, still worship him. Only 27 of 249 Republican members of Congress recognize Biden’s election; many say Trump won. In Pennsylvania, 75 GOP state legislators have called on Congress to reject the state’s Biden electors. Almost the whole party is complicit in what truly amounts to Trump’s (fortunately shambolic) coup attempt.
This is insane.
And it has grave consequences. It sets a terrible precedent for a future bad guy slicker than Trump. It will hobble the Biden administration’s ability to function in this time of crisis. While trust in the integrity of elections is a key pillar of our democracy. Now almost half the country thinks the whole system is illegitimate. Indeed, millions of Christians believe Trump was installed by God, with Biden a Satanic usurper. Literally! This is part of the crisis we’re in. It’s a sanity crisis.
A Staten Island bar owner was cheered by “supporters” after being busted for violating covid restrictions and then attacking a cop with his car. Last Friday, the New York Young Republican Club held a big gala in a New Jersey restaurant — none in New York would host such a prohibited event. The revelers, including Matt Gaetz, a Trump-crazed Florida Congressman, posed pressed together with big smiles — and no masks.
Local officials harshly condemned this irresponsibility. But club president Gavin Wax responded, “We embrace life and living while you all cower in your pods worried about a disease with a 99%+ survivability rate. The left wants you to live in a world where socializing and being with friends and loved ones is a crime and a sin. It’s sick.”
I too embrace life and living; I want to continue it. The 99% number is Trump’s, false of course, the true figure being somewhat lower. Yet even for survivors the illness is often a horrible ordeal, and a great many suffer lasting health problems. It’s the mindset represented by that club president that’s sick. Responsible for most of our quarter million deaths.
As is his inspiration: the U.S. President. Who could so easily have been a hero in this crisis. If only he’d taken it seriously, and especially, pushed masking and social distancing. They became anathema on the right only because of him. It made no sense. For all Trump’s obsession with re-election, by inviting the covid catastrophe he screwed himself (and us). But it’s not inexplicable. He’s clinically insane.
The six more weeks before sanity is restored in the presidency is way too long. During that interval covid’s ravages will be devastating. And so sadly preventable. President-elect Biden talks of asking Americans to mask for 100 days. Asking — not curtailing “freedom” but begging us to be good citizens, to protect the lives of others as well as our own. And while Trump has assailed Biden as threatening an economic lockdown, we already had that — under Trump — so mismanaged it didn’t work. We don’t need to repeat that disaster. We could keep most of the economy (and, especially, schools) open as long as we do so smartly, with ramped up testing and tracing, and observing the other kinds of sensible precautions, mainly masking and social distancing.
But too many Trumpsuckers, like those New York Republican clubbers, won’t comply. Half of people polled say they’ll even refuse vaccination. Theyll listen to a low-down lying lunatic of a president — but not Biden.
I’ve quoted Lincoln saying America cannot endure half slave and half free. Nor can we endure half sane and half nuts.