Last week as Donald Trump seemed to be all but giving up on an actual plan to combat Covid-19, he pivoted to declaring victory while telling Americans that we needed to be “warriors” and accept that there will be deaths. This statement was insensitive, incoherent, mean-spirited and selfish in ways that is should be self-evident, but it also raised one thus far overlooked question. If we are now all warriors maybe we should be treated like warriors.
Trump’s idea seems to be that we must accept that there will be deaths due to the pandemic as we open up the economy, but we must open up the economy because he doesn’t have any better ideas. In this way he is suggesting that we were all warriors going about our daily lives as normal, but with a significantly greater risk than usual of stepping on a biological landmine-and that this is wiser than allowing testing and tracing to inform the strategy for reopening the economy. Trump is asking ordinary Americans to take on a greater risk of painful disease and death and apparently thinks that by telling us to be warriors he will inspire us to greatness-and death.
These statements reveal the depth of Trump’s delusions as well as his impressive ability to make absolutely everything about himself. In Trump’s increasingly diseased mind, the American people should risk death not to defeat fascism, bring down totalitarian Communism, protect our country from Jihadist terrorism or to build a stronger, freer more democratic America. Rather, Trump is asking the American people to do this so he can get a few more shots of the political adrenaline, in the form of temporarily improved poll numbers or a few more retweets, that he so intensely craves.
Several months after the first cases of Covid-19 were found in the US, Donald Trump has neither developed a plan or evinced any real recognition of the damage and pain this pandemic has caused for so many Americans
Several months after the first cases of Covid-19 were found in the US, Donald Trump has neither developed a plan or evinced any real recognition of the damage and pain this pandemic has caused for so many Americans. That is why he has no better idea than to tell us to essentially tough it out. Trump has also reminded us that why we are toughing it out he and his staff enjoy ample access to testing and treatment. Despite these assurances, I am among the tens of millions of Americans who are not exactly relieved and happy that Jared Kushner can tell the media that he is not sure the presidential election will be held as scheduled secure in the knowledge that he can be tested pretty much any time he wants.
The bizarre nature of Trump’s plea that we be warriors notwithstanding, there is a policy angle of this as well. Americans should demand that if we are warriors we be treated that way. People serving in the military are paid, receive health care for life and a variety of benefits regarding housing and education. I suspect Americans would be much more comfortable braving the pandemic, or more accurately, ignoring it, if they knew they had a guaranteed income, access to good and healthcare for life. Younger Americans in particular would be more likely to embrace their role as warriors if they knew that when the pandemic was over, the government would help them finish their education or buy their first home. Given the Republicans’ hesitancy to offer enduring support to working Americans even in the middle of this pandemic, it is clear that they have no interest in extending these benefits to the three hundred million or so additional warriors Trump wants to create.
I suspect Americans would be much more comfortable braving the pandemic, or more accurately, ignoring it, if they knew they had a guaranteed income, access to good and healthcare for life
It is also true that, at least for now, most Americans are not in the kind of danger that troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflicts have been in recent years, but the leap from that to the belief that affordable healthcare and education is some kind of special privilege that should only be rationed out to those who have served their country is one that must be questioned. The reality that these things are rationed is what makes Trump’s request that we all be warriors that much more offensive.
Trump has no plan for combating the pandemic and has always been more interested in discussing the newest perceived affront to himself rather than a complex life and death issue facing the American public. That is who Trump has always been, so we should not be surprised by that. As he has grown increasingly tired of the issue, he has decided that Covid-19 is not his problem, but is the problem of the American people. This problem will cost tens of thousands of us our lives in the coming months. Somehow having Donald Trump consider me a warrior doesn’t seem like a fair exchange for that risk.
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