Point of View Columns

Another Long Weekend in the Life of America

October 9, 2020

7,607,848–212,789 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day

Much of the news of today centers around the foiled plot by white militant militia members to kidnap and kill Michigan Governor Gretchen Witmer. The central grievance of these misguided miscreants? She wanted the citizens of Michigan to wear masks in the middle of a pandemic.

And so, in this crazed climate created by the Instigator in Chief, some very committed militia members who have been mesmerized by Trump’s multiple dog whistles figured that it would be a good idea to kidnap and kill Governor Witmer, in the process inspiring other militia groups to take over state governments around the country. After all, Mr. Good People on Both Sides had provided a veneer of presidential acceptance that heretofore had never existed.

So with the tacit (certainly not spoken) approval of Trump, these good Michiganders did a third rate imitation of ISIS right down to learning how to make IED’s with shrapnel covers. They also staked out Governor Witmer’s summer home and by the accounts of the indictment were not too far from carrying out their infernal plan which, if consummated, would have killed not only Governor Witmer, members of her family and almost certainly multiple members of the law enforcement.

Fortunately for Governor Witmer – and the nation – the FBI and Michigan state law enforcement units were able to apprehend these clown criminals before they could commit their evil deeds. It turns out that they liked to communicate via the secure communication tool of Facebook.

While Governor Witmer received messages of support and commiseration from leaders of both political parties, why are we not surprised by the fact that Trump responded by tweeting that she had been a terrible governor. Which in Trumpspeak means that she deserved whatever could have happened to her.

It makes the blood run cold to realize that there is a very real possibility that this very damaged human being could be President of the United States for another four years.

Clearly this country stands on the precipice of an existential disaster.

 October 10, 2020

7,669, 411-213,837 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day

Today we learned that months ago the CDC was prepared to issue national guidelines that would mandate that masks be worn by passengers on all public transportation throughout the United States. However, members of the Team Trump intervened and prevented that mandate from going out the rationale being that states and localities should determine the best protocols for their respective public transportation systems.

Considering that the VOVID-19 is a national threat it certainly would make sense for there to be a national policy, particularly with what is now considered the most effective means of preventing the spread of the virus. Serious public health officials are unanimous in stating that the wearing of masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing are the most effective means. This is not a strategy that could be different in Georgia as opposed to Wyoming as opposed to New York. Like the virus, science does not operate on a state by state basis.

This story provides further proof that Trump and his minions are literally and actually responsible for the death of many thousands of Americans who could have been saved but for the politicizing of the response to the pandemic. Rather than looking through a lifesaving lens, Trump has only his myopic reelection vision to the exclusion of logic, common sense or care for the well-being of human beings.

And just to keep things interesting Trump has organized another super spreader event at the White House, another campaign rally with 2,000 people who will probably have a dozen masks between them. Doing his best Juan Peron imitation Trump will speak from the Truman balcony (which probably has poor Harry spinning in his grave every time his name is mentioned in connection with the Clown and President).

What is also interesting is that there is no evidence that these rallies are helping Trump’s campaign or his reelection efforts. The people in attendance are already supporters and certainly are not further motivated by a rally where Trump will say the same things that he has been saying since 2005. Indeed, reports indicate that many people in Trump Nation just want to see their Fearless Leader in the flesh and typically leave long before Trump finishes his rantathon.

But the rallies feed his inner megalomaniac. The rallies address his need for reaffirmation that he is an Important Man instead of being a poor excuse for a human being.

In a very real way it is all very sad…. sad for the nation and actually, very sad for Trump.

October 11, 2020

7,755, 527-214,735 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day

The Hatch Act says, among other things, that federal facilities are not too be used for political events. The last time anyone checked, the White House is a federal facility, owned and maintained by the United States government.

Yet, yesterday Trump hosted a totally partisan “rally” at the White House attended by Blacks and Latinos for Trump. Of course the U.S. Justice Department should be looking into this total misuse of federal resources but, of course, the Justice Department is headed by William Barr, Trump’s toothless lap dog, so there is no chance that there will be any examination/investigation by the Justice Department. And in what is one more sign that Trump is debasing the core institutional values of the American governmental system, there really has not been an outpouring of outrage and criticism at the brazen act of lawlessness. In the Age of Trump lawlessness is the New Norm.

And in a show of truly blatant disrespect for a man who has spent a lifetime earning international respect, the Trump campaign aired a video featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci speaking about the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic in a positive way. The Trump campaign spliced that comment into a campaign ad making it seem that Fauci was praising Trump which was simply not the case.

Clearly the Trump campaign is the true reflection of its candidate using anybody and anything for his benefit regardless of truth, validity or relevance.

October 12, 2020

7,763, 371-214,776 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

For over a century this day had been known as Columbus Day. It was a day initially meant to honor Italian heritage at a time when Italian Americans were subject to especially harsh discrimination (including a lynching of Italians in New Orleans in the latter part of the 19th century).

This was a particularly benign holiday and an occasion for many to have a day off from work or school. But as the myth of American history transitioned to the truth of American history, it became clear that Christopher Columbus was the advance guard of European genocide, slavery and violent colonization and that Columbus himself enslaved, tortured, killed and robbed the indigenous people that he encountered during his first voyages to the so-called New World.

Today, many people are beginning to refer to this day as Indigenous People’s Day, using it as an occasion to remember that there were tens of millions of indigenous people in what is now North and South America before the appearance of Europeans. And in remembering their existence it becomes possible to also remembering the devastation of their civilizations as part of the Original Sin of America.

The day also begins with the confirmation hearings pertaining to the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. While it is clear that her confirmation is a fait accompli if there ever was one, it does offer the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee an opportunity to lay bare the naked determination of the Republicans to stack the Supreme Court with an iron clad 6-3 super conservative majority for at least the next decade if not more.

Judge Barrett’s opening statement contained the expected platitudes about being committed to fairness and impartiality. But she also stated that she believes that the Supreme Court should apply the law as written and not try to inject policy into judicial decisions. Of course, on the planet on which Judge Barrett lives, banning abortion, gutting the Voting Rights Act and eliminating the Affordable Care Act are not policy decisions, but merely the application of the law. The fact that important policies are affected are, Judge Coney would have us believe, is merely incidental.

And there is no truth to rumor that Judge Coney also has a bridge in Brooklyn that she would like to sell.

As the hearing goes forward it turns out that the future of the right wing of the right wing reimagined Supreme Court will encompass the obliteration or invalidation of accepted policies and principles including the right of a woman to choose, the right of consenting adults to use contraceptives, civil rights laws to protect Black Americans, the remaining protections of the already gutted Voting Rights Act, affirmative action in the workplace and in academia and the right of consenting adults of the same gender to love and marry.

And that is just a warmup.

The title of a Billie Holiday song comes to mind, “Detour Ahead”.

Detour indeed.

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7 thoughts on “Another Long Weekend in the Life of America

  1. Lee A. Daniels says:

    Trump said there would be “so much winning.” Some of us knew that was a lie. But even the most cynical of us could not clearly see the “so much” devastation of the country’s moral fabric and political capital, and the loosing of “so much” of the evil elements of the society. … Of course we have the crude, stupid white-racist militia goons trying to act out their murderous macho fantasies. Let’s hope that the FBI also has its hooks into the sophisticated assassination plots cooking in the right-wing space as well.

  2. Chinyere E. Egbe says:

    It is indeed dreadful that we may have to endure another four years of our current President. On his first victory, actual Nazis came out and made the German Hitler type salute, “Heil Victory” and actually spoke German as if Nazism requires the German language. If Trump wins again, given his strong support among determined reactionary Neo-Nazis, these violent extreme right-wing groups will come out boldly to roll back hard-won civil rights gains.

    I was utterly surprised that Mr. Trump won the last election. His party even renounced him an he won. He derogated groups, threatened that he might contest the election if he did not win. These should have been sufficient to cause anyone to lose an election in an apparently culturally advanced American electorate. I am not aware in the last 100 years that anyone threatened American democracy so brazenly. Mr. Trump has opened a dangerous door in American history. If Mr. Trump wins again, we are in trouble. His attitudes are dreadful.

    I was hoping that President Trump would learn some real lessons from his experience with COVID. He declared that he had learned some hard lessons that books and research would not teach anyone. He could not have been closer to the truth than that. However, it is clear to me, from his post-COVID behavior, that he learned pretty little useful experience because his arrogant side is declaring that there is nothing to fear from COVID. Mr. Trump survived COVID because he had medical attention that 95% of us would not have dreamed of. But it’s clear that he does not care about all the people that died in a country that he leads. Mr. Trump does not care about all the people that lost loved ones and providers such as fathers, husbands and other breadwinners and even just companions and cherished neighbors.

    God help us! I am only praying that, come November 3, 2020, we will end this nightmare at theballot box.

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