--H. L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920
And here we are. It took almost a century for Mencken’s prediction in all its horror to come to pass. It is not totally shocking that a political party that has spent almost the last half-century attacking government and disdaining truth, science and expertise and that tried to position a Sarah Palin one heartbeat away from the presidency would nominate a con man with no sense of decency. What is astonishing is that so many millions of Americans fall for his lies and cruelty.
People who scorn the sober advice of healthcare professionals in favor of someone who advocates ingesting bleach, taking risky medications, and eschewing masks and social distancing are playing a very dangerous game, one that could kill a number of them, their loved ones and others. Turning wise counsel into a culture war and political statement is reprehensible. Defiance of good judgment in the pursuit of so-called freedom is just plain foolish.
What is even more head-scratching is that these fervent Trump cultists don’t understand that their idol doesn’t care a whit about what happens to them. This is all about him and his re-election. If thousands of his supporters die as a consequence, it won’t affect him in the least. By giving him a pass, they are risking their own lives while endorsing the train wreck he is making of America and the planet.
When not pulling all-nighters tweeting insanities, inanities and incendiaries, Donald Trump is busy dismantling our leadership role in the world, decimating democratic values and the rule of law, making Americans’ lives miserable and costing us tens of thousands of our fellow citizens. All in the pursuit of petulance and re-election, not necessarily in that order.
But this big, top-of-the-fold stuff is not all that Trump is doing to destroy lives and livelihoods. For example, he was about to do even more damage, sub rosa because it contradicted his usual fake, chickenhawk concern for “our great military” that he fought so vigorously to avoid joining back in the day. It was only due to tremendous push-back from both blue and red state governors that he backed off. His latest war on decency took the form of trying to end the deployment of our National Guard currently on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis--one day before they become eligible for federal retirement and education benefits. After 90 days of active duty, Guardsmen fighting the pandemic would have their service count toward the benefits they deserve. But Trump wanted to end their deployment at 89 days. This is yet another example of the heartless cruelty at the center of his warped, soulless governing philosophy.
A president’s NUMBER ONE job is to keep Americans safe. Screwing the National Guard is just a small indicator of his disinterest in and inability to do that. Trump’s mammoth failure goes light years beyond that of any prior president. His botching of the job is historic and catastrophic and is a firable offense. November cannot come fast enough.
May 29, 2020