To say we are living in strange times would be a gross understatement. The world is experiencing the worst pandemic it’s seen since the past 100 years, with the United States leading the way in deaths and infections. Our current political landscape is a threat to democracy, national security, and actual lives. President Donald Trump’s glaring incompetency assisted by a feckless Republican-led Congress has forced a number of lifelong Republican voters to surprisingly align themselves with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Organizations such as The Lincoln Project and Republican Voters Against Trump are consistently producing some of the most needling and effective campaign ads ever seen when it comes to bringing awareness to viewers and voters.
One of the most appalling Trump atrocities is his handling (or mishandling) of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. Trump spent nearly a month calling the virus a hoax, and dragged his feet in helping hospitals across the country while blaming the former administration for not acting on a virus that did not exist when Obama was in office. While GOP silence is indeed deafening, the party’s denial of and attacks on medical science are equally disgraceful. When Republican congressmen (the women seem even more muzzled) dare to speak, their voices usually echo Trump’s talking points. This pure lack of leadership will likely cost most who are running for re-election their seats, even if they try changing their message just prior to November. The die has already been cast and people have cast-iron memories.
As the nation’s COVID-19 infection and death rates grow, Trump has resorted to a one-man show of daily briefings with no medical expert in sight. Instead, he uses the platform to tout conspiracy theories, push provable lies, whine, and completely bungle messaging that should inform and guide the citizens he was elected to govern.
Meanwhile, Trump congressional loyalists shuck off their duties to their constituents in order to remain in a supine position. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis blamed his home state’s COVID-19 spike on the Hispanic population not wearing masks or social distancing. Never mind Republicans who mocked the idea of wearing face coverings and ridiculed staffers for doing so while strutting around the Capitol. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Ohio House Rep. Jim Jordan faithfully launch partisan attacks against infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci at every opportunity availed to them.
Do they realize this is an election year? Americans do not live in a faux universe or within the confines of a reality television series. Cozying up to a president because they relish having or being so close to power, will not do. In the real world, Americans are sick and dying. They are struggling with recovery and burying their dead. Americans are facing evictions, with an estimated 12 million possibly looking at homelessness by the end of September. Americans, by the millions, have filed for unemployment. They can’t pay their electric bill or car note, or for their prescriptions. Americans are losing health insurance when they need it most, in the midst of a pandemic. Americans are worried about how they will continue to feed their families while sitting in mile-long traffic for food bank rations. So come this November, come heaven or high water, via mail-in ballot or in-person voting, Americans marred by such sufferings—framed by the cavalier attitudes of politicians void of leadership—will remember those who took their livelihoods for granted. Americans will remind Donald Trump and his GOP soldiers that, collectively, they also wield great power.