After all this drama, after these days when it is almost impossible to ignore our federal government and let it get on with the task of governing, will regular order prove too tame for many Americans? About one-third of the nation experiences thrills each and every day as their dumpy “savior” ‘sticks it to the libs’ and urges his troops to orgies of laissez faire rule over the states – except when he doesn’t and threatens to cut off a recalcitrant state’s funding. The economy trumps everything, pandemics be damned, floods-earthquakes-tornadoes-hurricanes be damned, just go to work, cough it up for business and keep that stock market climbing. Don’t be wimps like your President who is protected by layers and layers of security. Take your lumps and do your job for American prosperity. Make American First even if it kills you. Won’t you be so proud (as you look back on the living from the afterlife – which will be glorious, we are assured by the faithful)?
The remaining two-thirds of us look on in horror each day as instead of expanding social security the administration continues to assault it. Instead of health care there is a case before the Supreme Court to be decided in July which could end the ACA (Obamacare) forever. Instead of supplying PPE’s our leaders hemmed and hawed and tried to figure out how to make a profit. Rather than prop consumers up so that they would not have to fight a virus and poverty at the same time, this government stuck to its view that money given to those on the bottom of the economy is wasted. ‘What those people need is to learn how to conquer adversity and win, like we did’ (is there a punctuation mark for incredulity). We the people, the wicked libs and our new allies among Progressives, Independents, moderate Conservatives, and even some Libertarians, watch our President dismantle all our agencies, place his toadies in charge of everything, and appoint his big donors to act as Inspectors General to oversee, I mean, rubber stamp, any old crooked thing he gets up to. And he does not hide the crooked things he does, at least not all of them. He likes to telegraph misdeeds and call that transparency. We are not even to be allowed to keep the United States Post Office? Why not, because someone has figured out a way to rip it off and stop paying good salaries to middle class Americans, and end those “plush” pensions.? Nor are we allowed to vote-by-mail. What happened to that good old laissez faire federal governance?
One thing government has not been is calm, or orderly, or businesslike. We get multiple thrills a day which either actually thrill you or chill you depending on your politics. So if we get Joe Biden and sanity and reason and good government will we be bored? Can we get Democrats elected without some fireworks and razzle-dazzle? We could definitely use a bit of help on the entertainment front. I love that we are earnest and thoughtful and that we are practically focused on solving problems, but it could seem a bit ho-hum given the steady diet of crass theater and bad ideas, cover-ups and the fomenting of revolts against states. The Supreme Court decided that it still is not time to let Congress (meaning Democrats) see the unredacted Mueller Report that we all paid for. How does sanity compete with this? Those who are campaigning might want to put some creative energy into generating culturally popular ways to entertain the masses if you want to get elected. There is a lot of great talent on the side of the Democrats. You know what happens if we don’t win in 2020. Democracy/our republic dies a slow and painful death. This is the last tool we have in our toolbox except for time, possibly decades of time.
EyyyyieE. Watching Donald Trump handle the times of the novel coronavirus has never been easy. Maybe the virus would have gotten away from him even if he did heed the wisdom of past virus protocols, but we will never know because we are all operating on “the wisdom of Trump’s gut” which was created in 1950 and is connected to a brain that was created in the Reagan era in a cauldron of sycophancy and toadyism and Daddy’s largesse. So his gut tells him what is best and then his brain says, “you’re a genius,” and then our brains say “we are screwed.”
When Ebola appeared on the global scene the US health apparatus, the CDC and local public health agencies immediately isolated people and tracked who they had been in contact with. These are the tools we eventually came to use for slowing this virus, self-quarantine and contact tracing. To that we have added, much later, social distancing and masks. Donald Trump fought against every one of these policies. Perhaps he thought he could halt the virus and save the economy by sheer force of will. He fought against it all because doing these things meant admitting the virus was real and that people would die on his watch. Two months were lost with only some isolation – those cruise-ship 14-day quarantines. There was very little contract tracing or none, and then once the virus reached the community spread stage it basically got so big that contact tracing was impossible. But that was true only on the West Coast and in NYC. Other communities could have used these tools, but the President of the United States kept lying to them.
The President made an enormous number of deaths sound like nothing. He kept excusing himself from any blame. He kept flailing around to place blame anywhere but on him. However, he does bear some blame for the dimensions of this disaster, if not the cause of it. He will not – he refused – to consult the wisdom of past administrations, in fact he despises Obama so much that he erases him piece by piece, legislation by legislation, executive action by executive action. Had Trump not folded the Pandemic agency into the military and had he allowed the CDC to act with their usual strength Trump may well have been able to go out in public in the Rose Garden each day and give us good news. He is a vengeful man who could not stand to walk in the footsteps of Obama, even if they were footsteps many Presidents helped make, a well-trodden path.
Instead we got his gut, his bile-filled gut that refused to help blue states get the medical supplies they needed. He told the states they would have to fend for themselves. He even sold essential PPE’s to other countries while the states were scrambling. Why? It’s the crooked businessman who lives in the head. Every day is just about protecting himself from imagined attacks by counterpunching wildly at whoever or whatever. And about wheeling and dealing. Eventually he was persuaded to use his emergency powers to order factories to switch over to produce the medical equipment the states needed but it was not done in a spirit of national unity and it made us feel even more like a divided nation.
He was far more concerned about the stock market and he only agreed to an economic pause to keep the stock market from bottoming out. He agreed to bail out the economy but he still wanted to only send money up the chain. He and his Republican cohorts have a deep disdain for people down the economic chain. In order to keep control over where the stimulus went he fired the IG who was supposed to have oversight and, of course, the neediest companies went without while the largest corporations took in goo-gobs of bucks. Now the Democrats would like to do another stimulus that would help those on the bottom, the ones who can’t put food on their tables, who are losing their small businesses. But the Republicans and Trump do not understand Capitalism. They do not understand that without small business and consumers those at the top will eventually starve. They still see the middle class and the poor as drags on the American economy, as the Takers. And they say, “you won’t take anymore from big taxpayers (us).”
Trump wants the country to reopen. He wants it so badly that he speaks out of both sides of his face. One side says that we should heed the public health wisdom, and the other side allows his ersatz militia to threaten states that won’t reopen. It is clear from the data that the disease has not struck equally everywhere. It is a matter of population density, which was already becoming a big divider in America. Rural states resent metropolitan centers and they are tired of having city folks call the shots. So they don’t need to follow the same health guidelines as those idiots who live in cities. They agree with Trump’s gut. As long as you stay out of a meat plant, or an nursing home, or a prison and stay away from minority neighborhoods you can do whatever you like. It is, after all, every state for itself. We want our NASCAR, our concerts, our summer fun and we will take it at gunpoint.
Trump has some other concerns these days. His tax case is before the Supreme Court. He cannot allow his lawyers to handle his defense without some personal oversight and behind-the-scenes manipulations. He pulls out of his bilious gut the magic words, “Obamagate,” ohhh it’s bad but I can’t tell you the details right now. It seems to go back to the Steele documents. Somehow the Dems exchanged money for this ‘oppo’ research and Trump insists that this document did, what, lost him the election – no it didn’t. Trump contends that the Steele documents started the whole Russia investigation. The Steele documents were not all vetted and they were not such a stable base for the Russia investigation, but they were not the only evidence either. Trump uses the rocky base of the Steele documents to argue that the entire investigation was flawed. It’s a distraction. Hear Russia, say Steele. Perhaps Trump has twisted the facts to blame the Dems for the hacking of the DNC although Trump got the info dump via Wikileaks. Or perhaps Dems feel the Russia investigation dates to when Trump (as a joke – a bad joke perhaps) asked Russia to find Hillary’s 30k emails. So when he begins to erase the Mueller Report last week, and the DOJ releases Michael Flynn, drops all charges, how does this lead to the cry of Obamagate? Just to distract? There is also the optic that “I lose I wreak vengeance; I win I wreak vengeance. It will take an awful lot of distraction to get us to overlook this travesty of justice. Paul Manafort is also out of jail because of the virus.
Today I see an article in the NYT’s which states that Jared Kushner is looking into changing the date of the 2020 election and alarm bells go off all over the place. Kushner says that it is almost impossible to do because the Constitution speaks to this directly. But I say that the Constitution has been turned into face masks to provide PPE’s to essential workers and what is left of it is in such tatters that it will not stop Trump from doing whatever he pleases. Given four more years our founding documents will be nothing but memories treasured by a few over-the-hill generations of Americans.
So the President does not want an actual account of how many Americans have or had the virus. He does not care to count the actual deaths that can be attributed to the virus. Tests give data and data is the enemy of a man who lives only by his gut and his twisted brain and his vengeful spirit. But now the virus has entered the President’s castle and, because he has such superior genes, he has no expectation of actually contracting the novel coronavirus, but he is angry, angrier than he has ever been. And he is lashing out in every direction. His cluster of allies in Washington is getting ever smaller and half of them are quarantining themselves and he just can’t sign that new stimulus bill that the libtards want him to sign, and someone will pay. Guess who?
Here are our heroes – those who had to play an active role in our national coronavirus emergency. These pictures are imprinted in our brains – the ICU videos with all the signs of the catastrophic struggles to save lives – the rows of beds, the crowd of medical staff around one patient, the worried expressions in their eyes (which are all we can see of their faces) the packages of opened medical devices scattered across the patient, the coded conversations that determine the next steps to stabilize just this one person – a single Latinate word, a lifted eyebrow, a request that sends one of the team off in search of a new medicine, or a piece of equipment. The drama of the moment is gripping even to us, the spectators. It is a drama that has been repeated thousands of times in the past month and a half. It is a drama that continues, although, as the cases decrease, the intensity diminishes.
There are the canyons of our biggest cities echoing with the applause of those of us who must stay home – whose only heroic action is inaction. There are the recovered, applauded by those who labored to save them.
There are the demonstrators. They have had enough of sickness. They feel that they are killing their prosperity out of respect for people who don’t deserve the gesture; the old, the sick, the immigrant, darker-skinned Americans. After all, not all Americans are at equal risk. As the numbers reveal what we knew all along, that COVID19 was killing the old and the less wealthy masses. Youth, and American youth lasts a long time, demands a return to work. The demonstrators are overwhelmingly white. Whiteness lasts a lifetime. These demonstrators who demand to work are not the minimum wage workers who have had to keep putting themselves at risk in jobs considered essential, without the personal protection of masks and gloves or even social distancing (which is free). They labor at low wage jobs in grocery stores, pharmacies, warehouses, trucking firms, fast food restaurants, meat processing plants, burying the dead. They don’t choose to work; they are required to work.
These demonstrators can’t be those workers – they would have to be at work. Some of these demonstrators seem older – perhaps they just want to party and travel, get their massages, their facials, their hairdos. Some look like they may own a small business. Perhaps they would not be demonstrating if the government aid had been more forthcoming.
But it is the tattooed, bearded, muscle-shirted guys with stony, intimidating faces, and long guns that contrast so jarringly with those whose heroic actions have allowed our nation to control and suppress this killer disease. It is, this time, Americans who do not resist, who do not demonstrate, who stay home and keep their distance, who give up their pleasures for the greater good; these are the Americans who have kept America from turning into a charnel house.
As an American who watches America from the cheap seats and tries to decide what keeps American democracy alive and what forces seem bent on destroying our republic, I have to come down on the side of the heroes, the everyday heroes. What do those with long guns expect America to do – knuckle under to a posse of citizens dressed up like outlaws, purposely using intimidation to get their way, placing America between a rock and a hard place – if the virus don’t get you the bullets will. They can’t think to beat a virus with a gun, so it is the government that must bow down to them. Then we won’t have a government; we’ll have anarchy with mob rule.
And, because we don’t want a confrontation, it looks from where I sit, as if intimidation is working, although these scary folks chose a moment when the country was almost ready to reopen anyway. Long gun-vigilante-style is working better than the more peaceful demonstrations of other disobedient unarmed citizens. In these days when we have been trying to avoid becoming an authoritarian nation, have been trying to avoid becoming a nation split in two and headed for a second civil war – I am just not sure how people keep these two Americas in mind and still trust that America is one nation, with a singular and unified vision. Why do some Americans feel the need to threaten other Americans with long guns and why does the President of our nation encourage their intimidations? Will they become Trump’s army in 2020? Will the South rise again? And if it does God help our heroes, and all of us. I did not think our Grand Experiment would come to this and I still think it can be saved. Our founders said, “we give you a republic, if you can keep it.” I want to keep it. How about you?
This is a series of book, all entitled Loving America to Death, one for 2010-2011 and then one of each of the other years in the decade. 2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019
As an example I use the book for the year 2017.
2017 begins with the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45 th President of the United States of America and a mad roller coaster ride begins as Trump and the GOP rush to erase at least 50 years of American history and 240+ years of American law and tradition. The attacks on “mainstream media” engage our “Big Brother” fears as we are told to believe that the only truth emanates from 45 and right-wing media. Free speech is up for grabs but the nations gun clearly are not. We begin the era of Trump’s America First agenda with withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and end with a President who denies help to Hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.
After observing and writing about this turbulent decade in our politics I am publishing the essays that I posted to my online blog at The Armchair Observer. Beginning with the Obama years, witnessing the strange behavior of the Republican Party as exhibited in one astonishingly obstreperous stance and act after another. They seemed determined to be the most rabid patriots ever to dismantle the laws and traditions of America and our republic. When they were Trumped in 2016 attacks on our democracy increased exponentially. We the people have been divided and coopted to help increase wealth inequality in America, to vandalize the planet in the name of fossil fuels and old school manufacturing, to sign on to isolation from our best allies, to xenophobia, racism and white supremacy, to feed an old man’s ego and to help destroy our democracy. In this series you can refresh your memory about some of the oldies but goodies.
Nancy Brisson, that’s me, but as an author I use N. L. Brisson. For the past decade I have been watching news, reading newspapers and books, with a focus on politics and writing on first one website, The Brissioni Blog at Blogspot, and then at Word Press on a site entitled The Armchair Observer. Retirement gave me an opportunity to tune into politics at a very turbulent time, a time when people like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin and others seemed to delight in whipping some Middle-class Americans into a frenzy that led to a disavowal of compassion for those less fortunate than themselves. Factories sat empty and later homes sat empty as the Great Recession hit America and we forgot that selfishness never profits anyone; it only makes life meaner and divides a nation that prides itself on being united.
My family was a poor family and a big family. With a lot of help I was able to go to college. I earned my BA degree at SUNY Potsdam and eventually became an Assistant Professor at an EOC in SUNY. I earned an MEd at the University of Arizona at Tucson on a sabbatical leave. It was only after I retired that I became focused on what was happening in our beloved nation, the United States of America. I sit in the cheap seats, not always the best close-up view, but an excellent overview position. What I observed is the subject of my series of books Loving America to Death. If we want to preserve the America values we treasure we all need to think about what we believe to be true about societies and governments. My articles also appear at Tremr.com. I have also read and reviewed many books and my reviews are on Goodreads.com.