The Plague-Ground – Will how you voted determine if you live or die?

I’ve not written about Donald Trump because bashing my head against the wall is not one of my top self-care activities. Besides, reading about Donald Trump is crazy-making enough, in the way a bad drug or an old flame can be.

But ages ago (i.e. in mid-March), a preposterous, impossible idea broke into my brain and simply wouldn’t leave. Worse still, the evidence for its reality is growing every dread-filled day.

It’s the idea that Donald Trump will help Republican voters live and let Democratic voters die.

Until this week, I dismissed this as the ravings of a left-wing paranoid lunatic.

Me.

But what we all know about America’s 45th President is that there is no bottom to his moral plunder, no point where we can say “He would never do this” because he then reliably does.

So it’s not hard to turn his words and actions this past week into a tidy little theory of what’s going to happen next for America and by implication, us.

  • Of America’s 50 state governors, only eight of them have not issued state-wide directives telling their residents to stay home. All of them are Republican.
  • Trump has deliberately with-held masks and ventilators from New York State whose Democratic governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, has been screaming for both. New York City alone,  which is so wildly Democratic that Trump has forsaken it as his home-town, reports 67,551 active cases of COVID-19 as of this morning and 3,048 deaths. It’s important to grasp the scale of the tragedy there.Here, by which I mean all of Canada, whose population of 38 million is more than four times that of New York City, has 15,940 active cases and 281 deaths.
  • Last week, Trump also took on Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer who complained that “the federal government did not take this seriously early enough” and added: “To hear the leader of the federal government tells us to work around the federal government because it’s too slow is kind of mind-boggling.”He then unleashed a Twitter attack calling her ‘Half Whitmer’, saying she’s in over her ‘ahead’,  and ordering Vice President Mike Pence not to talk to her. Then again, she is a woman.

Last week, it became clear that states which were nice to Trump would get help, and states that weren’t, won’t. While it seems preposterous to say this even under the cover of paranoid fantasy, we may not be far from when individual Americans who support Trump will get help and those who don’t, won’t. Show up at a hospital with your Republican membership card and…go to the front of the line?

Remember what Mr. Trump replied when asked if he could assure New Yorkers that they’ll have enough ventilators?

”No.”

“They should’ve had more ventilators,” Trump said. “They were totally under-serviced. We are trying to do — we are doing our best for New York. You know, we have, ah, we have states, we have a lot of states — we have territories too — but we have a lot of states that have to be taken care of. Some much more so than others.”

The difference here is that the Democratic Governors and their states have realized they’re on their own and that they cannot rely on Washington for anything except a daily jolt of rage.  But when it comes to individual citizens, well, it reminds me of the people of New Orleans who were trapped in Hurricane Katrina in 2005. They waited patiently for help from Washington. Then it dawned on them that help wasn’t coming, the cavalry would never arrive. Then they got to work saving themselves.

But Trump, always a believer in the Velvet Rope economy, may be turning that malign neglect on its head as well, doubling down (a verb rarely used before he became President) on helping his political friends and punishing his political foes, this time with what could be a death sentence.

For the vast majority of us readers who are Canadians and who can practice psychic distancing from America’s tragedy, this may all seem safely ‘down under’.

But when an American President can order a US company to divert its production of COVID-19 respirators destined for Canada to the US, well, I’d hate to think what would happen if a Canadian company comes up with a vaccine that could save us all. He did that with a Germany company last month, trying to buy them under cover of darkness. But Germany is far away. Canada is just a quick raid across the border.

I hope this never happens. It’s upsetting to even think it could. Even writing about Donald Trump feels infectious these days.

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15 replies
  1. Avatar
    John (JC) Scott says:

    I said to my partner this weekend when thinking that a US state governor had to tell a city to turn on water that had been shut-off for nonpayment, and only last week, weeks into the pandemic, so that people could wash their hands, that Covid-19 will kill a far higher percentage of poor people than wealthy in America and globally, and in those terms I was already thinking along the lines of this Trump response. As long as poor are more at risk, Democrats are more at risk, people in other countries are at risk, then I see America staying the course they have chosen, it will be real test of America to see how they respond.

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Louise Levitt says:

    I am having trouble swallowing: not the message here, just in the reading of it. What a world! What a world! If only we could throw a bucket of water at President Trump.
    Many of us have friends and family in New York: city and state. I despair.

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Madeline Thompson says:

    You can’t avoid Trump, and I’ve tried to, religiously. What shocks to the core
    is the vast amount of power he has. Or rather – the President of the United States
    has. Why bother with the constantly quarreling House and Senate, neither capable
    of doing anything of note because the President can always shut them down. When
    I was in high school taking modern history, which included the history of the US and
    especially, their ‘checks and balances’ government setup, I can’t remember the
    President having the power of a dictator. Now those history lessons were long ago
    and between then and now, it appears to have all changed. The President is the
    the one with power, the only one, and the Senate and House are the facsimiles of
    democracy, given they are elected. President is elected too, but that can always
    be futzed, as exemplified in the handy outcome of the George W. Bush win over
    Al Gore, embracing the precipitous times known as 9-11. That Trump can play
    favourites with a deadly pandemic seems to be business as usual within this clearly
    established political hierarchy.

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    J Bray says:

    This is horrifying – and echoes thoughts I have not dared to acknowledge, let alone speak or share. It may soon enough be Canada deploying soldiers to the borders

    Reply
  5. Avatar
    Mike says:

    nteresting post thankyou but hardly paranoid nor controversial…he has found an efficient way to eliminate Dems by withholding resources…which also serves to obscure the dearth of resources
    The implications of impact of partisan politics are usually life and death, whether to do with medical insce or abortion policy, guns etc Now its a covid civil war and, hope we are not subsumed

    Reply
  6. Avatar
    Barbara Mowat says:

    Well stated! Trump should read the comments from the CEO of Marriott or listen to Andrew Cuomo. But of course we all know that TRUMP doesn’t read or listen to anyone. What a shame! Good on NFL Premier for speaking up.

    Reply
  7. Avatar
    Davelle Morrison says:

    Thank you again Bob for your words. You have written a scary truth about those who live in the US right now. We can only be grateful as Canadians that we can watch this real life horror movie occur from the sidelines. This pandemic will make Canada stronger. Many lives will be lost as a result of Trump & the Republican party’s decisions to lead their country to slaughter. We will get through this. I’m afraid that many Americans will not and the divide between the rich and the poor will grow larger.

    Reply
  8. Avatar
    stan benda says:

    I too once nonchalantly dismissed these points as rapid left-wing nostrums

    The Republicans are not only harming democratic voters they are withholding aid from poverty-stricken or low-income groups (read blacks and Latinos) They are mendacious: power over party, party over country

    Reply
  9. Avatar
    Cornelia says:

    It would not surprise me one iota if your paranoid thought is exactly right. There is no bottom to this man’s immorality.
    I can only hope that some leader will emerge capable of taking him down. I don’t see one among the current candidates. Sigh.

    Reply
  10. Avatar
    Michael Scott says:

    I’ve been thinking alone the same lines about Trump’s unspeakable behaviour and how the C-19 crisis will impact their November elections. Will there be elections? What if, miracle of miracles, polls show Trump is vulnerable? What might he try to do? Thankfully, only Congress, not Trump, can change the date….hope I have that right ! Democrats might have a chance if they can swing some of the Rust Belt states. Voter turnout – low for the Democrats in 2016 – will be crucial. But how do you do that, if online voting becomes the only way to vote? Advantage Republicans.
    About Trump’s behavior towards us. On a lighter note, if I may, why don’t we declare war on the US? After all we won the last time we did this. We even burned down their White House ! Cold comfort, I know.

    Reply
  11. Avatar
    Robin says:

    Scary, indeed, but Trump letting the GOP states ‘play’ with the pandemic may well prove to be his undoing. As bodybags stack up and ‘friendly’ state economies succumb It will be tragically fascinating to watch the wartime President surrender. And, if this world’s at all fair, get booted out of office in November.

    Reply
  12. Avatar
    Yeux Claire says:

    The Senate can impeach the President. Unfortunately, Mitch McConnell is the majority leader in the Senate and I posit that he has been the greatest affront to democracy in the USA since 2008. And by his intransigence, he is Trump’s enabler. What a sorry state.

    Reply
  13. Avatar
    John R McIsaac says:

    When will Trump’s detractors realize that the more he is demonized by them,the stronger and larger becomes his fan base. Doesn’t anyone up here watch FoxNews?

    Reply

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