This has got to be the definition of surreal. Do we have enough darkness in the recesses of our brains to imagine this? Or could it all really be real?
Here is the president of our nation in the midst of one of the scariest moments in our history. First, he denies it is a threat. Then he downplays it (“15 cases and it will be down to zero by the end of the week”). Then he calls it a “hoax” to get him out of office. Then he says his leadership is dealing with the crisis better than any country in the world. Then he says the number of people dying does not justify the tanking of the economy. Then he says it will be over by Easter (that’s tomorrow, folks; yesterday was the deadliest yet, with more than 2,000 more Americans gone).
Now he’s publicly hinting that he is likely to encourage us to come back out of the safety of our homes and start shopping again.
Contrast that with the remarkable effort by us regular folks to keep a safe distance, stay in our bunkers and ride out this public health crisis. (OK, most of us, excepting the reactionaries in a handful of deep red states.)
Contrast it even further with the heroism of the people who are the frontline caregivers across this scared nation. They are outmatched by this tiny microbe in every way: they have too little personal protective equipment, too few of the machines they need to help people breathe, too little opportunity to clean, too few beds. They are tired. They are in danger. And they don’t even know the people they are risking their lives to save.
And they do it day after day after day. Meanwhile, the president preens on national television.
What is the message he is sending those heroes by telling us it’s OK to come out of our bunkers and head for the stores?
Those care-givers are selfless. He is self-centered.
They are showing compassion. He knows no empathy.
They are at risk. He hopes he won’t be in November.
They know we are capable of getting it right. He is making sure we don’t.
So we applaud each and every one of the people who are saving our lives.
But our president lies to us. He shows no remorse. He thinks it’s all about him.
And, folks, as November nears, I’ve come to the recognition that he’s right about one thing: it is about him.