As coronavirus cases in Texas take a sharp turn for the worse, it is gratifying to see our governor finally make an abrupt change of course, recognize that the dramatic increase in cases is due to more than just “bar settings” and issue a statewide mask order.
“Better late than never” applies more than ever here.
It is also fortunate that the Governor does not share his Lieutenant Governor’s opinion of the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci: “[Dr. Fauci] doesn’t know what he is talking about,” Patrick claims.
Perhaps now, “we seniors” will not have to follow Lt. Gov. Patrick’s suggested noble example of sacrificing one’s life to “keep the economy humming.”
Listening to the experts and following common sense rules and guidelines will probably deliver better results in the Great State of Texas than seniors’ sacrifices.
Sadly, the same cannot be said of other states suffering similar spikes in coronavirus cases and of the Trump administration.
As the pandemic intensifies nationwide claiming more than 50,000 infected victims each and every day and accruing more than 129,000 deaths, the national strategy to combat the virus has been absent at best, full of mixed and confusing messages, harmful at worst.
The so-called “wartime president” who declared total war on the “invisible enemy” (or Kung Flu,” or the “Wuhan Virus,” or the “Chinese virus” — even on the “Democratic hoax”) is now conspicuously AWOL after invoking rousing rhetoric such as:
To this day, nobody has ever seen like it, what they were able to do during World War II…Now it’s our time. We must sacrifice together, because we are all in this together, and we will come through together. It’s the invisible enemy. That’s always the toughest enemy, the invisible enemy.
Almost four months after this “call to arms,” as the nation needs leadership more than ever, Trump — in his rare appearances to address the crisis – continues to duck responsibility, continues to ignore the sick and the dying, continues to mislead Americans and continues to shift the blame — pass the buck — to governors and their states and communities.
However, his lies and exaggerations such as “It’s going to disappear,” “We have tremendous control of [it],” “We are doing a great job,” “It will soon go away,” “It will sort of just disappear,” “WE WILL WIN THIS WAR” (he tweeted, all-caps) “We’re going to have a great victory,” etc. have continued, albeit with less conviction.
During our Fourth of July weekend, during his “American carnage message” at Mount Rushmore and the White House, Trump not only endangered thousands of his supporters by not requiring masks or social distancing, but for the most part “lionized himself,” stoked fear and division, whined and incited those gathered about concrete statutes and monuments rather than addressing the health and welfare of flesh-and-blood Americans living and suffering in the time of coronavirus and fighting many other social ills and injustices.
When he did briefly mention the pandemic — after the U.S. reported a third straight day with more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases –Trump once again dangerously misled Americans by claiming without a scintilla of evidence that by testing almost 40 million people “we show cases — 99% of which are totally harmless.”
Despite all the past bravado of fighting the “invisible enemy” until victory is achieved, this “wartime president” is showing battle fatigue and fading courage.
Not only does he hardly address the “invisible enemy” aggressively and honestly, but there are ominous signs that his administration may be throwing in the towel, raising the white flag.
NBC News reports a new white flag strategy, “Learn to live with it.” In other words, learn to live with the enemy, accept him, accommodate him.
Eager to move forward and reopen the economy amid a recession and a looming presidential election, the White House is now pushing acceptance.
“The virus is with us, but we need to live with it,” is how one official said the administration plans to message on the pandemic.
With this “strategy,” the enemy is certain to be with us for a long, long time, claiming thousands, perhaps millions, more victims. All to help reelect the man who lost every battle against this enemy and now possibly the war.
Trump is obsessed with his legacy, among other things. Perhaps this virus could be called “Trump’s Virus,” as Paul Krugman suggests here. Less racist than the Kung Flu and more to the point.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.