The First Hundred Days; or, Me? Who me? Nope. Not I.
One hundred days since the first recorded coronavirus diagnosis in the U.S., and counting.
One million documented cases of coronavirus infection in the U.S., and counting.
One Chairman of the U.S. Coronavirus Task Force visited the Mayo Clinic yesterday — and refused to wear a mask, and, unfortunately, counting.
Annie Karni writes, “American Bridge, a progressive group, called for Mr. Pence to be removed from the coronavirus task force, which he oversees. ‘He just didn’t care enough about the health and safety of doctors, nurses, and patients to follow their guidance,’ said Kyle Morse, a spokesman for the group. ‘Pence, like Donald Trump, thinks the rules don’t apply to him.’”
As my husband said this morning, “That picture turned my stomach.”
Here is another example from this morning’s New York Times. “Businesses Seek Sweeping Shield From Pandemic Liability Before They Reopen” goes the title, claiming, “ … lobbyists say retailers, manufacturers, eateries and other businesses will struggle to start back up if lawmakers do not place temporary limits on legal liability in areas including worker privacy, employment discrimination and product manufacturing.
“The biggest push, business groups say, is to give companies enhanced protection against lawsuits by customers or employees who contract the virus and accuse the business of being the source of the infection.”
Is the boss social-distancing? Is the boss wearing a mask? Is the boss washing her hands?
Because the Vice Boss isn’t doing any of these things. Or, at least not the first two. With hand hygiene, he might be compliant.
What the Vice President is doing to prevent coronavirus is testing, or, getting tested regularly. Just as we all should be doing in order to continue to flatten the curve.
“ʻAs vice president of the United States, I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus,’ he said.”
In days past, I have written that the Trump machine is based on perceived white male grievance. What utterly appalls me is that the aggrieved white males who support it refuse to see what’s in front of their eyes.
Trump and Pence aren’t for you — they’re against women, minorities, and anyone, really, who isn’t Trump & Family or Pence & Family. They hold out their MAGA merch at a safe distance with an implicit promise to include those who wear their hats and tees.
Can those merch models not see that, when push comes to shove, as it inevitably will, their rallies and automatic weapon-toting protests aside, the Trump-Pences [thank you, Armistead Maupin] will not choose to care for you? The only care they carry is for themselves — remember? Optics, not outcomes, and Winning at All Costs.
Jennifer Schuessler writes, “Will a Pandemic Shatter the Perception of American Exceptionalism? Politicians extol it. Scholars debate it. The past decade has battered it. Will the coronavirus crisis finish off this country’s golden view of itself?”
Not if the Idjit-in-Chief and his Idjit-Sidekick have anything to say about it. And, regardless of the actual, factual outcomes of the Trump Pandemic, it certainly won’t change their golden views of themselves.
Gail Collins’ and Bret Stephens’ usual trenchant conversation this week said it all.
“Gail: “Let them drink bleach. Bret: A century ago, H.L. Mencken wrote a famous column for The Baltimore Sun that concluded with the prophetic words, ‘On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.’ I think it’s safe to say the prophecy has been fulfilled.”
Ms. Schuessler continues, “Reactions to the current crisis vary widely, and are strongly inflected by partisan, generational and other divides. But interviews with more than three dozen historians, writers and Americans from all walks of life expressed a struggle to reconcile the crisis with the nation’s self-image.”
“Since the crisis began, the Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen has been having regular video gatherings with friends in Moscow “ʻIt’s just another aspect of us realizing we are just as vulnerable as people in other countries — and in some ways a lot more — to a thing that doesn’t recognize national borders,’ she said.”
Despite the American penchant for defining our own story in terms of the hero’s epic quest, our status in the world is drastically different from that of a hero of any stripe. No matter how we frame what’s happened with The Trump Pandemic.
Army veteran from Queens “Mathew McGill, 35, who served in Iraq, said he thought the chaotic American government response to the coronavirus crisis would further damage the country’s standing. ‘Even though we’re first in a lot of things, we’re first in virus patients because we didn’t listen,’ he said. ‘I think the world is going to look at us differently.’”
I think the world has been looking at us differently for a long, long time. Ever since Ronald Reagan started telling us that big government was the problem which was forty years ago. Forty, that magic number, yet again.
This morning’s Coronavirus Live Updates stated, “But as the country tries to slowly move out of a lockdown and find a way to restore some form of public life, with no vaccine or therapy yet available, 100 days after its presence was first discovered in the U.S., the virus is still setting the course.”
Well of course the virus is still setting the course. We’re barely following the path of this pathogen yet.
“Infectious disease, and the kind of collective response required to combat it, can run up hard against the American myth of rugged individualism. It’s also a subject that has tended to get little attention in our historical narratives.”
Was it rugged individualism that made the Vice President so blatantly disregard the opportunity to be a good example? Even if only to their base?
I don’t think so. I think it was hubris — the pride that wounds, the pride that is the linchpin of all Greek Drama, the pride that must be dismantled in order for the hero to complete his mission.
“The current crisis has brought out a surge in community-based mutual aid efforts, and a number of those interviewed expressed faith that Americans would take care of each other. ‘Here, we’ve always been proud to be Americans,’ Martha Clark, 76, a retired city employee in St. Joseph, Mo., who now runs a farmers’ market there. ‘There are signs on the school fences that talk about, you know, we have heart and we’re proud to be working together, we’re in it together, all of this.’ But others see the crisis as the outgrowth of an exploitative system that leaves everyone fending for themselves.
So which is it? Sorry to have to answer this way, but yes, Virginia, it’s both. And I think I know why.
“Inayiah McKay, 22, a direct support professional in Queens who works with older patients, said she initially thought the virus would be handled quickly, as swine flu had been. But the panic shopping, shortages of supplies and the uncoordinated political response, she said, only confirmed her belief that American capitalism is a sham. ‘I’ve never actually had faith in this country,’ she said.”
There it is. In black and white. Someone said it. Faith in this country.
It’s our faith that’s been so storm-tossed, so battered, so spit upon by the cynicism that is behind winning at all costs, behind the exceptionalism of Me? Who me? Nope. Not I. Behind the either/or, us/them construct that even allows a Trump-Pence thought of not wearing a mask let alone the hubris that causes the action.
The Founders of the United States of America meant our founding to be a great experiment in governance. They did everything they could to foresee a structure that would outlast term lengths, partisanship, corruption, greed, and every other bad habit of the, in those days, white, human male.
One of the foundational pillars of America is faith. Sure, religious faith was certainly a tenet of the hero’s journey of the men, women, and children who braved the extraordinary unknown to come to a land that might or might not welcome them. Faith was what sustained them.
Bret Stephens went on. “Everyone wants a perfect way out of this crisis. There isn’t one. Every choice is fraught, every choice is uncertain and some choices that make sense in one place won’t make sense in another. We’re just going to have to find our way — and try not to mainline bleach along the way.”
No, of course not. No one, not even the Stupidities-in-Chief should drink bleach, but we will all, either now or eventually, have to find our way just as the Founders of the country expected we would.
One of the things I’ve had to time to do during the lockdown is take the American Safety Council’s Defensive Driving Course; it will save me eighty dollars a year for three years on my car insurance. When I read this sentence, I grinned. “As public welfare must take precedence over personal transportation needs, driving in the State of New York is a privilege, not a right.”
Let’s paraphrase it, shall we? As public welfare must take precedence over personal needs, living in the United States of America is a privilege, not a right. That privilege, Beloved, includes the Divine Right of finding our way — and, hopefully, a better way that works for every one of us … one faithful choice at a time.
Dr. Susan Corso is a metaphysician and medical intuitive with a private counseling practice for more than 35 years. She has written too many books to list here. Her website is www.susancorso.com
© Dr. Susan Corso 2020 All rights reserved.