Column

Trump Doesn’t Care If You Catch Coronavirus

Now that the virus is here in Trump’s America, it can enjoy the freedom it so dearly craves

Hand sanitizer on a desk in the Senate Reception Room. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc./Getty Images

DDonald Trump has spent so much time making Americans sick to their stomachs that it was only inevitable he would manage to make them sick everywhere else. Coronavirus has washed ashore here in America, and potentially 40% to 70% of us could get it in some form. This is because the virus has a strong ground game, and also because Trump gutted the country’s pandemic response team, leaving us without what amounts to a bureaucratic immune system. We can’t stop the coronavirus because there’s no one in charge who can stop it, or even wants to. Instead, the president and his fuckhead cohorts have used the outbreak as yet another occasion to openly wonder if everyone is being nice enough to them.

You are about to experience firsthand, through a seizure of feverish chills and terrifying shortness of breath, what it’s like to not have a government. Because as it stands now, we don’t have one. Whatever governmental departments we do have operating currently have been reoriented so that they do the precise opposite of their intended purpose (see: the EPA). Everywhere else, you are living in the libertarian wet dream of an America where everyone is on their own and no one is coming to help you. If you die from this virus, if MILLIONS of Americans die from this virus, President Trump won’t give half a fuck. The GOP won’t give a fuck either. This is true even if useful altar boy Mike Pence contracts the disease. If Pence gets sick, Republicans will lavish him with all the loving attention Nancy Grace bestows upon any white girl who goes missing in the tropics. But they still won’t give a fuck about the other casualties. To them, that’s just 3 million fewer mouths to feed. Why, with any luck, the virus might wipe out enough Californians to turn the state red! And wouldn’t that be a delight.

If Pence gets sick, Republicans will lavish him with all the loving attention Nancy Grace bestows upon any white girl who goes missing in the tropics.

I live on Earth, which means I am engineered to live under a number of certainties. A day will last 24 hours. The sun will rise in the east where I live and set in the west. I will need water and food to keep my body operational. I am hardwired for those certainties, and I have a necessary trust in them.

As American civilization has evolved, it has developed a number of MAN-MADE certainties that I have grown to trust as well. For example, if a stoplight turns red, I trust everyone to stop. When someone blows a light — and I mean blatantly, not the thing where you speed up to beat a yellow light and just miss it — I’m scandalized. You see that guy? This is because, even driving in Maryland, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen some crazy asshole do that.

I trust that if a house is on fire, a local fire department will be dispatched. I trust that if I buy a tube of toothpaste, the FDA has made certain that it does not contain arsenic. I trust that if I have an E-ZPass stuck to the inside of my windshield, the toll gate will wave me along. And I trust that if a fucking DEATH PLAGUE comes knocking on our door, we’ll have people in place to help beat it back before it colonizes every last state.

But we don’t have those people in place at the moment. Instead, we have professional grudge nursers.

This is a portrait of a government in atrophy. All my life, Republicans have extolled the virtues of an America where no one helps anyone, and now you know what that looks like. You hate big government? Well, coronavirus is right there with you. Thankfully, now that it’s here in America, it can enjoy the FREEDOM it so dearly craves. It can even buy a gun if it wants to. The virus has that freedom right now because those man-made certainties that America has built over generations are now being dismantled, and quickly. Not every country has enjoyed these certainties. Soon, we’ll be right there among them. We’re a fucking backwater. We don’t have our shit together, and a coterie of government officials and rich assholes are gleefully feasting on our carcass while it rots.

In a working America, the man-made certainties that so many trust would only improve and increase in number. These certainties rely on society having people and institutions in place who are dedicated to serving the general public, particularly in times of crisis. This is the invisible hand of government. I don’t mean the deep state sitting in a bunker somewhere drawing up hasty plans to nuke the moon — that’s a DIFFERENT invisible part of government. What I’m talking about are the everyday institutions we have in place that are designed to help us even when we don’t know we’re in need of help. For the bulk of this century, the CDC has been one such place. It has been staffed by capable professionals working to contain outbreaks in a genuinely nonpartisan manner. Some of those professionals are still in place, but they’re currently taking direction from a BOY of a president: an eternal fuckup who’ll never amount to anything, not even after becoming president of this dump.

As you might have guessed, this makes it hard for the CDC to do its job effectively, particularly right now. Whatever centralized form of communication they had to combat this illness is now gone. Coronavirus testing here in the States has been so slow that it has essentially frittered away any hope of containment. They won’t even tell you how many people they’ve tested. Meanwhile, HHS chief Alex Azar just told Congress that he won’t guarantee that a coronavirus vaccine — if successfully developed — will be made affordable to everyone. (It should be free.) And the president, true to form, thinks the ultimate cure for the pandemic is a fucking tax cut:

Tax cuts are like GOP Robitussin at this point. What you are witnessing with the spread of this virus isn’t a colossal fuckup — though it sure exhibits symptoms of one! — but the triumph of Republican nihilism in its purest form: a systemic undoing of all the trustworthy institutions and processes that were once part of the American physiology. Republicans have branded public duty as a useless scam for decades, and now that distaste has infected those normally invisible parts of the American government that have provided so much for so many behind the scenes. Places like the CDC used to be safely quarantined from all this bullshit. But that’s no longer the case. They’re exposed, and vulnerable, and now the rest of us are as well. Millions of people could die in America because of this disease. To Republicans, that’s hardly a tragedy.

Columnist at GEN. Co-founder, Defector. Author of Point B.

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