Saturday, September 12, 2020

Race for the White House # 89

52 Days Until Election Day

The end of this campaign feels in site but one gets the sense there is still some heavy and frustrating traffic ahead.

While the polls show a clear frontrunner in the Presidential race, America still feels more divided than at any time in memory. Whether it is Trump vs. or merely Trump vs. Not Trump, relationships between co-workers, friends, and families are suffering. I am glad I am not on Facebook because I would probably want to de-friend everyone (except for maybe David French and those among my fellow NeverTrump conservatives who understand why I cannot vote for Joe Biden either.)

America was not always this divided. The anniversary of 9/11 is always an emotional one. I imagine next year, a full generation later, will feel even more so. The events of that day and those that followed are etched in my memory. I am grateful we had the President we did. Of course there is no such thing as a perfect human in the Oval Office or a President who makes zero mistakes, but George W. Bush understood the significance and seriousness of what had happened and what we would have to overcome. He also had the ability to both honestly inform and reassure the country about what would be required.

In many ways, the battle against Covid-19, while having a more direct impact in our lives, is far less severe and far less permanent. We have been asked to socially distance and make some sacrifices. Of course none of these were wanted or easy, and most of us as Americans have done our part, but the stubbornness of others have cost us time and cost us lives and history will not be kind towards that aspect.

We still face a far greater long-term threat from violent jihadism. We have thankfully captured or killed many terrorists since 9/11/01, but far from them all or far from enough. Those who want to wage war on us intend on an "endless war" and we need to be committed to defeating them, through all factions and methods of modern warfare for however long it takes. The two Presidents that followed George W. Bush just do not get this. It is amazing that in spite of that, Barack Obama and Donald Trump are such different men and have followers who despise each other so much.

Let me be clear. While I think Barack Obama was a horrible President, he was and is a better person by far than Trump. His intellectual coolness or aloofness when it came to people suffering an economic downturn or how he said we should be able to "absorb" terrorist attacks were unfortunate but not on the level of the callous disregard, selfishness, and unprecedented meglomania of the current President. I could also write volumes regarding the horrible things Trump himself said on or about 9/11. These things were known in 2016 though and he still won, so perhaps it is better to focus on what has actually happened on his watch as President.

A new book is coming out, as people are beginning to vote. Donald Trump spent many hours speaking candidly and on the record to Bob Woodward. The name and biography of Woodward impresses Trump and Trump thought he could charm Woodward into writing a "good book" for him. For Trump, it is always about Trump. Woodward though, who of course is a liberal, has written "bad books" about every President in recent time. Did Trump really think he could get away with this unscathed? If so, he is dumber than we even thought.

There are many jaw dropping assertions in this book, such as the quotes attributed to people like James Mattis and Dan Coats. There was also an instance, recorded and all, in which Trump all but laughed at the fact that African-Americans feel they are still experiencing racism in America. These thing would be a story themselves but instead the focus is on the candor that Trump spoke to Woodward about Covid-19 back in February.

For one thing, he actually was listening to the experts back then and understood how serious this virus was and how deadly it could and how easy it could spread. However, his public words were almost completely the opposite, as he set up a false set of security, especially among those who had the misfortune of actually believing in Donald Trump. He says he wanted to project a "calm" image. Him? Who is he kidding. Donald Trump has never been calm about anything. That is a big reason why the people that like him do.

No, he should have told the truth. The whole truth and nothing but the truth, and if he were any sort of leader at all, he could have also rallied the public to fight a common enemy. He is not that kind of leader though and never will be. He is about himself and any "bad news" about the virus was simply going to take away from his narrative as "the best President ever who never stops winning, winning, winning."

He did not want to create panic he says. Unless the panic is about a caravan or black men coming after the white women in the suburbs or about mail in voting or about Rosie O'Donnell or anything else he chooses to focus his dishonest rage on. Panic? What about the panic of the people who learned they had caught the virus and might die. What about the panic of those who knew their loved ones would die alone in a hospital or nursing home and they could not be there to comfort them or say goodbye. The Trump years are a tragedy in so many ways and one that needs to be rectified.

There is not a President from Washington to Obama nor anyone in either party who ran the same year Trump did who could get away with we we see on a nearly daily basis from him.  There are plenty of bad ideas in politics on both sides, but democracy and federalism and the separation of powers have served us well before and hopefully will again. We all should do more to remember what 9/11/01 meant to us as Americans and how dangerous it has been for us to forget it. 
No, Trump did not cause the virus to start in China and yes, early on, his opponents on the left were too quick to play politics, but Trump has only himself to blame for not being honest about this all. Not every death is his fault, but because of him, far more people died than needed to, and far more people will continue, as long as he delivers mixed messages about masks and fills his personal need to hold as large of rallies as possible so people can cheer his name and hiss at his opponents, whether a virus is spread or not. A large crowd was lined up outdoors in Nevada tonight. Very few were wearing masks as they waited for Air Force One to land. The music being played was Guns N Roses' version of "Knocking On Heaven's Door."

He has the nerve to ask for four more years? He should not be President for four more minutes.


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