Covid charades and “The Betrayals”

Dear President Trump,

I know you have (and take) plenty of opportunity to look in the mirror, whether directly at yourself or at one of your surrogates, but I thought we’d start the day with yet another (from the WP’s coronavirus updates):

“Although the rate of infection shows no sign of slowing, Vice President Pence said the administration’s coronavirus task force could be dismantled in the next month because “of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country.””

It’s refreshing, in a way, that you all are gearing up to stop pretending you care (generous interpretation) or that you aren’t actually rooting for the virus (more likely the accurate interpretation). With Pence’s announcement (you’ve made similar ones – his was the easier one to grab) you’ve laid bare the bullshit, farcical nature of your administration’s sham response to the covid-19 situation.

You tried mightily at the beginning to avoid having to put on the show at all. You minimized, down-played, ignored, distracted, and basically did everything but tap-dance with a teapot on your head to gaslight the American people (and the global economy) into believing the virus was a nothing-burger.

Then, as it became clear the virus wasn’t listening and it was at least a little something-burger, you tried the “we are the champions of the world” tactic in an all out “we got this”, nothing-to-worry-about-folks-deal.

But the virus still wasn’t listening and it was making its way into the nooks and crannies of compromised immune systems across America so you did what you do and you put together a task force in a “see, I’m taking this seriously” sort of move. You then used the associated briefings to bluster and carry on while flanked by your minions, who huddled up awfully close to one another long after it was clear that physical distancing is a thing that mitigates contagion. Really, you all dropped so, so many clues that you weren’t taking this seriously.

But then you pushed it just a hair too far by musing in your out loud voice about injecting disinfectants and getting UV light into the body, somehow, and wham! – you got hit with a boatload of negative publicity and all of the sudden, the briefings weren’t fun anymore, weren’t helping your re-election prospects anymore. So even though the virus is still doing its thing virtually unchecked due to your piss-poor response to it, you decided it’s time to drop the charade of caring and get down to the full-time business of thoroughly exploiting this puppy for all the political and economic spoils you can f*cking eek out of it.

How am I doing? Do I have the game plan down?

Well, it’s later in the day now and while I think I had the game plan down just fine, you threw a curve mid-day when you announced that because the briefings are really such a hit (OMG), you aren’t going to tank them at the end of the month after all – they’ll go on indefinitely. It’s not hard to guess what happened here – somebody read you the re-election riot act, didn’t they? Somebody convinced you that the American people may have been malleable enough to elect you and to not rise up against the GOP props who protected you throughout the Russia investigation and the Ukraine impeachment and removal trial, and they got it through your six-inch thick skull that we aren’t so out of it that we won’t notice we’re still getting sick and dying by the tens of thousands just because you or your surrogate claim victory over the virus. Shit.

In closing, I’ll just say that on my walk this morning I realized that the title I’m suggesting we use to frame our/your failure in the face of covid-19 needs to be changed from “The Betrayal” to “The Betrayals.” It’s got to be plural – there are layers upon layers to the current treachery that’s compounded by layers upon layers of historical (right up to the present day) disparities and injustices. Together these intertwined layers of betrayals are making fertile ground for both the virus to do its thing and for ruthless politicians (and their handlers) to do their thing, and until we face and remediate this reality, we’ll continue piling on these betrayals until we’re all suffocating in the muck.

May we be safe from our POTUS.
May we be willing to see that my health is your health and your health is my health.
May we have the strength and resolve to stop harming one another.
May we accept that we all need to step up to address the betrayals that are imperiling us.

Tracy Simpson

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