Dear President Trump,
In her WP editorial, Margaret Sullivan warns the media not to buy into your propaganda aimed at normalizing the covid-19 death toll, first outlining the false dichotomy between a closed economy being bad and an open economy being good before she goes on to say:
“Then there’s Trump’s latest trope: “We have to be warriors. We can’t keep our country closed down for years.””
And goes on to say:
“(In a smart story, my colleague David Nakamura explained how Trump’s “warrior” rhetoric is both a way to suggest that “it is no longer just medical workers on the front lines who must respond” but all Americans — and a way to cast himself as a wartime leader.)”
To me, though, she misses the biggest problem with your “We have to be warriors” statement. Through it, I think you’re wrapping pseudo-patriotic rhetoric around the fact that huge numbers of us have been drafted by our government to die for our country so that some other people in our country can get back to raping and pillaging our country and the planet (i.e., get back to “normal”). Those remaining will enjoy the added benefits of fewer people of color, an even more frightened populace, and yet greater consolidated, concentrated power.
This is clearly not an “all volunteer army” sort of deal – you might have the random empty gesture of the Dan Patrick (TX Lt. Attorney General) variety popping up every now and then (though to my knowledge he isn’t actually risking himself or taking himself out for the sake of his grandchildren’s future), but no one is getting in line to contract covid for the team. This is, however, the sort of deal, not unlike the Vietnam War draft, where certain people, with certain privileges, can arrange for almost certain deferments by dint of their money, status, health insurance, and ability to work from home (or the White House). This is the sort of deal where mothers of certain people will get to live and will get to watch their children trade stocks and build bigger homes while other mothers will die early, lonely deaths or have to watch from afar as their children die even earlier, lonely deaths.
There is no righteousness, no honor, in this – there is only deception, greed, and power mongering. And there will be boatloads of grief, anger, and resentment coming along for the ride (because you can’t kill all of us off no matter how hard you try). Grief and anger that I’m hoping we can turn into something constructive so that we can be warriors for justice and sustainability.
There are increasing calls to burn down the whole white supremacist patriarchy and I must say, you and yours are adding kindling to the pile every damn time you open your mouths – so keep it up. Just keep it up.
May all the mothers and all the children of mothers be safe.
May we resist and revolt against the white supremacist patriarchy that is fueling our misery.
May we make space for grief and anger so it can alchemize into the tools we need to prevail.
May we accept that this work of justice is hard and long and utterly vital.