Reviews | American Horror, with Donald Trump

I think I echo many Americans, and people in the world in general, when I say that I find it difficult to fully grasp the gravity of this moment.

It’s still hard to admit that a virus has reshaped global behavior, interrupted or altered travel, strained the economy, and completely reshaped the nature of public spaces and human interactions.

It’s also hard to admit that maybe this is not a phase that goes by quickly, an inconvenience for a season, but something that the world is forced to live with for years to come, even assuming a vaccine is soon to be found.

There is this notion that things could go hastily, not because of human action, but rather because humans are under attack.

The idea that years of planning for graduations and weddings, house buying and retirement could all come to a screeching halt is humbling and disorienting. The confusion over how and when children can safely return to school and adults can safely return to work is frustrating because it leaves people’s lives on the line.

The idea that face covers and elbows can be the new normal comes as a shock to the system.

It seems that on many levels, society is tested and often in failure.

People are rebelling against isolation, against science and public health. They want to take back the old world, the world before Covid-19, but that cannot be achieved. The virus does not feel frustration and does not react. He doesn’t know about your kids, your job, or your vacation plans. He is not aware of our policy.

The virus is a virus, insane, and in this case, incredibly effective and efficient. He will pass from person to person for as long as possible. The political debate over mask wearing is a human concern, which benefits the virus.

And it is these policies, especially as articulated by Donald Trump, that allow the virus to ravage this nation and steal tens of thousands of lives that should not have been stolen.

It was Trump’s politicization of the virus that led to a new wave of cases in that country as many other developed countries were able to reduce the number of cases among their populations.

It is because of Donald Trump that America has now reported 3.2 million cases and counted nearly 135,000 deaths.

But, instead of focusing on the sick, the dying and the dead as the real victims of his misdeeds, Trump presents himself as the victim of the circumstances. As the Washington Post reported last week, Trump has adopted an unhappy attitude with visitors. As the newspaper says:

“Trump often launches into a monologue placing himself at the center of the nation’s turmoil. The President threw himself into the lead role of the blameless victim – of a deadly pandemic, a stalled economy, deep-rooted racial unrest, which all happened to him rather than the country.

How are we supposed to understand this idea that the President is avoiding this responsibility for political gain and in doing so is endangering untold American lives and actually costing some?

How did it come to such a point that scientists and experts can be paralyzed, that governors and mayors can be intimidated, that millions of Americans can risk their own well-being and the well-being of others for to assert a political point of view?

This is the America we are all sailing in now.

We have seen scene after scene of minimum wage workers clashing with clients – many of whom have arguably come in search of conflict, looking for a stage on which to play their defiant drama – who refuse to wear masks inside stores.

Part of the problem is that the virus is not only politicized, its effects are also racialized: blacks and browns have worse outcomes. Some of the states currently seeing the largest increases in cases are those in the south and west with large black or Hispanic populations.

The effects of the disease are also ageistic: older people are more likely to die from it. Florida not only has a large Hispanic population, it also has a large retiree population.

I believe these discrepancies add to the political callousness that America sees: whether the disease is seen to disproportionately hurt others – a baby boom killer, or a black “Brotha” killer, or a killer of abuela – then some younger and healthier whites might believe that the threat to themselves is lower and that the restrictions placed on them should be more flexible.

We have a situation in this country where a disease is getting out of hand, in large part because of the president himself, and there is little sign or hope that it will be limited anytime soon.

We are living in a horror film, the one with Donald Trump.

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