In a scorching column for the Daily Beast, longtime political observer Michael Tomasky expressed disgust with the wave of supporters of Donald Trump celebrating his plan to re-open businesses in order to stop the collapse of the economy even if it means more people will die due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Getting right to the point, Tomasky began: "You know where this is headed, right? We all know. Donald Trump and the Republicans are going to turn the election into a red vs. blue culture war battle—not over abortion, not over climate change, not over guns, but this time, over death itself."
"Thus, the question of the 2020 election, as Trump and his party attempt to frame it: Are you manly enough to sneer at death, like real men do in the movies (which are fake, of course, but never mind that), or are you one of those pusillanimous patsies who quivers under the bed sheets like some avocado toast-eating intellectual, whining that we have to listen to the experts?" he added before lamenting, "I’m not sure I want to think about how this country is going to answer."
According to the columnist, it works this way: "Trump will say something at a press briefing—something noncommittal, offhand, open to interpretation," and then "Fox News will kick into gear, lining up experts affirming that the president has it exactly right. Republicans will agree or stay silent. And before you can say 'Freedom Is Slavery,' boom. Forty-whatever percent of America will agree."
"In Saneworld, the course of action is obvious: ramp up testing and contact-tracing, get the infection rate under one, prudently open certain small businesses and maybe restaurants with the proper spacing and hope that life can be back to something like normal by Labor Day, at which point, if we’ve followed the science properly, we won’t have to go through this again in the fall," he wrote. " But in Trumpworld—well, all this needs to be said, but there’s no point in saying it. In Trumpworld, reopening is just a matter of will. And strength. And devotion to the leader. To prove that devotion, and to prove that your hatred of the libs and the doctors and the experts and suspects elements among even the business community is pure, you must be willing to do certain things."
"You must be willing to risk your own health. You must be willing to lay in bed for 10 days with a 102-degree fever as you can barely breathe. To gaze upon your wheezing, intubated 82-year-old mother and steel yourself to say that if her death helps beat back the President’s foes, helps keep the nation on God’s path, perhaps it is worth it," he continued. "That, between now and Election Day, is what Trump is going to divide this country into—the timid people who seek safety and science and reassurance, and the brave souls who are willing to embrace the liberation of death."
Bringing it to a close, Tomasky wrote, "How many millions of Americans’ brains are already being squeezed by that psychological vise grip, the same one used by authoritarian demagogues from time immemorial? I think not enough for it to succeed. But do not underestimate its power. Fill people’s brains with fear, and a lot of them will want a Dear Leader to tell them what to do. We’ve learned that tragic lesson from watching so many other countries."
"We never thought we’d be watching it here. But we are," he added.
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