By making items of privilege out of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and access to testing for a deadly disease, Trump’s mishandling of COVID-19 dragged the skeletons out of our national closet.
It’s the nation’s worst kept secret. The racism, sexism and nativism are so pervasive that they define you, the opportunities you will have, the quality of your life and the quality of your health.
Excelling means you’ll still be left behind. You’ll be left behind by people who begrudge any amount of resources or attention going to Americans who don’t fit the Trump profile of an American, or for that matter of an immigrant.
If you are a person of color, an immigrant, someone LGBT, a woman and/or poor, you already know what I’m talking about. But if you could belong in Trump’s America, even if you choose not to, odds are you scarcely have a clue that there are two Americas.
I prefer to call Trump’s America “Magastan”, because that “reality” is as fictional as the name.
The responses to COVID-19 reflect these two different realities. In the lies and propaganda of Magastan, COVID-19 is a Chinese myth or a bio weapon that the WHO uses to destroy Magastan. Magastanis protest with MAGA hats and confederate flags because they want sports back.
While Trump and his supporters were protesting for liberation in states with stay home and social distancing policies, the White House was hoarding PPE for personal use and medical professionals went without. Trump sends equipment to Russia, China and Italy while, again, Americans are doing without.
In fact, Trump is still fighting to destroy Obamacare as unemployment numbers shatter all previous records. Since most of America’s healthcare is tied to employment, that means millions of Americans have no healthcare coverage when we need it like we’ve never needed it before.
For the most part, Magastan is a bubble unto itself. But occasionally, reality penetrates it. The “hoax” became real — apparently after one of Trump’s friends, Stanley Chera, was infected. Mr. Chera eventually succumbed to the illness, as many thousands of New Yorkers and Americans did nationwide. But Mr. Chera was the only person whose plight reached whatever passes for empathy in Trump’s mind.
Trump’s handling peeled back the veneer of an unreal America where opportunity is there for the taking and where “the biggest,” “the best” and “the brightest” excel.
The heart-shattering number of deaths resulting from the pandemic, for the most part, were of people who don’t “matter” to Donald Trump. They lived in America – not in Magastan.
Their reality shows that America solves the problems, cleans up the messes and earns the money to subsidize Magastan. The America where people of color and immigrants dwell is the one that innovates to survive a pandemic while the Magastanis protest for freedom from the very policies that will save them.
The real America knows that Magastan is unreliable, narcissistic, racist, sexist and entitled. Americans know they cannot count on the man who sold his soul to Vladimir Putin in exchange for Putin’s expertise at manipulating minds and with them, elections.
We know that we have a better chance of surviving on our own than by relying on Trump and the merry lapdogs of Magastan.
Because we listen to Dr. Fauci and other scientists, we know those rising numbers in Florida and other red states mean they are on the cusp of COVID-19. We know they face a situation as traumatizing and deadly as what Washington, New York, Michigan and other blue states are experiencing. And we will help them by sharing the information and resources we have.
For some of us it isn’t about the altruism as much as it is a matter of practicality. Crushing the novel corona virus means containing it everywhere, including places that wish us harm. By helping Magastan, we also help ourselves.
But thankfully, we do have people for whom it is all about the altruisim. They are our conscience and our souls. They’re the people who brave the front lines of this deadly epidemic to save the lives they can, and offer compassion in the last moments for the people they cannot save. They’re the ones who are doing without PPE and putting their lives on the line – every day, and for whom even saying thank you is asking too much of the Emperor of Magastan.
They’re the ones who are looking death in the eye and in some cases will be traumatized forever because of what they are experiencing right now.
They’re the ones who are earning the money to keep Magastan afloat through innovation and “book learnin”. They’re the ones who understand the thousands of shades of gray that complete the world, Magastanis can only see in black and white.
The care-givers are also what makes America very different, (thankfully) from Magastan.