I think I’ve hit the wall.
After 84 years - more than half in the news business - I’m having a hard time starting the day with a cup of coffee and the morning news. It’s getting almost unbearable.
Day-after-day-after-day-after-day, the headlines bash the brain with bad news, bad news and still more bad news. Trump’s lying outbursts, White House staff trying to justify them, Republicans in Congress committing what appears to be eventual political suicide in their submissions to anything Trump, the outrageous actions of various federal departments undercutting decades of sound regulatory policies, Trump’s SS squad kidnapping peaceful protesters and others off the streets of Portland and anything screaming COVID-19! Especially COVID-19!
As a nation, we’ve never been here before. We’ve been mentally battered with a torrent of destruction of our federal agencies for nearly four years. Now, a pandemic of sickness and death. The hellish likeness of our “president” appears in or around most of it.
In an interview the other evening, Dr. Mary Trump, the psychologist- author-niece of our “leader,” said another four years of her uncle in the White House “would mean the end of democracy as we know it.” Blunt? Yes. True? Given the colossal evidence we know, I’d say yes.
For some 250 years, our national psyche has, so far, been too tough to crack. This nation has been hit by just about every catastrophe imaginable and survived - or somehow overcame - all of it. The will of the people to take on wars, political upheavals, cataclysmic acts of nature, pandemic horrors and tyrannies of all sorts has been successful every time.
But, now we’re being hit with two terrible and nationally dangerous disasters at once. It’s going to take all the strength-of-will we can muster to survive both: what appear to be Trump’s actions during his last days in office and the pandemic.
Dr. Trump - the niece - says her uncle can’t be trusted in anything and will do whatever it takes to stay in office. Those words, coming from someone else, could be written off as speculation. But, from a trained psychologist who grew up in the family and who has interacted with her uncle for more than 40 years, there is an authenticity based both on family experiences and as one who has an extensive medical background.
Several recent events seem to prove her right. Our erstwhile commander-in-chief has seemingly turned his back on the ravages we face resulting from the out-of-control pandemic. No significant talk coming out of the White House, no development of a national “plan of action,” cutting off vital information about continuing infections and deaths, refusing to even meet with Dr. Fauci and most other CDC officials, no emergency orders to help the states. Pretty good indicators of a man trying to consolidate power.
The federal intervention and abusive tactics on the streets of Portland can also be linked directly to Trump and his “do anything” efforts to stay out of jail. Watch for new TV, print and online ads aimed at his base touting his tough “law and order” response to “rioters,” “vandals” and “left wing agitators.” “Keeping our streets safe at any cost.” It’s theater -raw meat - for his base.
Oregon’s political leadership demanding investigations won’t result in anything meaningful. No matter which federal department does the “investigating” the results would have to go to the Department of (what used to be) Justice where the matter would never see the light of day.
It would be interesting to see Governor Brown activate the Oregon National Guard to protect the heretofore peaceful demonstrations. Imagine the picture of armed guardsmen standing between the protestors and Trump’s SS troops. He wouldn’t want his “base” to see that.
And the pandemic. His lack of action when informed of what was coming, his repeated efforts to downplay the sweeping coronavirus killer, offering no federal support for states and overrun hospitals, secreting all agency statistics healthcare institutions and the public need in the fight, turning his back on the swelling numbers of sickness and death, cancelling televised updates from government agencies, banning top CDC folks from testifying before Congress. Then, there’s his failed presidential Coronavirus “task farce.”
None of that makes much sense until viewed through the lens of someone trying desperately to hang onto power. To be re-elected rather than going to the “crossbar hotel.”
In the years, before his presidency, while operating as a “businessman,” when debtors clamored to get paid, when various ventures failed or proved to be financially lost, when bank loans totaling hundreds of millions of dollars came due, “businessman” Trump walked away from all of it and took out bankruptcy over and over again. Just walked away and started something else.
He’s doing that now, walking away from this terrible killer of a pandemic. He’s ignoring it, turning his public appearances into attacks on Joe Biden, “press conferences” where reporters are stunned by his almost incoherent gibberish, flying around the country and packing his supporters into unhealthy rallies in the face of COVID-19 spreading. He’s above it all. Acting “presidential.”
And the pandemic itself. Few alive today have experienced what we’re living with and no end in sight. Largely, because of Trump’s deliberate inaction when first briefed on the terrible consequences faced by other countries, we’re approaching 150-thousand dead and, eventually, millions more who’ll likely have virus-related health problems the rest of their lives.
How many wouldn’t have become infected - how many more wouldn’t have died - if our failed businessman-president had listened. Just listened, then taken actions to prepare all of us based on the advice of some of the world’s top health professionals?
He didn’t listen. He didn’t act. Thousands have died. More to come.
Ask yourself. What’s going on in Afghanistan? Russian bounties on American soldiers? How many of our military are being killed in Iran? And elsewhere? What’s happening in the Far East? Do you know about the impending layoffs of thousands and thousands of people in the airline industry after those companies took billions of your tax dollars? Cruise lines, too. Have you been told how many countries Americans can’t travel to or how many states have closed their borders to travelers from other states? How much information on hundreds of other issues are you getting?
Trump. And the pandemic. That’s what we hear. The rest has been pushed aside.
If Dr. Trump is correct - and I’ll bet she’ll be proven so - the next 140 days will be filled with even more bad news. Expect more vocal attacks on our government by our own president and thousands more American deaths caused by COVID-19. And that same president.
Hit the wall? Maybe. Maybe not. But, my back feels like it’s being pushed against something very sturdy.