Editorial: The 2020 Election is the Peaceful Demonstration of a Lifetime

I’ve been thinking about the day in 2017, Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day, when so many of us participated in the Women’s Marches that took place across the country and around the world. I remember how some people, women as well as men, ridiculed and even scolded those of us who took part, thus proving our point. (“Silly girls in your little pink hats,” they might as well have said.) Others took to social media to proclaim that they, as women, certainly didn’t know why we needed a Women’s March. Some men—well, I remember the memes.

Back then, I stooped to arguing with some of them, but it only served to dignify their position—The position that we should all just be quiet and be grateful; stop complaining about nothing; how ridiculous that we should be worried about our rights and protections and treatment. (Some of those people who belittled us then are now, three years later, complaining about their rights to refuse to wear a tiny piece of fabric on their faces to help protect the health and well-being of others.)

As a white, middle class woman, yes, I am quite grateful for what I have, and for privilege I probably don’t even realize that I have taken for granted. I am also angry about what many women (and people, in general) who are different from me…people of color, people in the LGBTQ community, the poor, the abused, the seriously ill… continue to be denied, or fear losing. I am fearful for the future, and for what my daughters may be denied, or may lose, as women, and as women of color.

I am fearful that some of those who have not experienced hardship, hunger, discrimination, racism, poverty, or legally sanctioned cruelty will continue to feel enabled to proclaim that since they haven’t experienced those things, those things don’t exist. (Example: “Systemic racism doesn’t exist,” says Donald Trump, and, consequently, those who parrot him.)

I am fearful that those proclamations will continue to be justifications for further eroding or ending health care; safety; the right, as women, to have autonomy over our bodies (and no, pro-choice does not mean you’d automatically choose abortion); the right to create a life with the person we love, no matter what their gender; the right to not fear for one’s life during a traffic stop, simply because of one’s skin color.

But in January of 2017, we were all supposed to be quiet and “give Trump a chance,” because otherwise, our concerns were just “drama,” and we were “whining.”

Now, three years later, our lives are most definitely worse under Trump’s “chance.”

Millions stand to lose health care (does it really need to be said again that even if you have private health insurance, the loss of the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare” will impact the laws that govern private insurance, too?). This administration has tried, more than 60 times, to abolish “Obamacare,” and without a replacement. Now they have a SCOTUS justice whom the conservative groups are over the moon about because they believe she will support those efforts, as well as their “pro-life” agenda. And we’ve been left to fend for ourselves with a virus that has been abandoned by President “Give-him-a-Chance.”

Our economy? Right. Well, it’s been great for the wealthy, but as a result of our president’s failed response to the coronavirus pandemic, countless businesses have suffered or failed, job loss has skyrocketed, and many Americans are depending on food pantries to feed their families.

Trump’s supporters like to blame America’s financial hardship on the “Democrat lockdowns.” But had we all, as a nation, acted like responsible adults for a few weeks, and all sheltered, worn masks, and believed the pubic health experts from the beginning, the virus wouldn’t be raging in the U.S. as it is now, threatening more closures and loss. Had the White House had a plan for managing the spread from the beginning, countless lives, jobs, and businesses could have been saved. The White House still has no plan, and instead, has clearly demonstrated a complete lack of regard for whether Americans live or die.

Most Americans have suffered some kind of loss related to this deadly, cruel virus that, thanks to Donald Trump’s messaging, some still don’t believe is even real. But by god, this is a free country and no one can take away our liberty not to wear a mask, or our freedom to crowd together with thousands of others at a rally. Two hundred twenty-seven thousand lives is a small price to pay for those freedoms, and for “opening up the economy” (which never really closed in some areas of the country). “It is what it is.”

People whose hearts were oozing with hate, prejudice, and ugliness even before the 2016 election are now emboldened to speak their hideous truth out loud, and even act it out. They feel supported as they try to intimidate peaceful protesters and voters, threaten innocent bystanders who look “different,” or who are simply wearing masks; and they feel righteously triggered by signs in the suburbs that say “Black Lives Matter.”

And what do you think it’s like to be a Black person or other person of color right now? Or an immigrant with dark skin who prefers to speak in her native language with her family on the subway?

By the way, I got a Covid test this week. My second one. This one hurt more than the last one. I actually began to cry as I pulled away from the testing tent. I don’t think it was because of the Covid test.

We have just a few days to stop another coronavirus super-spreader event— the inauguration of Donald Trump for his second term. We have four days days to show up to this, the most crucial peaceful demonstration of our lives. Four days to vote Donald Trump and his enablers off the face of the earth.

Coronavirus surges increase uncertainty over economy, says Elevation Partners’ Roger McNamee | CNBC [2020-10-28]

Obama Takes Hard Swings At Trump While Campaigning In Florida |

Editorial: Donald Trump’s COVID-19 Diagnosis Hasn’t Changed a Thing

Deep in our hearts, we knew that it would be too much to ask that Donald Trump, after testing positive for COVID-19, would have a change of mind in the way he has responded to the virus as a pandemic, or that he would begin to take the virus seriously. And now, many Americans, even the best among us, are also finding it too much to ask to offer thoughts and prayers, healing energy, or any other expression of wishes for Donald Trump to get well soon.

Maybe it would be different if Trump hadn’t downplayed the coronavirus for 10 months and allowed, without concern, more than 200,000 Americans to die. “It is what it is,” he said.

Maybe if he hadn’t politicized face masks, repeatedly made fun of them, and encouraged his supporters not to wear them, it would  have been easier to root for him in the first moments when we learned he was being hospitalized with the virus.

If Trump hadn’t encouraged people to rebel against public health guidelines and reinforced the idea that such guidelines were “tyranny” instead of common sense, maybe searches on the word, “schadenfreude” wouldn’t have shot up by 30,500 percent (according to Merriam-Webster) in the morning hours after learning of Trump’s positive COVID-19 result.

Maybe if Donald Trump hadn’t encouraged thousands of his supporters to gather closely together, maskless, to distribute droplets among themselves as they shouted their fealty to him, he wouldn’t have disgusted other Americans with how little he valued his supporters’ lives in comparison to their adulation; or how he places even less value on the lives of Americans who are not his supporters.

Maybe if he hadn’t participated, in person, in a presidential debate with former Vice President Joe Biden when he almost certainly knew he had been exposed to COVID-19, we’d wish Trump a good recovery as if he were a decent person.

We don’t have to wish Donald Trump ill, or pray that he suffers. We can just wish nothing at all. Still, it might be different, but for the grief, suffering, and loss that has resulted from his failure to lead during the coronavirus pandemic, and his callousness toward it.

Maybe if Trump hadn’t waited to talk about the coronavirus until it was him who became infected.

Maybe if he hadn’t carelessly exposed his secret service personnel to his sickness while he forced them to sit with him in a hermetically sealed car for the sake of a drive-by photo-op. Maybe if he hadn’t also disregarded the safety of the Marine One pilots who flew him to and from Walter Reed Medical Center; or his entire staff, from cleaning crew to senior aides— and their families.

Maybe if he had been honest with Americans from the beginning about his COVID-19 diagnosis.

Maybe if he hadn’t stood on the White House steps after demanding to leave the hospital, and taken off his mask for a photo-op, carelessly exposing more people in the White House to the coronavirus.

And maybe if he weren’t preparing to take health care away from millions of Americans by arguing the unconstitutionality of the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court.

Many Americans, whether wishing Donald Trump well, experiencing some schadenfreude about his diagnosis, or wishing him nothing at all, were still hopeful that, at last, Donald Trump would be forced to acknowledge the seriousness of COVID-19. Maybe a seed of empathy or caring would sprout from Trump’s firsthand experience with the virus. And surely, we thought, he’d begin urging people to wear masks and be cautious.

Instead, any hopefulness we may have had was met with Donald Trump’s tweet as he prepared to leave Walter Reed Medical Center: “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”

As if a helicopter ride, a fun drive-by photo-op, and a jaunt through the hospital with treatments that aren’t even available to other Americans, were in any way similar to the tragic, painful, debilitating experiences many other Americans have had with COVID-19.

COVID-19 cases are rising within the White House. The president has instructed aides to keep quiet about their positive test results, should they have them. He will no doubt return to mocking mask-wearing, and though CDC guidelines demand that he isolate himself for at least 10 days, he already has plans to return to the campaign trail. Trump has learned nothing, and his supporters, in turn, have learned nothing. COVID-19 infections and deaths will continue to escalate.

We don’t have to wish an ill fate on Donald Trump. We don’t even have to wish him anything at all. But, even following his positive COVID-19 test results, it’s difficult to muster any well wishes for Donald Trump.

Donald Trump to leave hospital after being treated for COVID-19 |
Sky News [2020-10-05]

Here’s what you need to know about President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis | CNBC  [2020-10-05]