Mourning Our Dead

Last week’s Republican National Convention was a remarkable spectacle – a blatantly over-the-top celebration of the presidency of Donald J. Trump. It reached a crescendo on Thursday night, when the great man heaped praise upon himself before a tightly packed crowd of largely unmasked worshipers that had gathered on the White House lawn.

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It would have been a wonderful time to ask his audience to share a moment of silence for the 180,000 of their fellow Americans who had died from the coronavirus. Had this figure been placed within the context of just three or four degrees of separation, nearly all the members of Trump’s vast TV audience would be connected to at least one family member, friend, neighbor, co-worker, or acquaintance who was a virus victim.

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Indeed, these deaths were barely acknowledged by any of the convention speakers -- including Trump family members and girlfriends – and even then, only as evidence of the magnificent job the president has been doing in his winning battle against the pandemic. After all, while the U.S. headed the world in deaths, it was duly noted that without the brilliant and unstinting efforts of our beloved president, the death total could have easily shot up into the millions.

Alternate Facts In Trump World

In Trump World, the president and his enablers don’t consider it lying to simply make up “alternate facts”. These “alternate facts” are used to construct an alternate universe in which pandemics magically melt away. In almost no time there are no more deaths.

As a nation – Republicans and Democrats, progressives and conservatives, bible-thumpers and atheists – we have always come together to mourn our dead. Why should it be any different when a pandemic spreads death, not just in all fifty states, but in every county of each state?

When President George W. Bush visited the ruins of the World Trade Center to mourn the thousands of Americans who died on 9/11, he forged a powerful emotional bond with the citizens of a grieving nation. Why has it been so difficult for President Trump to make a similar gesture?

If asked this question, perhaps Mr. Trump would have a ready response: “I am not responsible!” And if that didn’t work, he would say that those deaths never happened. After all, no one dies in Trump World.