Should anyone feel bad about this?
By Matthew Fraser, Opinions Editor
We all make mistakes; almost all of us have a moment that wanders through our minds to inspire an instantaneous cringe. Almost all of us have a memory that visits us late at night in the confines of our own skull to make us shudder and doubt ourselves. There have been and always will be a small group of people who manage to live their lives as if there are no consequences to their misdeeds. This small group of people seem to move through life unburdened by past knowledge and unswayed by any reason borne from experience. What happens when those people gain positions of power? What happens when they are called to lead through perilous situations? If ruination is the result, can one be justified wishing ill on these unrepentant leaders? US President Trump and Vice-President Pence have been able to hold their heads high throughout 2020 as if nothing were amiss—until the president caught coronavirus that is.
Friday October 2 was the day the world found out that Donald Trump had contracted COVID-19; now, days later, it’s clear to me that there is no reformation or advancement from the heads of state, and that the American people will have to suffer so long as Trump and Pence are in the White House.
Millions of Americans have been calling for single payer health care over the past few years. The calls have been so vociferous that politicians like Bernie Sanders have built massive followings in the attempt to address this issue. At the start of the pandemic, 12 million Americans lost their health care coverage due to unemployment, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Even before the pandemic, millions of Americans could not get health insurance as a result of having pre-existing conditions, including obesity. President Donald Trump has promised new and improved health care options for the American people since his 2016 presidential run; these promises have never materialised and in my opinion, will certainly go unfulfilled if he manages to get re-elected. But when the obese president got sick he was airlifted to a taxpayer funded medical facility to be attended to by some of the best doctors the US government could conjure. Meanwhile, some voters of all stripes are dying for lack of healthcare or going bankrupt trying to pay off their emergency room visits. If a grim sneer morphed into a cynical laugh when you read that Trump got the ‘rona, I can’t fault you for that.
Though Trump’s misinformation spreading is well-documented in my opinion, his single most damaging dissemination of misinformation has been throughout the pandemic. In a phone conversation with Bob Woodward, Trump admitted to downplaying the virus, though he gives his reasoning as being to “avoid panic,” I believe the repercussions have been clear. (Granted, Trump claimed to close the borders for safety and was being called a racist by many mainstream outlets at the time.) With over 200,000 Americans dead, millions sick, and almost two million more unemployed, the panic averted before will soon come knocking with full force. Given that this happened for months, at some point the accumulated toll of this misinformation would be discovered and laid bare. In a study conducted by Cornell University, Donald Trump came out as the single biggest spreader of coronavirus misinformation. The so-called leader of the free world, the seat toted as the most powerful position on planet Earth was used by one man to spread nearly 38 percent of English language virus misinformation. I may not condone wishing ill on someone, but in this case, I certainly understand it.
It’s one thing to make mistakes and learn from them; few if any expect perfection from everyone they meet. It’s another thing entirely if one were to make mistakes, break promises, and continuously spread lies that hurt millions without remorse. There is something to be said for the poetic justice of the White House being riddled with COVID infections. It’s like justice has come to wreak havoc on hubris and lay low the mighty. Unfortunately, the justice many craved was short lived and Trump is back on his feet telling Americans that the virus is nothing to be afraid of. Yet, while the times were uncertain, I understand why a few laughed.