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He just can’t help himself. He just can’t stop. This raging pathological narcissist wants tribute, or he’s not going to deal with you, and screw your State, ingrate Governor, and everybody who lives in it. Pucker up real nice and plant a big wet sloppy kiss on my fat white ass, or you can all die, how do you like them apples? And don’t be a cutie-pie.

He really said that, in response to a follow-up question on whether there were going to be enough ventilators for all the desperately ill men and women of America. Don’t be a cutie-pie.

How do those White House reporters do it? How do they just sit there, calmly, and take their notes as this utterly brainless excuse for a second rate mob boss berates them, in between lying and ranting as best he can, stumbling along, expressing the incoherent urges of his id with the usual mix of word salad and mangled syntax? Deprived by the virus of the opportunity to soak in the admiration of his cult following in the usual fashion, he’s decided to hold what amount to campaign rallies in front of the press each day, but the problem is, he can’t hear the cheering. Nobody’s giving him the copious quantities of positive reinforcement without which he just goes all to pieces. Not the reporters, and not the Governors he’s on the phone with either, the whiners, all they do is take, take, take, then whine about it. Take take take, whine whine whine, take-whine-take-whine-take. Where’s the frickin’ appreciation? Don’t they know he’s doing a terrific job?

I couldn’t be in that room. I’d feel an overwhelming compulsion to take a run at him. I really would.

What’s the worst part? That he’s running the Presidency like an extortion racket, treating the Governors of Washington and Michigan the same way he did that poor, bullied bastard in Ukraine? That it’s certain, now, that no matter how impeachable his conduct remains he’ll never be removed from office, let alone see the inside of that dark, wet prison cell where he belongs? Or is it that now, at the peak of his negligent incompetence, when it’s glaringly obvious that he’s just the worst person possible to have in the top slot at a time like this, his approval ratings have reached the highest level recorded since he took office? They have, you know. Honest. Polls show him at or near 50% favourable for how he’s handled the crisis thus far. Half the population! It’s unbelievable!

I so want to be soothed by the many pundits who’ve lately been coming on all sage, explaining how these approval numbers are just a typical “rally ’round the flag crisis bounce”, and a markedly tepid one at that, when one considers that, for example, George W. Bush peaked at over 90% in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Americans always profess love for their leadership when the chips are down. If you can only jump to 50% in a crisis, they assure us, you’re in deep trouble. Don’t worry, his numbers will sink like a stone as this godawful mess drags on, and one day soon there’ll be a reckoning for both him and most of his Congressional toadies. Just you wait. November will be a Republican apocalypse. Look, even now, despite his approval ratings, he still comes out well behind Biden in nearly all of the head-to-head polls. Hold fast! Everything’s going to be fine!

Maybe they’re right, supposing they’re still holding elections come November.

We have much better leadership up here, of course, and still enjoy the luxury of complaining about generally competent government. I suppose I should be taking solace in that, but it’s counter-intuitive to feel safe when the giant to the south starts falling apart at the seams. Who’s going to send the cavalry, if they won’t? We’re used to looking to America to take the leadership role, to use its power and resources to get its own house in order and then come to the rescue of the rest of us. Having seen this coming months ago – informed by their crack intelligence operatives that no matter what Xi was saying, this was the Big One – they should have geared up long before it hit their shores. By now, America should be producing vast surpluses of the personal protective gear that medical staff the world over are clamouring for. They should be cranking out ventilators in massive quantities. They should have tests available for millions, not thousands. They should be leveraging their 21 trillion dollar economy to fabricate mountains of everything necessary. Meanwhile, their President should be providing a calming voice of reason. What is this? This just isn’t the way we expect it to go. Time was, we’d have been waiting, confidently hoping, for American labs to develop a vaccine, speed up the usual approval/clinical trial process, and then make hundreds of millions of doses for the whole of afflicted humanity. It would just be a matter of time. Now we’re left to wonder if maybe China can pull it off, or maybe somebody in the EU, the Germans or French, perhaps.

Watching them flail, their leadership hopelessly out of its depth, bungling their response, bickering, and doing more poorly in handling the pandemic than any other nation in the developed world, is more than disconcerting. It’s disorienting. This can’t be the new normal, can it? Surely the old America will be back some day?

Oh, how I miss Obama, now more than ever.

So far so good, I keep telling myself. So far, so good. I haven’t been outdoors in more than two weeks, and we’re getting our groceries delivered to our front porch by drivers who follow strict pandemic protocol, dropping everything off in a pile before ringing our doorbell and scuppering away before we can come out and cough all over them. Every house could be a festering den of COVID-19, right? Not this one, though. We’re fine, just fine. About the worst we’re suffering is that I need a haircut I won’t be able to get for who knows how many months, by which point I’ll be looking like the lead guitarist of an Eighties hair metal band. No worries. We’ve got lots of canned soup, and adequate supplies of toilet paper, which, listen, these days is not nothing. Should I bother to shave, I’ve got plenty of spare blades. The lights still come on. The internet still works. There’s still water pressure in the pipes. This isn’t the zombie apocalypse, not yet.

No thanks to this asshole.

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