It’s hard to know what to feel, isn’t it? Or, no, scratch that – it’s hard to know how ashamed you should be about what you really do feel, and what you should be flogging yourself, or at least pretending, to feel instead. Do I go with a large segment of the Twitterverse?
Or do I go with Kathleen Parker of WaPo?
Ms. Parker expresses noble sentiments, no doubt, but it’s hard to chime in with such pieties in the wake of all these months of Trump’s disgusting lies, deliberate malfeasance, and tragic, epic incompetence, months in which Donald has insisted all along that COVID was nothing much to get all worked up about – just within the past week he told his true believers at a rally/superspreader event that the virus affects “practically nobody” – while knowing the awful truth the whole time, as Bob Woodward’s damning tapes revealed. It’s hard to empathize with anybody who took such reckless risks not only for himself, but for thousands of his credulous MAGA cult, ignoring expert recommendations and packing supporters into indoor spaces in town after town, holding rallies at which every maskless rube was literally in mortal danger (one of these, a few months ago, killed poor befuddled Herman Cain, and at another he told a reporter that he wasn’t worried about catching the bug because he was well-distanced from his admirers, betraying his knowledge that all the poor slobs out there in the red hats were taking their chances, whether they knew it or not). It’s hard to feel humane pity when throughout, right to the very last hours before his hospitalization, Trump’s behaviour remained monstrous, whether hawking fake miracle cures (including injections of bleach and sunlight!) from the Presidential rostrum, or Tweeting out nonsense that the worst was over, even as the death toll surpassed 200,000. It’s hard to get all weepy when along the way he destroyed the reputation of the CDC, forcing the experts at the once great institution of public health to muzzle themselves and spew his rancid disinformation, thus indulging in sheer self-interested vandalism that will have incalculable consequences for many years to come. It’s a stretch to muster warm, hopeful thoughts for the lying bloviator who urged the reopening of schools and businesses, knowing the risks, just to improve his own political fortunes, just as it’s difficult to get upset that he fell prey to the bad behaviour he deliberately modelled, going everywhere maskless, along with all of his retainers, while berating reporters at press conferences for not doing the same.
Really, what is it we’re supposed to offer now? Sympathy? What sympathy can anybody have for the malicious fool who, at the debate, in between yelling and frothing at the mouth, mocked Biden for conspicuously wearing masks in public? What thoughts and prayers for the narcissistic idiot who, just prior to that performance, held a dense-packed gathering on the South Lawn to celebrate his latest Supreme Court nomination, risking the health not just of the nominee, but of numerous members of both the executive and legislative branches, many of whom are now testing positive? What well-wishes for the wrongdoer whose recklessness caught up with him just in time, we now know, to have made him contagious on the night of the debate (at which, for good measure, his family members sat in the audience refusing to follow the rules and wear masks), putting everybody there in peril? What decent concern for the almost unbelievably bad actor who knew Hope Hicks had been diagnosed, and knew he was likely infected himself, before continuing with his flesh-pressing fundraising schedule, holding an event at his Bedminster golf resort from which God knows how many of his donors took the virus home? What are we supposed to feel, knowing that upon being diagnosed, he did nothing to inform the Biden campaign – the Democratic candidate might yet test positive, after Trump blasted so much superheated high pressure air in his direction, though so far, so good – and was still hiding his illness until Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Jacobs spilled the beans? Isn’t it reasonable to infer that he meant quite deliberately to keep spreading the disease at campaign events? Doesn’t it follow that an unknown number of potential victims were spared only by his hospitalization?
How many tens of thousands – indeed, once this over, hundreds of thousands – will be dead not just owing to Donald’s panicky, negligent mishandling of the emergency, but his deliberate lies, and conscious efforts to turn the taking of reasonable precautions into one more front within America’s ludicrous culture wars?
Now I’m supposed to convey some sort of get well message, with hopes for a speedy recovery? I’m supposed to feel bad that some of his Congressional enablers, along with the likes of lying she-devil Kellyanne Conway, and craven collaborator Chris Christie, are now testing positive too?
It asks too much.
To the nobly righteous Kathleen Parkers of the world, I respond that my emotions today, shared no doubt by tens of millions, reflect not so much hate and schadenfreude as hope. Sweet, soothing hope for blessed relief from the tyranny of this tinpot dictator wannabe, who, on top of all of his other depredations, was girding himself and his followers for the destruction of democracy when, as seemed likely, he lost the upcoming election. That’s all I can feel, about him, and all of his hideous enablers and followers. I don’t want Trump to bounce back and become his old self again, because I’m terrified of what that will mean for the Republic, and the entire western world. I can’t pray for the well-being of this one egregious sinner whose misdeeds have led to so much pain and suffering for millions, and will again if he recovers in time for the election. Trump is, by any reasonable calculus, an utter monster, a sociopath who’ll tear everything worthwhile down to the ground before setting it all on fire, having been put in the position to do so with the help of a cackling foreign dictator intent upon the destruction of America’s power and prestige. His virtually criminal handling of the pandemic is just one of his many campaigns to lay waste to his nation and take all of us down with it. All of those deaths are just one of the horrors he’s inflicted upon the Republic, and by extension upon the many liberal democracies that depend on American power and international standing to maintain a post-war world order more precious than most seem able to understand. For the last four years we’ve wallowed in Trump’s fetid cesspool of corruption, ignorance, racism, mismanagement, deliberate wrongdoing, and anti-democratic undermining of all constitutional norms, and of decency itself. He’s come perilously close to destroying America, and he’ll finish the job if he gets his chance.
Now he’s lying in a bed at Walter Reed, and whatever happens to him, oh well, but it’s his own damned fault, and Karma’s a bitch. I have no feeling for him. I can’t say I want him dead, or, more honestly, I won’t allow myself to go there, fearing for my own soul and not wanting to become the very thing I despise. I can’t hope he fully recovers, either. I just can’t. It’d be like trying to stick my tongue into a wall socket – the instinctive aversion is too strong. Maybe there’s some intermediate option? Something that doesn’t extinguish his miserable life, but puts him out of politics? That’s the most I can wish for the monster, because I simply can’t bear the prospect of having him back.
Anyway, he’s Donald. Nothing does him in. Odds are that many around him will succumb, while he comes out of it just fine.