Rather than referring to COVID-19 as the “China virus,” the president might consider referring to it as the “black and brown virus” since it is these skin colors who have suffered the most sickness, death, and economic dislocation from it. Happily for him, neither of these demographics is famously Trump-positive, which may be the reason he has been so inclined to, as he says, “downplay it.”

The monstrous fact that swindlers, thieves, and gangsters have seized control of our collective life is characteristic of our times. Their criminality and double-dealing are recognized — even celebrated.

People worship a “phenomenon” in mysterious indifference to their own traditions, morals and codes — see a deadly pandemic and deliberately make it worse; see climate catastrophe looming and treat it as a political joke. It is a form of possession, a death cult. “If I die, I die,” the man told the reporter at the Trump rally. It must make the president quietly proud to hear that. A thousand deaths a day to make America great. Sometimes I feel sorry for the president, trapped as he is inside a White House with only the kind of people who would work for him. Then I think of John McCain, who flew 23 combat missions and was shot down, wounded, tortured and beaten for 5 1/2 years, refusing release until his people were out, how Captain Bone-spur said, “I just prefer people who weren’t captured, OK?” I wonder how he’d have held up. Fascinating to imagine.

Tony Baker

St. Simons Island

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