Column: President Trump is sick and so is the country

Aerial photo of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where President Donald Trump was admitted on Oct. 2 after testing positive for COVID-19.

Things are not looking good for President Trump. As I write this, he is being flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. This is not a good sign.

There is a lot to be said about this moment. There are countless emotions that need to be felt, but there is one prevailing attitude in particular that I have taken issue with. This is the notion that this event is something to be reveled in.

I understand the irony of the situation. The man who has spent the past six months assuring the American people that the virus is no worse than the flu, and who has flouted his own CDC’s advice at every possible turn, now appears to be grievously ill with the very same virus. 

I also understand the satisfaction one may feel at seeing the president finally be taken down a peg. This is a man who, just days ago, signalled to white supremacists during the first presidential debate, and got away with it. 

However, these emotions must pale in comparison to the worry and urgency you should have about the trajectory of our country. 

If something were to happen to President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence would assume his responsibilities as president, and presumably as the Republican presidential candidate. 

This is a much worse scenario than Trump staying in power. It is true that Trump is a malicious, racist, and altogether vile person, as is Pence. But there is one key difference between the two.

Pence is competent. He is a real politician, and understands how the game is played far better than Trump.

If you don’t think that Pence is waiting with bated breath to take power and finish what Trump clumsily started, you are gravely mistaken. 

But this goes far beyond Pence. America is sick. Down to its very core. 

What else do you call a country that has amassed far more resources and influence than any other empire in the history of the world, and fails to provide for its citizens? What do you call a country where the head of state is able to make demonstrably false, dangerous statements and be heralded by his supporters as a hero while 200,000 people die? 

What do you call a country that has such a deeply ingrained racial hierarchy that when Black Americans finally call out once again for justice, white Americans take it as a terroristic threat?

You call it diseased. You call it terminally ill.

And Trump is not the cause of this disease, but a symptom. Whether or not he is still in office will do very little to strengthen this Union’s prognosis. 

Biden won’t cure us either, though he is obviously preferable to what we have now. 

The truth is that we have become entirely desensitized to atrocities committed by our government. We have concentration camps at our southern border that are performing forced sterilizations on immigrants and refugees. 

Videos of police killing Black people come out almost daily. 

200,000 preventable deaths mean nothing to us, yet we’ve been mourning 9/11, in which 3,000 Americans lost their lives, for 19 years.  

Our wealth inequality, which falls largely along racial lines, has now reached a height which rivals that of the Great Depression.

None of it seems to phase us. 

In times of crisis, people have a tendency to come together, and to use the power that can only be found in the collective to defeat their common enemy. We have not. Instead of looking up, and identifying the root causes of these issues, we have turned on one another, violently lashing out against those who dare to demand a better world. 

I don’t know how this ends. I don’t know how you fix this. But I do know that finding that solidarity, and joining hands with those already working so hard for change, is the only way to begin to save ourselves from the impending disaster.

 

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