Since May I have made it a habit of tweeting (as @RAHarrington) “I like presidents who don’t kill …” together with the latest number of Americans who have died to date. For example, “I like presidents who don’t kill 350,778 people. (As of 30 December, 2020).”
That daily practice keeps me in touch with just how many people Donald Trump is killing on a daily basis. It motivates me each day to do my small part in the grim and necessary work of bringing him down and destroying his legacy. The last 24 hours have been particularly disturbing as 4,199 people have died since the previous day, including actress Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on “Gilligan’s Island.”
Now there is a new mutation of coronavirus in America. It made its first appearance (we believe) here in the United Kingdom. Steps were taken to contain it, steps which failed. It is significantly more contagious than the previous strain.
Nearly twice as many Americans have died in December as died in November. That increase will be worse in January, spectacularly so, because of the increase in human gatherings over Christmas and, no doubt, the efficacy of the new mutation. Death is a trailing indicator of the increase in infection rate.
Meanwhile the soon-to-be erstwhile President of the United States plays golf and whines about losing the election. According to the Trump Archive, as of December 30 Trump has sent out his 216th tweet using the word “rigged” to describe the election. Trump averages at least one such tweet every single day. He hasn’t mentioned coronavirus, on the other hand, since December 8.
Thanks to the Bob Woodward tapes, we now know this bastard lied to the American people about the severity of coronavirus. He has brought America to where it currently is. With just 4.2% of the population of the world, America claims a staggering 20% of the world’s coronavirus deaths. (Paradoxically, one of the worst recorded outbreaks in the United States is among White House staff, who ought to be among the most well-protected people on earth. Trump’s cavalier attitude toward mask-wearing and social distancing is directly responsible.)
There is still no coordinated effort to track and control this virus. The “stable genius” is too busy playing golf and whining about the election. Jared Kushner, the human punchline that Donald Trump installed to head up a “shadow task force” on coronavirus is too busy managing shell corporations to steal money from the Trump campaign. Mike Pence, head of the main coronavirus task force, is once again missing in action.
Why is the richest country in the world failing so spectacularly at containing coronavirus? Because in the world of the Republican, the only thing that matters is money. People — especially poor people — can go ahead and die. People of color are overrepresented in coronavirus deaths by a factor of 4. Republican politicians don’t care about them, particularly because most of them vote Democratic.
Most Americans who keep re-electing these sociopaths seem incapable of connecting the dots. They continue to worship at the feet of Donald Trump. They continue to re-elect monsters like Mitch McConnell, who only gets 9% of his campaign money from individuals who live in Kentucky. The rest comes from Wall Street.
What can you do as an individual? Against coronavirus: wear a mask, socially distance, wash your hands, avoid unnecessary gatherings. Against the Trump Virus and the Republican Virus: vote, stay involved, talk to people, write and run for public office. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.