A mother wearing glasses and clothes recently stood before a Board of Education meeting on mask mandates and proclaimed, “If God wanted us to cover our mouth and nose he would have made us that way.” I wonder if she ever flies in airplanes, and if she does, I wonder where her wings are.
As long as she is inventing, what God thinks about masks, for the sake of her own addle-pated ideology, she might consult her own holy book, specifically Leviticus 13:45: “Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’” (It almost sounds like the kind of thing Samuel L. Jackson might shout before he shoots you.)
But then I suppose she’s not talking about that God. She’s talking about her other, more important, more beloved God, Donald Trump. And in his own muddled, inept and confused way, Trump probably approves. He’s smiling down on her right now, not caring whether she or her children live or die, but glad that people just like her are around to confuse the issue and make his work of spreading chaos and death across America as punishment for the sin of not re-electing him that much easier.
Well the issue is decidedly confused, and it’s actually happening already, brothers and sisters, and sooner than I thought. What I wrote only a few days ago, that doctors may soon have to decide to withhold treatment from anti-vaxxers, is now a matter of policy for certain Texas hospitals.
Hospitals in North Texas have “quietly developed” a strategy allowing doctors to take vaccination status into account when deciding how to triage intensive-care beds, the Dallas Morning News reported. “A copy of an internal memo written by Dr. Robert Fine, co-chair of the North Texas Mass Critical Care Guideline Task Force, was sent to members of the task force,” the newspaper said. “Although their recommendations are not enforceable, the guidelines are generally followed.”
In short, anti-vaxxers are reaping what they have sown, and far more quickly than we might have imagined. It has an almost Biblical, if not Shakespearean, resonance to it. In the words of parliamentarian John Bright, “The Angel of Death has been abroad throughout the land; you may almost hear the beating of his wings.” Anti-vaxxers and the Republican scum who encourage them are already dying in huge, apocalyptic numbers. That would be perfectly okay if it weren’t for the fact that they are also taking many of us and their children with them.
Meanwhile thousands of counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards from China have been seized at the Alaska Port of Entry. Somebody check for bamboo.
The irony to all this is that Donald Trump, on a whim, turned one way when he could have just as easily turned another. He zigged when he could have just as easily zagged. He might have advocated masks and social distancing and hand washing and vaccines with the same zeal with which he advocated hydroxychloroquine and bleach, and the drooling cretins who follow him would have believed him. Had he done so the anti-vaxxer nut job population would be much, much smaller today than it is, and Fox News wouldn’t be spreading anti-mask and anti-vaccine propaganda hundreds of times a week.
But as part of his transactional, moment-by-moment, arbitrary whimsy, Donald Trump made a policy that will end in the deaths of millions of people. The chain of causality is easy to follow. Trump says something, Fox News endlessly repeats it, millions die. In the final analysis, millions will have died in the service of Trump’s ego, which is smarting because he lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden. It would be funny were it not so tragic, but Republicans are reaping what they have sown, and their harvest is their lives and the lives of their children. 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.