With the dual threat of a rampaging Covid crisis, still unchecked, and an authoritarian President refusing to yield in spite of every failure at the ballot box, and the courts, it is crucial that we as a nation hone our skills in how we communicate the genuine threat he poses to our nation, and our future.
Slavish Trump devotee Geraldo Rivera recently suggested that we name the Covid Vaccine, the "Trump Vaccine" as homage to his alleged efforts to resolve the devasting effects of the pandemic. He said Make it like, 'Have you got your Trump yet?' It would be a nice gesture to him, and years from now it would become kind of a generic name. Have you got your Trump yet? I got my Trump; I'm fine."
As repulsive and bewildering this suggestion is, he did get it half right. In light of the ongoing, incalculable devastation to Americans from Covid that has been directly attributable to Trump by virtue of his inaction, inattention, the downplaying of its effects and his pathological narcissism guiding all of his decisions, I firmly believe it would be entirely appropriate to rename Covid 19 "The Trump Virus." Why not? 14 million American "got" their Trump Virus. The Mad King himself engaged his own rebranding strategy referring to Covid as "The China Plague" countless times. America leads the world in deaths, and cases. Why? "The Trump Virus." Turnabout is indeed fair play, and there is another, even more important component to this branding effort namely, his ongoing legacy, the "Cult of Trump" and the extent to which it will plague our Democratic institutions for years to come.
Numerous former Administration officials, confidants, advisors and even family members have referred to Trumpism as a cult. It clearly meets the criteria. America is now confronted with not only a tribalistic, divided country, witness the incomprehensible challenges to the very clear results of the election with totally irrational and easily disproven accusations of rampant voter fraud. We must now recognize, and acknowledge that the "Cult of Trump" has been, and in spite of his loss to Biden, will continue to be a clear and present danger to our nation.
With over a quarter of a million fellow citizens falling victim to the Covid pandemic, and a daily death toll exceeding a thousand or more, we are seeing the equivalent of a Jonestown, or two, each and every day in America. That terrible event, the result of a cult movement, claimed 909 lives in Jonestown Guyana in 1978. While the analogy often used in the media regarding the death toll from Covid being the same as "three jumbo jets crashing daily" is a vivid image, no one could possibly imagine that occurring with FAA regulations and the current oversight of transportation safety. Two 727 Max jets crashed due to a defect almost two years ago, and the entire fleet of that plane was only recently allowed to fly again.
As daunting and almost incomprehensible as it may seem, the Jonestown analogy is significantly more resonate, accurate and in my estimation, sadly needed to sufficiently shock the collective consciousness of a nation still in the grip of a cult phenomenon never seen before in our history. It's a branding challenge of the highest moral order. It's "The Trump Virus." With the Woodward tapes clearly demonstrating Trump's knowledge of the dangers of Covid as early as January, it has been obvious to everyone that it has always been about him, his image, his "numbers" and never the safety and well-being of the American people. His refusal to even speak with the Biden transition team as Covid numbers explode everywhere is, and must be seen as criminal. It is time to stop being "polite" about this phenomenon, and get tough, especially with the cowards and enablers of the Mad King in the Senate. It's the "Trump Virus."
Carl Bernstein has referred to these acts of omission as "Homicidal negligence." A fitting phrase if there ever was one. It is tragically simple to see unmistakable parallels between the Jonestown tragedy in 1978, and the daily Covid death count today. Many victims of the virus are "collateral damage" from cult behavior, ignoring all admonitions to be safe. South Dakota, fiercely led by a Trump ally, Governor Noem has a 56% positive Covid test ratio, and the highest death rate from Covid on Planet Earth. Yet, she proudly proclaims "We are free!" Yes, free from logic, science, common sense and human decency, that is certain.
It has been widely reported that patients dying from Covid in South Dakota hospitals, gasping for breath, nearing their final moments scream with denial that it could be Covid, cursing at everyone in sight. Are they prayerfully exiting this mortal coil? No! They staunchly defend their Dear Leader and his denialism with their final breath. This is astonishing. Textbook cult behavior. It's the "Trump Virus."
In spite of the fact that President Elect Biden will take office on January 20, 2021, with a Covid response team already assembled, this nation faces a sobering challenge above and beyond the defeat of Covid. It is contending with the remnants of the Trump cult, most of whom are up in arms, emboldened and empowered in spite of the loss of Dear Leader to Biden, ready willing and able to defend his "honor" and continue the fight against reason, and the relentless assault on democracy however that may manifest. Most members of the Republican Party, most notably in the Senate have been cowed and rendered helpless by The Mad King, even after his defeat demonstrating the power Trump continue to wield over his minions.
The press, and far too many segments of the public continue to clutch their pearls in fear of offending Trump supporters, concerned about ruffling their feathers. After all, they number 73 million strong, we cannot discount them right? What we can, and must discount are the cult members, the fanatics, the true believers who are the source of the problem.
There are countless millions of Trump supporters who are not cult members, whose support of him stems from pragmatic policy positions, or simple rejection of the Democratic Party and its plans for the future of America. How we long for the days of debate over policy. Remember that time? We must reach them, first of all, and do our level best to join together in peacefully defeating what many have referred to as "the other virus." The Cult of Trump, the "Trump Virus." Pass it on.