Atlanta You can’t make this stuff up! What an unbelievable year and election season hammered by both the economic depression and the pandemic. And, now, darned if the White House isn’t a coronavirus hotspot! Both Donald and Melania Trump have now tested positive, as has former communications boss and longtime close personal and political aide, Hope Hicks.
Once again, the virus proves that it is the superpower able to wreck entire economies, infect millions, and kill hundreds of thousands in the United States alone, and, like climate change and so many other things, reminds most of us that we are fragile organisms living in an environment and world beyond our control. Although that is an obvious insight that most of us have had to embrace throughout the pandemic, it is a lesson now being taught to the president at his peril.
Given Trump’s resistance to admitting the devastating power of the coronavirus, his claims of immunity, his refusal to wear a mask, his persistent performance at rallies claiming he was at a distance from people, his adamant opposition to experts and scientists, his advocacy of quack cures, his insistence on pell-mell reopening of schools and businesses, and his encouragement to his followers to protest social distancing and any precautions around the virus, the fact that he and his wife now are stricken is almost mythic. The Greeks were eloquent on the dangers of hubris. Achilles’ heel is an oft told tale. Don’t tempt the gods is an oft repeated warning. Among his evangelical followers, it will be hard for them to get the phrase, “pride cometh before a fall” out of their heads, perhaps for years, but certainly in the remaining 30-odd days before the election.
We all knew this was coming. Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, had already fallen victim earlier, despite making precautions. Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom Prime Minister, the mini-me Trump-wannabe of the British Isles had already had a similar comeuppance that landed him in the hospital. Johnson, like Trump, is not a posterchild for personal fitness either, although Trump at 74 years and 245 pounds has always been a susceptible candidate for the virus. Worrisome to many is that Trump has also been as forthcoming about his real physical condition and unexplained hospital visits, including one fairly recently, as he has been transparent on this taxes and personal finances, which is to say, not at all.
Reportedly, the news was released after midnight. Speculation reigns supreme now. The Trumps are quarantining in the White House. If doing so for fourteen days, as recommended by the CDC and the experts, that would put a kibosh to the October 15th schedule for the second debate. Needless to say, he won’t be dropping in on any airport hangar press conferences, although I’m sure he’ll be tweeting like crazy.
One never wishes illness or worse on anyone, and I wish the Trumps and all virus sufferers’ speedy recovery, but I will point out a silver lining in the cloud over the White House. Trump supporters seeing their hero stricken may finally embrace precautions, whether Trump changes course based on his personal experience or not. Red state governors may finally change course. Prudence and science may lead us, rather than pride and politics. Trump with the virus may finally force the country from the top to bottom to take the virus seriously, so we can get rid of it. That would be a good thing.