Like Camus’ Caligula, The Republican Party And Donald Trump Transform ‘Philosophy Into Corpses’
It seems that in every possible way, Trump has willfully and arrogantly put more Americans at risk of getting sick and dying, and the results have been inevitable: More Americans got sick and died.
There is no way to remove Trump’s culpability in this. If your feeble effort saves two lives when an earnest, robust, science-driven effort would have saved four, are you not responsible for the two deaths?
At this point, how do we not label Trump a killer of American citizens by negligence, ignorance and incompetence?
When does the uncaring, ignorant American mismanagement of this Covid-19 pandemic become an atrocity akin to that of the Great Stalin and Churchill Starvations, the famines in the Ukraine and Bengal in the 1930s and 40s? The level of homicidal intent in these great moral atrocities of the twentieth century might be disputed but there is no gainsaying their final, deadly toll: millions dead, thanks to incoherent political philosophies and callous disregard for the human toll extracted by utopian visions and wartime tactical imperatives.
The Trump administration’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, as Blow painstakingly and forensically details, an ongoing catastrophe of ‘negligence, ignorance, and incompetence,’ fueled by deadly prejudices (that the disease would only kill liberal, multi-ethnic, minority populations of ‘blue’ states being the most offensive one), bears striking similarities to the catastrophes Stalin and Churchill engineered. The bare facts are striking: while a deadly disease has been stalking the land, the Trump administration has most plausibly ‘withheld treatment,’ that of a coherent national public health policy, from American citizens, . This deadly managerial incompetence, this refusal to act, has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, many of which could plausibly have been prevented by earlier lock-down responses, better testing strategies, and a leadership that spoke clearly of risks and dangers and advocated simply, with all the authority of the president’s office, non-intrusive public health measures like wearing masks. The charge is made simply, and the evidence is overwhelming: the Trump administration, and its enablers, the Republican Party, are culpable for the deaths of thousands of Americans.
We should, as always when writing or speaking of this administration, never indulge in the easy pleasure of describing Trump as a deranged fool, a criminal, a clown. The real power that stands behind Trump is the Republican Party, a pathetic conglomerate of young, middle-aged, old white men (and the occasional cowardly woman) desperately seeking to hold on to power through institutional capture of the Supreme Court, the Federal Courts, through gerrymandering at the state level, through naked appeals to racial rhetoric, through the shelter that the incoherent US Constitution with its rickety, Rube Goldberg design of American political institutions-depressingly for an electoral democracy, the Senate and electoral college-provides.
Like Albert Camus’ psychotic Caligula, Donald Trump and the Republican Party have successfully “transformed [their] philosophy into corpses.” There will be no Roman conspirators this time around, but the political fate that awaits this sordid pair of criminals should be no less final and unforgiving.
Originally published at http://samirchopra.com on June 25, 2020.