It’s the quote of the year, or the last four.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore’ described the matter as “operating on a level of stupid I have never seen before.”
It wasn’t just stupid, he said. It was “super stupid.”
So, which of the following was it?
(A) Not finding a moment in a half dozen phone conversations to ask Vladimir Putin about bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan;
(B) Downplaying the immense likelihood of a massive Russian hack of U.S. systems;
(C) Mulling martial law to overturn the 2020 election.
Answer: Honore’ was reacting to “C” – but we can assume any number of military brass said as much about “A” and “B.”
Donald Trump said he wasn’t considering martial law after Michael Flynn suggested it in an interview. Oh, yeah, then why was Flynn in the White House talking up the idea?
A level of stupid not seen before? Sorry, General, but we’ve endured code-red levels of dumb over four calendar sweeps, and not just from the soon-to-vacate man in the White House. He’s just the super-stupid spreader.
Trump wants to blame China for the devastation wrought in this land because of COVID-19. No, considering how the virus has ravaged this country as opposed to others, the only rightful agent is willful ignorance.
Forget the spreader potential of this or any virus. The year 2020 showed the far greater contagiousness of stupidity.
Unfortunately, we cannot close our borders from that.
Our health-care providers did heroic and amazing things this year against what has cultivated in a petri dish of ignorance.
In that germ farm, rumor and preconceptions are the agents of infection; social media and agenda-driven broadcasters are the spreaders. It helps also to have a self-obsessed serial liar as president.
Trump, the man entrusted with our safety and health, stood on a White House balcony in October — after his own hospitalization with the virus — and proclaimed, “It’s going to disappear. It’s disappearing.”
Trump made the same claim or a variant of it 38 times as people continued to suffer and die.
Compatriots in Trumpian spin have been just as ignorant.
“It’s just a common cold, folks,” said Rush Limbaugh in February. Right now an American dies of the virus every 33 seconds. Tell us again it’s no big deal.
Texas Republican Louie Gohmert cavalierly walked the halls of Congress without a mask, even escorting over 100 school children on tour. His staff members said he berated them for wearing masks. Then he contracted the virus. Then he said masks might have caused it. Then he got re-elected.
What’s the chief cause of the devastation, Louie? People like you.
Texas mega-preacher John Hagee stuck to the Trumpian script and downplayed the virus. Then he got it and spent 15 days in the hospital with double pneumonia.
On the side of reason and rightful inquiry, Congressman James Clyburn, D-S.C., has subpoenaed Trump administration officials to respond to allegations that they pressured the Centers for Disease Control to alter data and reframe safety precautions in politically palatable ways.
This is the kind of inquiry to which a new Congress should commit itself. Call these hucksters back to explain themselves. Our health infrastructure never again should be a tool of science-denying fools and charlatans.
Meanwhile, Republicans seek to seed chaos with absurd claims that Democrats “stole” the election from Trump.
Republican Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick offered $1 million to anyone who could provide proof of Democrat voter fraud to help make the case. Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has put in Pennsylvania’s chit for $3 million, having found three people – all Republicans – voting multiple times.
Pay up, Mr. Patrick.
A resolution for 2021, America. Let’s resolve to no longer make it profitable to be dumb.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.