We are warriors, says Donald Trump. You, me — enlistees in a war against a killer.
In waging it, however, apparently most of us have been doing the wrong thing.
We thought we did right by social-distancing, covering faces when out, and otherwise just staying home. Wrong.
No, to win this war, we should lift a frosty mug at a local tavern and order the nachos. Hey-yo, Wisconsin!
We shall fight it on the beaches. We shall fight it on the dance floors and every Karaoke Night. We shall fight it in sweaty tights at Zumba class.
Or we shall die.
Message to Trump from most Americans: You first.
It took him only a few news cycles after COVID-19 started to ravage humanity to cement his rep as the most incompetent and tone-deaf president ever. Trump insists still on adding mortar to his ranking in history books.
This is a time in history when Axl Rose, the rocker who flunked conjunctions in grade school, won an argument with Trump’s man in Treasury, Steve Mnuchin.
The Guns N’ Roses lead man blasted Mnuchin on Twitter when the latter suggested that we warriors should hit the roads, “a great time for people to explore America.”
In response, the Treasury secretary tweeted of the rock star, “What have you done for America?”
Whatever that may be, tweeted Rose, at least he bore no responsibility for tens of thousands of deaths.
At the time, the first week of May, the toll was 70,000. Those were the days.
You might say that Axl administered a cheap shot aimed at Mnuchin and his boss. But I was doing a personal inventory the other day and determined that I am doing more to fight the virus than the very man who said he’s leading the fight.
I’ve done everything possible to keep my family safe.
Other than my wife, I have not touched a family member — or any member of the human race in three months.
I go to no public gatherings. The only time I’ve been away from the safety of my home, I’ve kept six feet from others, per Centers for Disease Control advice.
I get our groceries and other supplies via curbside or delivery.
I wear a facial covering when off my property, even on walks when I encounter almost no one.
I’ve done my job as a college instructor remotely. It hasn’t been easy for me or my students.
None of these things are easy. They’re just necessary. I’ve done my job to stop the killer.
What has Donald Trump done?
He dismissed the threat of the virus as it pounded at our gates.
Now that it has arrived, he ignored much of what science says about it.
He hears his own health advisors urge social distancing and then does just the opposite.
He hears the CDC urge the wearing of masks and ignores it.
He helps foment irresponsible attacks by protesters and general resistance to governors and health experts doing their best to keep people like you and me safe.
He pooh-poohs the consequence of testing and the need for contact tracing.
He dismisses what health professionals report, to news media he derides as "fake," about shortages of PPE and testing.
He made federal assistance a game of patronage for his political friends and a game of “Bow to me” to others.
He has ignored his own health experts’ warnings against rushing the country back to “normal.” (Sorry, folks, but that definition has changed. Check back soon for details.)
Trump wants the economy going as soon as possible. Otherwise he will be gone as soon as possible: Nov. 3.
But here’s what the majority is saying: Not so flippin’ fast with the economy. You, however, can get out now.
Yes, Mr. President. Hustle out to the flea markets and the car shows. Shake hands like a madman.
See how that works.
I’m inclined to suggest that Trump convene a whole bunch of red-cap followers, packing them elbow-to-elbow sans masks.
(Don’t play into the epidemiologists’ hands. If science wins, we lose. Right, folks?)
However, that would mean more infections, more strained hospitals, more tragedy, more time to endure before the rest of us – we who have listened to scientists – can enjoy the embraces of our families.
A recent Washington Post-Ipsos poll found that 56 percent of Americans disapprove of how Trump has handled this crisis.
Additionally, 71 percent of Americans approve of their governors’ handling of the matter. That would include comparable percentages in Wisconsin and Michigan where Trump has sided with “open now” insurgents.
Sorry, Sir. A healthy majority is not about to risk that health to make you more electable, but you are invited to wing it alone.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.