Archive for March, 2020

Donald Trump: America’s Sanitation Commissioner

31 Mar

Although ‘the Simpsons’ does not hold the strangle hold on pop culture it did in the mid-to-late 90s, it still receives an incredible amount of praise for its clairvoyance in predicting events decades in advance. And rightly, so as their track record is indeed impressive ranging from dissecting the Higgs Boson to Roy’s tiger attack. However, of all these predictions, perhaps the most astounding was its passing reference to Donald Trump being President of the United States in an episode where precocious 8 year old Lisa has a vision of her herself as President. At the time it was a humorous throwaway line in an a supremely humorous episode, but now in a post-2016 World it is a quintessential example of ‘the Simpsons’ power of prediction.

However, while ‘the Simpsons’ did an impressive job in predicting that Trump would in fact become President, I submit that there is another episode that does an even more impressive job of actually illuminated in stunning clarity what a Trump presidency would actually look like.

In the episode titled ‘Trash of the Titans’, family patriarch Homer dissatisfied with his garbage collection and the smugness of Springfield’s long-time but diligent sanitation commissioner Ray Patterson voiced by Steve Martin, takes it upon himself to run for Patterson’s job. Of course not only does Homer not have any experience in public service and but he also has a long track record of stupidity, failure, and incompetence that his entire community is aware of. However, in order to circumvent these hurdles and avoid dealing with his short-comings head on, Homer undertakes a campaign that relies on a mix of grade school mockery of his (qualified) opponent, taking cheap shots at Mexico, and a litany of commitments promising voters everything under the sun if he is elected. Who can forget his epic, “My men will do all your messy jobs. They’ll wash your car, scrub your shower, air out your stinkables,” rant. Ultimately voters fail to heed Mr. Patterson’s warning about candidates that make impossible promises and end up electing the “sleazy lunatic” with the long confirmed history of sleazy lunacy. More specifically, although Homer initially convinces everyone he has what it takes to get the job done, shortly after the election it becomes apparent that his stupidity and moronic agenda have led the town to disaster. In short his tenure in office is an abject failure necessitating the town to move the entire town a few miles down the road because Springfield has become overrun with garbage.

Now contrast this episode with Donald Trump’s election and subsequent presidency and I defy you not to be horrified by the parallels. It is almost as if Matt Greoning and Co. built a time machine in 2020 and went back 20 years just to warn the American public of exactly what happens when you elect a sleazy lunatic into a position that they are dangerously unqualified and too unscrupulous to do. Unfortunately for the United States, and of course the rest of the World by extension, Americans did not just elect an imbecile as sanitation commissioner of some small mid-western town, but instead made him the leader of the entire free world. Shortly after Trump’s election I joined the chorus of people who warned that the desperate and hopeful Americans taken in by Trump’s Machiavellian rhetoric that not only would his presidency do nothing more than help enrich Trump and his fat-cat friends, but would be devastating for the most vulnerable Americans and endanger their already fragile place in society.  Unfortunately, not only did Trump (at least temporarily) enrich his fellow 1 percent-ers  with a huge corporate tax break that led them to engage in an unprecedented level of stock buy backs that  allowed shareholders and Fortune 500 executives to get super rich (at least temporarily), but his 3 years in office have been devastating for everyone else, and sadly, even worse than one could imagine. From attacking the intelligence community, to turning xenophobia into immigration law, to destabilizing the EPA and torching any and all climate change initiatives, to emboldening racists at home, to starving farmers and impoverishing Middle America with ridiculous trade policies and tariffs, to his efforts to strip millions of Americans of their health care, to taking billions out of Social Security and Medicare, to getting impeached for attempting to strong-arm a European ally, to systematically dismantling nearly every American institution including the Constitution with his ridiculous agenda, Trump has been a Tsunami that has devastated the entire nation and what America claims to stand for. All of this of course was before January 2020 and before the Coronavirus epidemic after which his incompetence truly knew no bounds given his handling of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic.

Although the first case of Coronavirus was only discovered only in late 2019, American intelligence and health officials were signalling the White House for weeks since that first case that there was an invisible danger about to spread across the globe. Many of these same  officials warned that the United States was dangerously unprepared to handle the spread of the novel virus and that the Trump administration’s scrapping of the NSC pandemic unit office in 2018 (along with many other questionable decisions) left Americans that much more in jeopardy. The question is why did Trump wait to take any action on the Coronavirus threat?

The answer appears quite simple. Much like all fat-cats, Trump values money more than anything else. More specifically, despite all of Trump’s failures in office, the one objective positive he could point to was the rise of the stock market during his tenure. This of course was despite the fact that the market only rebounded under Trump’s predecesser who inherited a devastated economy under the watch of another over-his-head Republican President and that Trumps gains, while impressive are nowhere near the gains and upward tragectory realized under President Obama. However, to be fair the stock market was up considerably under Trump’s first three years in office and that is (was) impressive. However, the danger that occurs one rests their entire record precariously on one achievement is that it will not take much to topple said person’s legacy should that achievement become exposed and become a failure. Unfortunately, not only did the Coronavirus pandemic and Trump’s handling of the pandemic erase all of the stock market gains that were realized during his tenure, it would appear that Trump’s fear of a stock market crumbling and what that would do for his future in office (and legacy overall) was the primary force driving Trump to ignore the advice of so many experts who tried to warn his administration of the looming Coronavirus threat. For weeks Trump, his lackeys, and sycophants at Fox News ignored the evidence and warnings of health officials and dismissed the level of danger posed by the novel virus and even went so far as to dismiss it as nothing more than a democratic hoax. However, as global deaths from the Coronovirus began to spike even the Trump administration began to wake up and despite again publically labelling the novel virus as a democratic hoax at a rally on February 28th, by March 11 Trump was on TV delivering a Presidential Address wherein he stated that America was under siege by an invisible threat and that his administration was (now) taking the threat posed by the virus seriously. However, as the stock market continued to crash and trillions of dollars in market caps were wiped away, Trump again began to act in a ridiculous fashion as he began again downplay the threat of the Coronavirus, wage war on Governors who were taking the threat seriously and voicing their concerns publically, advocate the use of untested treatments for the virus, delay implementation of the Defence Production Act,  bizarrely and dangerously claim that America would be back to business as usual by Easter, and even went as far as to claim healthcare professionals who were risking their lives on the front lines at hospitals across the nation were stealing masks and other equipment to explain medical supply shortages! Of course every health official, consciencious politician and semi-conscious citizen rallied against Trump ludicrous behaviour with regards to rhetoric and handling of the virus  and particularly were harsh on his  market driven approach to health care and determine what was in the best interests of the American population.

To state Trump’s response to the Coronavirus as anything less than a complete catastrophe would be an understatement. Trump’s (intentional) delay in taking the Coronavirus seriously coupled with his mixed messages and delayed implementation of national strategy, including but not limited to immediately implementing the Defence Production Act which would have enabled health care professionals around the country to get adequate levels of supplies they desperately need, have led to a crisis of epic proportions. This is not hypebole. As of writing this article the United States already has the highest number of people afflicted with Coronavirus in the entire World and just this past weekend Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the seemingly only competent member of Trump’s current administration has stated that deaths in the United States are likely to range between 100,000 to 200,000 flowing from the millions of Coronavirus infections that are likely to transpire over the coming weeks.

While the Coronavirus itself is certainly not the fault of Donald Trump, his irresponsible actions and reckless disregard for the  threat posed by the virus have put all Americans at an increased risk of not only catching the virus, but dying from it as well. While many President’s have certainly undergone dramatic crashes of the stock market, not only has Trump seen all of the gains attained while he was in office wiped out, his incompetence with regards to his handling of the Coronavirus has threaten the lives of millions of Americans (again not hyperbole) and have led to many people already regarding his failure(s) regarding his handling of the Coronavirus epidemic as the greatest failure of leadership in United States history.

America I present to you your Sanitation Commissioner, President Donald J. Trump.

While Americans cannot simply pack up and move a couple miles down the road as the Springfieldians once did, there are a few steps they can undertake to both address the current Coronavirus epidemic and help mitigate future crises, particularly those concerned with health and safety:

First- continue to practice social distancing until such times as qualified health officials state it is safe to discontinue the practice.

Second- press their current leaders to do all they can to implement the Defense Production Act and nationalize the supply chain to ensure that health care professionals are in the best possible position to receive the supplies and tools they need.

Third- ensure Trump is removed from office at the first viable opportunity. The removal of other reckless, irresponsible, and possible criminal leaders like Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, Richard Burr, and Kelly Loeffler should follow in short order.

Fourth- elect leaders who will immediately implement universal health care to ensure adequate health care for all Americans by guarding society’s most vulnerable and ensure that the health of  those who lose their jobs, and in turn their health insurance, are not left unprotected. It is truly astonishing that politicians who claim that universal health care is socialism are the same politicians who helped to again bail out billionaires and corporate elites who again mismanaged their companies and failed to ensure an adequate reserve fund for times of crisis.

Fifth- elect leaders who will ensure that a $15 dollar minimum wage becomes the standard across all of America.  While doctors and nurses are on the front lines risking their lives during the Coronavirus epidemic, it should not be lost on anyone that line-cooks, delivery persons, warehouse workers, retail employees, farm labour and a host of other persons who earn minimum wage are also putting their own safety on the line by occupying and working in public spaces. These people immediately need to be compensated for their heroic efforts during this time of crisis and beyond. Until such time as the $15 dollar wage becomes the standard, Americans should do all they can to tip and be as generous as possible to all people who work during times of crisis.

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