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A Lethal Hypocrisy

Late last week Donald Trump and the Republican Party he leads pulled the plug on their national convention in Jacksonville, Florida. It was supposed to be an extravaganza of praise and adoration for the president, papering over the harsh reality that he has failed the nation in the face of mounting calamities. Yet, while cancelling their convention because the coronavirus pandemic is raging out of control, they’re demanding that schools reopen full time and are willing to expose the nation’s children to the risk of nearly certain disease and death they are unwilling to take. Republicans, hypocrisy, lethal hypocrisy, is thy name.

If the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,” then the president and his Republican Party now qualify as totally and completely insane. This is not fiction, nor an insult, but fact. We are now living with the results of Trump’s and the Republicans’ demands to “reopen the economy” to bolster the president’s historically unlikely chances of re-election before the pandemic was under control — and now they want to do the same thing to our children.

Here are the hard numbers: Over 4 million Americans confirmed as infected by COVID-19 with medical experts saying the number could be 10 times higher. More than 144,000 of our fellow men, women, and children are dead — and again, that’s those that have been confirmed while the real number is likely much higher.

Those states that took the president’s bad advice to reopen quickly are now the states confronting overwhelming infection and death rates. Yet, even as Florida issues mandatory masking, this incredibly foolish president refuses to issue a national mandate and only recently admitted that the medical advice to wear a mask was a “good idea.” But he still believes it’s a personal choice and we’re “protecting personal freedom” by allowing clueless individuals to wander among the populace without taking sensible precautions.

Now, the nation’s top infectious disease experts are saying we are basically back where we started and must look at fully locking down the population again to stop the currently uncontrolled spread of coronavirus.

In the face of these facts, which cannot be swept under Trump’s political rug, the president and the Republicans are demanding that schools reopen and we expose our children — the nation’s future — to needless and senseless infection and death. Add to the incredible threat to our children that their teachers, school staff, parents and grandparents would face the same medically unjustified, politically-motivated risk. As punishment the blathering bloviator masquerading as a leader says he’ll cut off federal aid to schools that don’t fully reopen.

Anyone who has raised a school-aged child with a developing immune system knows what happens without fail. They go to school, mingle with their classmates and have fun with other kids, and bring home whatever latest cough or cold is circulating through the school. There is, simply put, no way around this and no way to deny its existence.

Perhaps Trump was too busy declaring bankruptcy six times to personally experience raising school-aged children. Or perhaps this most self-centered of individuals simply puts his own political ambition ahead of our children’s, their families’ and teachers’ safety. Whatever his reasons, they are woefully deficient.

That the Republican Party continues to support Trump’s lethal demands is equally abhorrent and intolerable. Republicans, it’s time to abandon Trump’s delusional demands, acknowledge the grim fact that the pandemic is about to become a leading national cause of death, and face the outrageous hypocrisy of saving yourselves while sacrificing our children.

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George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.

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