Words were medicine; they were magic and invisible. They came from nothing into sound and meaning. They were beyond price; they could neither be bought nor sold.
– N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn (1968)
It is hard to know how the trump will impart important information to his acolytes now that the campaign rallies have come to a merciful end. Both they and we have grown accustomed to surprising revelations being made by the trump at those rallies, revelations that provide information that might otherwise not have been imparted to his devoted followers, as well as to the rest of us.
We have, over the course of the trump tenure, grown accustomed to the dispensation of medical advice, prognosis, and explanation from the trump. A recent event, however, showed that the trump is, when the occasion warrants, willing to take advice from those who, on the surface at least, are completely lacking in any sort of qualification that would cause them to be in a position to render advice to the trump. But first things first. The October surprise.
The October Surprise pertained to the increasing number of deaths in the United States from the coronavirus even though, as the trump has repeatedly explained, “we have rounded the corner.” Because of the ignorance of the coronavirus (which lacks the cognitive skills of both the trump and its detractors,) it didn’t see the corner coming and completely missed the turn. The unfortunate consequence of the missed turn was that the number of people it is affecting has grown rather than, as the trump has repeatedly proclaimed at his rallies, shrunk.
The foregoing was not the most startling trump revelation. An even more astonishing revelation was imparted by the trump, appropriately, one day before Halloween. That was when the trump explained to his adoring followers that the spread of the virus had nothing to do with the left’s attribution of that phenomenon to the trump’s incompetence. The spread of the virus, explained the trump, was attributable to the avarice of the very medical professionals most people believed had been devoting their lives to preserving the lives of Covid victims rather than increasing their personal wealth. Here’s how he said it works.
The government pays a premium of 20% for the care of Medicare patients with Covid. Speaking at the October 30 rally the trump said: Our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID. . .. Our doctors are very smart people. So what they do is they say, “I’m sorry, but you know everybody dies of COVID.” And it is that incentive, said the trump, that causes them to fraudulently attribute the death of their patients to Covid when filling out death certificates, even when the death was unrelated to the virus. That of course, caused people to believe that the number of deaths attributable to the virus was increasing when, in fact, it was not.
All of the foregoing was not the most striking bit of news that we learned from the last trump rallies. What we learned is that the trump was accepting medical advice from his devoted followers even though it had not been solicited by the trump. The willingness of the trump to accept that advice became apparent at the post-midnight rally that took place at the Miami Opa-Locke airport in the early morning hours of November 2, 2020. The campaign itself was taking place after midnight in violation of the curfew imposed by Miami-Dade county on gatherings after midnight. The applicable ordinance states that it was enacted because it was “necessary to safeguard life and health as parties and gatherings late at night have the potential to spread Covid-19.”
The most notable thing about the gathering, however, was not the trump defiance of the curfew. It was the fact that it became the vehicle for the trump to receive and accept a bit of medical advice from a most unusual source-the enthusiastic mob that was in attendance and had, mysteriously, acquired some knowledge about controlling the virus that it imparted to the trump. Apparently spontaneously (or so it appeared to the outside observer) the crowd began chanting in unison: “Fire Fauci, fire Fauci.” What the trump had not ever publicly done before this rally, was to accept medical advice from laymen. The trump listened quietly to the chanting for a few seconds and then let the crowd know that he had heard their medical advice and might, indeed, even heed it. In response to the crowd’s chanting he said in a confidential way that only the trump can assume when addressing a crowd of thousands: “Don’t tell anybody but let me wait until a little bit after the election. I appreciate the advice. I appreciate it.” His reaction might have come as a surprise to some, but for those accustomed to looking at sources from which the trump routinely takes his medical advice, a promise from him to heed the advice of a howling mob came as no surprise.
As this is written one can only hope that that may prove to be one of the last times the trump is in a position to assure an uninformed group of people that he will follow their advice with respect to governance of the United States.