Could it be that Donald Trump has been playing twelve-dimensional chess after all?During the 2016 campaign, the xenophobic Trump promised to build a wall at our southern border and get Mexico to pay …
Could it be that Donald Trump has been playing twelve-dimensional chess after all?
During the 2016 campaign, the xenophobic Trump promised to build a wall at our southern border and get Mexico to pay for it.
Now, thanks to President Trump, there is at least a virtual wall around America— only it’s one designed to keep Americans in, rather than keep foreigners out.
At a time when most other developed countries in the world are more or less back to normal thanks to responsible, science-based responses to the COVID-19 epidemic, America has become the world’s cautionary tale about the effects of extreme government mismanagement of the pandemic. While we make up less than five percent of the world’s population, the U.S. is now comprising almost a third of all new COVID-19 infections worldwide. That’s not a testament to more testing, as President Trump likes to falsely claim. Many other countries have higher rates of testing than the United States, with far fewer positive results.
At a time when tourists are returning to the European Union from many countries, Americans are barred from travel to most of Europe. In fact, these days a U.S. passport isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Americans can still fly to Mexico and Turkey, but the rest of the world is virtually off limits as other countries justifiably fear that Americans will bring disease to their shores. Under the Trump administration, Americans are now getting a feel for what it’s like to be international pariahs.
And while it’s tempting to put the onus for America’s public health failure solely on a historically incompetent president and administration, the fault ultimately rests with the self-indulgent nature of far too many Americans. President Trump is the ultimate symbol of the fall of a nation that used to actually do great things. Today, we can’t even be asked to do the easy things, such as donning masks to help bring a dangerous pandemic under control.
The Greatest Generation survived the Great Depression and actually fought for liberty in World War II. They gave up their freedom temporarily to join the war effort in countless ways. They sacrificed, in some cases everything, for the good of their country and its people. And yet today’s generation can’t be bothered to even wear a mask— in part to protect the health of the Greatest Generation. And they call themselves patriots? They seem only to recognize their rights as Americans, without recognizing the obligations and responsibilities that also come with living in a free nation. Fortunately for America, prior generations better understood the concept of citizenship and duty.
Because too many Americans see “liberty” as the right to act like undisciplined children, we are, in fact, no longer free to leave our own country in most cases. We’ve been made to go sit in the corner, because nations with more mature leadership recognize the risk that the pandemic poses to their people, and they understand the degree to which the United States has failed to protect its own public.
Perhaps Donald Trump has simply given his supporters what they wanted from the start: a backward and inward-looking country with no interest in the outside world. Perhaps the COVID-19 pandemic, fueled by Trump’s ignorance and incompetence, has, in the end, given his supporters their beloved wall. It’s just that in this case, it’s a wall that’s keeping Americans inside— just as the Berlin Wall used to deny East Germans the right to travel.
In truth, America won’t have actual liberty or an improving economy until we get the pandemic under control. And that will require that we start acting like a mature and responsible nation once again.