Whistling In the Wind

Last week’s news was filled with reports that Trump was told back in January of the potential spread of the new coronavirus in the US and that millions of lives would be in peril unless he took immediate action to keep Americans home. Which, of course, he didn’t. Instead, he downplayed the threat and told us that everything was under control. Which, of course, it wasn’t. Unbelievably, in March when he finally admitted that this was serious stuff, he seemed “baffled” (according to his associates) by how events had played out. He said “no one could have predicted” such an epidemic. Which, of course, plenty of people did. These news reports were accompanied by logical, factual, unassailable evidence in the form of emails, memos, and quotes from administration officials as well as analysis of the results of his failure to act.

This news was clear proof of Trump’s unfitness for office. Proof that he was incapable of taking the actions necessary to protect us from a known impending threat. Proof that he was more concerned about protecting his numbers (the high stock market, the low unemployment rates) than in saving lives. He endangered American lives, and as a result people — perhaps thousands of people — have died. And when events played out as predicted, his stunted intellect was incapable of processing the fact that events had played out precisely as predicted. To those people who thought Trump was doing an acceptable job handling this crisis: Here at last was the proof you needed to convince you that he was not.

Before that, the news was filled with reports that Trump was withholding needed medical supplies from states, confusingly asserting that the federal stockpile was not intended for distribution to the states. He accused health care workers of hoarding “or worse!” (whatever that means) ventilators and masks. He threatened to withhold federal aid to states whose governors were not “nice” to him. He told states that they were “on their own” in their fight to acquire PPE, ventilators, and other medical equipment needed to help combat the onslaught of the virus. He even referred to ventilators as “generators” during one press conference. Before that there were stories of how he’d told us this disease was “like the flu” and that it would one day just disappear like “a miracle” in spite of mounting evidence around the world to the contrary. These news stories were accompanied by video clips and other on-the-record evidence of Trump’s words and behavior.

Here was clear proof of Trump’s incompetence. He had deliberately put his own selfish needs above the health and well-being of the American people and made this catastrophe worse, and endangered the lives of the health care workers who are risking their lives every day to care for individuals stricken down by the virus. And to make matters worse, his pea brain can’t even process the word “ventilator.” He confused it with “generator” as though this apocalypse is a summer storm’s power-outage that we’ll easily breeze through — meanwhile just light some candles and eat up the ice cream that’s melting in the freezer. To the Trump supporters who thought he was doing a good job handling this crisis: Here at last was the proof you needed to convince you that he was not.

Tomorrow, it will be something else. Heck, it’s already something else.

Of course, Trump’s erratic, incompetent, reckless, self-serving behavior is not limited to the COVID pandemic. We know it predates that. Just before the pandemic hit he was impeached because he withheld aid to Ukraine in order to pressure its President to investigate a political rival. There was a lengthy impeachment hearing in the House and a (less lengthy) Senate trial which meticulously laid out the ways in which he abused the power of his office for personal gain. It was accompanied by a lot of verifiable documented evidence of his behavior and logical, factual, legal arguments.

The impeachment was clear proof of Trump’s unconstitutional behavior. He deliberately abused the power of his office and undermined the Constitution of the United States, the foundational document of our Union which he swore to uphold and defend. To anybody who believed Trump was legally permitted to do what he did: Here at last was the proof you needed to convince you that he was not.

Before that, there was Russia. And ripping children from their families. And North Korea. And denying the science of climate change. And repeatedly insulting our allies. And inciting racism. And Fox News. And lies and more lies and more lies. So many lies that people have stopped counting all the lies. And so many other indefensible actions that one has simply lost track. Every one of these outrages spawned hundreds, indeed thousands, of news reports, blog posts, podcasts, tweets, memes, and endless MSNBC coverage, all accompanied by the undisputed facts. Each one thundering that this is the outrage that must finally convince you.

Don’t you get tired of reading the same thing over and over again? Don’t you get tired of posting it and sharing it? The story that says This time he’s gone too far! This outrage is the outrage that will finally convince his base that he’s incompetent. Terrible. Corrupt. Stupid. Narcissistic. That he prioritizes his own interests over the American people’s. That he doesn’t care about your economic plight, he only cares about himself. That he’s enriching himself and his family and his cronies at your expense. That he spends more time golfing than any other president. That he’s a hypocrite. That he’s incapable of telling the truth. That he has lost touch with reality.

Every day there’s indisputable proof for those who, inexplicably, still don’t see that they are being lied to and gaslighted that his behavior is beyond the pale. We’re all reading, writing, posting, and sharing so many thoroughly-researched, clearly-written articles each one of which — any single one of which — proves beyond any doubt that what he did is wrong. Immoral. Illegal. Unconstitutional. Unprecedented. All backed up with undisputed concrete facts. Not speculation. Not fake news. Facts. Quotes from sources inside the White House. Agency officials. People not authorized to speak publicly. All proof that even people inside his own administration are concerned. Are worried. Are terrified. Believe he broke the law. That he’ll cause a war. That he’ll cause irreparable harm. Which, of course, he has. We’re all frantically trying to make or share that one argument that creates the first tiny crack in the dam so that eventually the whole thing breaks and all of his support suddenly rushes out in a giant flood.

But that’s a dream that will never happen. None of the arguments ever work. None of it gets through to Trump’s supporters.

It’s as though every day we’re search desperately for that magic phrase that will finally break the spell that has Trump supporters transfixed. And every day we fail. Why? Because there is no magic phrase. No “abracadabra” will awaken them from their stupor.

It’s time to let it go.

We need to wake up to the fact that those folks will never be saved. Whether because they don’t want to be saved, or because for some reason they can’t let go of their delusions, the fact is, if someone hasn’t accepted the truth by now, they never will. And there’s nothing more we can do. You can lead a horse to water, as they say.

At this point, if you’re still writing the posts, retweeting the tweets, arguing with your friends and neighbors, you have got to know that you’re whistling in the wind. You’re never going to get through to them.

You are never going to get through.

It’s time to let it go.

I, for one, am tired of whistling in the wind.

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