Even a deadly pandemic is infected with politics

Published 8:17 pm Thursday, April 9, 2020

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By Christine Flowers

A million years ago, we were worried about who was going to win the Iowa Caucuses, and then Super Tuesday, and then when Bernie Sanders was finally going to pack it in.

Now, despite what the most die-hard political operatives might believe, we really don’t give a flying fig. What we care about now is that our families, friends and other loved ones come through this dark time safely, whole and with as little damage to their bodies and their psyches as possible.

At least, that’s what we tell ourselves. But then travel over to social media or the traditional “Jurassic” media, and it’s quite a revelation. Politics are still very much involved in how we navigate this new landscape, a different planet in the same galaxy.

Actually, to be more accurate, we live on two separate planets. There is the one where the atmosphere is filled with pestilence, and the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse are called “Trump, Pence, Falwell and Fox.” And there is the one where the only thing that matters is the economy tanking, people are making too much of this “flu on steroids” and it’s all a leftist plot to turn America into Sweden (without all the pickled herring and sexy blondes.)

To be fair, there is a third planet, but it’s caught in the interplanetary crossfire between the other two, with their extreme populations that want to annihilate the enemy. I happen to live on that middle planet, and it gives me a bit of perspective on clear nights when the stars are out.

The people who absolutely hate Donald Trump are using this tragic health crisis to make sure that he does not win a second term in November (assuming we still have elections then.) They are people like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, who rail against the GOP every day and pretend that conservatives want people to die from lack of water, food and face masks.

They are not alone in blaming the administration for putting out false information, and pointing the finger at the White House for the rising body count. Certain media outlets, mostly televised but also in print, are accusing the president of telling people to buy pool-cleaner chemicals and ingest them as a preventative measure against COVID-19. When some poor fool actually did do that, his death was placed at the president’s doorstep by both innuendo (NBC News) and direct accusation (many of the people on Twitter important enough to have blue-check, verified accounts.)

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that we’ve come to this, since I’ve seen the hysteria whipped up in opponents of this president, even among lawyers I know who you’d think were intelligent enough not to let their insanity be seen in professional circles. But that is so Pollyanna of me.

On the other hand, there are other sorts of crazy out there, comprised of those who think that this pandemic is “no big deal.” Worse, I have seen some of them spouting about how George Soros orchestrated this, how it’s all a hoax to tank the economy and how we should just go out about our business. This, too, is a particular madness caused by the exact opposite of what has infected the Left: a desire to defend and protect this president at all costs, against all criticism.

To use an unavoidable pun, a plague on both their houses.

This middle planet that I inhabit with a large and comforting number of Americans does not care about scoring political points just now. I frankly have no interest in thinking about who will be the non-Hillary of 2020. I’m not even particularly interested in the “woman” that Joe Biden has promised to pick for his vice presidential candidate. I am not interested in the fact that the Olympics were canceled, that mommies are doing “Corona Blogs” from their bedrooms and that some news agencies are actually using this crisis to get subscribers.

I am interested in making sure sick people get better, and healthy people stay that way. That’s it. The team that President Trump has gathered together, with the magnificent Doctors Tony Fauci and Deborah Birx, gives me comfort that the right people are at the helm, even if they don’t always have a tight grip on the wheel. I am troubled when the president says things that contradict his scientific advisers, but equally troubled by the shenanigans of Democrats who want to use a rescue bill for the economy to pad it with lots of precious pork. Both political sides have performed horribly in this mess.

That’s why I disregard the noise from both sides, but which seems to be coming most loudly and stridently from the side trying to get rid of this president in the Fall. The time will come to deal with that honestly, and politically.

Just not now, in the midst of a life-and-death struggle.

CHRISTINE FLOWERS is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at cflowers1961@gmail.com.