How predictable was it that these red-state governors would ride Trump right to the bottom?
How predictable was it that the virus would feed on our stupidity? That it would luck into an administration with just the right blend of cruelty and incompetence? That it would thrive on misinformation?
I thought the big surge might happen in May, but the virus doesn’t work on my schedule. It took its time. It wanted to make sure we, as a nation, could take our very best shot at being as stupid as we could possibly be. A shot we did not throw away.
Now, the Mississippi legislature, when not making horrendous decisions, has become a Covid vector all by itself, with a full twenty percent of its members testing positive.
Now, Houston, with its famously robust medical system, is seeing its hospitals overwhelmed, even as its Fire and EMT units are finding depressing numbers of people dying in their own homes, unattended.
Now, Arizona (population: 7 million) produces more Covid cases per day than the entire continent of Europe (population: 450 million).
Now, Florida is making Arizona look responsive and responsible. And Disney World just reopened.
For the virus, this is the best of times. While it mostly ignores politics, it’s showing a definite preference for Republican states. Why not? They’re target-rich environments. What virus wouldn’t want to live and work where the neighbors are so welcoming?
But let’s take a moment to acknowledge, by name, these governors who’ve failed so abysmally at basic governance:
Greg Abbot of Texas, Ron DeSantis of Florida, Greg Ducey of Arizona, Brian Kemp of Georgia.
All white, all male, all Republican, all corrupt. They’re not the only ones. But they’re the ones most likely to see indictments once this is over.
These fools just had to reopen. They just had to do what the Dear Leader ordered. No matter how transparently deluded Trump was. No matter how easy it would have been to listen to the scientists, who were telling them exactly what was happening and what to do about it.
They know Trump was lying. They know Trump lies with every word out of his mouth. Did they not sense that his lies might drag them down? That he’d press them into decisions that were sure to backfire? That he’d talk them into leading their constituents, maskless, into a massacre? Just so he could win re-election?
They did it anyway. Think about that. They put millions of lives in jeopardy, for reasons that were entirely political, entirely cynical. They were afraid of getting primaried, so they sat back and let their own people die in staggering numbers. What part of death did they not understand?
They bought into Trump’s warped notion that his only hope for re-election was a thriving economy by November. And now, because of their actions, such an economy is guaranteed not to happen.
Meanwhile, even as these governors — and their legislators — are busy mismanaging a pandemic, they’re also racking up bills. Huge bills. They can’t flatten their curves, so the virus is now bludgeoning their budgets. Even as it kills their constituents. By reopening several months too soon, they passed up any benefit that might have accrued from keeping their populations locked down. And now they have to start over.
Which means they now need big government. Bigger than ever. Bigger than their worst nightmares. They’ve spent their whole careers making government the problem, and now that problem is their only solution. The irony would be delicious if it weren’t so lethal.
Meanwhile, the good governors are humble. I live in a state that has been exemplary in its curve-flattening practices, with a governor who has been all one could wish for in a crisis leader. Still, our numbers are creeping up again. Not spiking, not like the south, at least not yet. But who among us is confident it will stay that way?
The virus, of course, couldn’t be happier. It doesn’t care how much money we run out of. It’s as indifferent to economics as it is to politics. It’s interested only in warm lungs. Which we continue to provide in large numbers.