America now has a problem with suicide bombers. For decades we have watched in horror as news reports and video footage from Middle Eastern countries showed us cafes, street-markets and school buildings reeling after some radical extremist ran into the center of a crowd and set off a bomb. By the time the true and final numbers of COVID-19 related deaths comes out- along with contact tracing reports that identify sites of infection- the number of people who ultimately lost their lives in American cafes, street-markets and school buildings will dwarf anything Middle Eastern terrorists ever pulled off.
Of course breathing out contaminated droplets and infecting your fellow shoppers is not nearly as dramatic as an exploding back-pack. And obviously the bomber in the American scenario is unlikely to die from the virus himself, statistically speaking. But the social engagement framework is identical: One person, because of his or her own extreme political beliefs, directly and intentionally endangers the life and welfare of other people in shared public spaces. The reckless disregard for the lives of those who do not share their belief system is the foundation of fundamentalism- and fundamentalists comes in shades of both Muslim-brown and Christian-white. The bombers of both persuasions do what they do in service and devotion to a master who encourages them in every step of their destructive journey. I realize the resistence to an inconvenient truth like this is strong- but whenever the leader of a nation starts referring to everyday citizens as “warriors” he is grooming them for maximum manipulation. And God help you if you believe that American culture has somehow aged out of its susceptibility to ethnocentric public opinion.
The objective record on Donald Trump’s leadership is clear and undeniable. As he sees it, his fortunes rise as America divides. The safest bet that anyone can make on a Trump response to any issue put before him is that he will be as intentionally divisive as he can be- and he will do so without regard to cost or consequence. Under his influence, America has degenerated to the point that people are being targeted for hostility simply because of what they are wearing. Sounds like Trump has moved all of America into Crips and Bloods territory to me. If Brother Minister Malcolm X were making a 2020 cameo appearance I bet he’d give us another “chickens coming home to roost” assessment.
As it stands right now, the Governer of North Dakota is going on television making tearful pleas for citizens of his state to stop attacking people wearing protective gear in public. I bullshit you not.
Fools in North Dakota are actually accosting and attacking people they encounter who are wearing masks and gloves to avoid contracting or spreading a deadly virus that has killed nearly 100,000 Americans.
Between pauses brought on by waves of emotion, Governor Doug Burgum explained that someone might be wearing a mask because they have cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Or they may have a child that is immuno-compromised and is at far greater risk of death from COVID-19. Or maybe they just want to be sure not to contract the virus or infect others if they may unkowingly carry the virus. As if people need an explanation or an excuse for being responsible citizens in an increasingly irresponsible country. GOP campaign veteran Steve Schmidt calls this kind of public display “freakshow politics” and I am shocked that this hasn’t become the phrase that pays in every corner of Democratic politics by now. Hopefully there’s still time.
At bottom, this governor- a Republican- was brought to tears because he can’t say on television what he probably really wants to say. He probably cannot believe some of his constituents are so callous and compromised that he even had to make such a public announcment. He probably cannot believe that so many of his constituents can be measured on a sliding scale between dumb and depraved. He is probably broken inside because he knows that American politics has been driven to a place where suicide bombers are as mainstream here as they have been in countries we have looked down upon for their savagery for so long.
Because our country is the epicenter of a deadly worldwide pandemic, every citizen in the public square must choose a side every single day. You are either doing what you can to mitigate the damage and save lives, or you have been radicalized into terrorism and see death as a necessary means to a political end. If you are in the latter group you are beyond help. The only thoughts and prayers I offer you are for your swift demise at the hand of the novel coronavirus- both politically and physically. America will be much better off without you.