25 Jun President Trump: There is a MAGA Way Out of Covid
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem set the right tone at the outset of the fear pandemic, which is that in a free country with a government of limited power, aka America, the default presumptive government response to a pandemic is to make sure the people are as informed of the facts as possible, and then to let the people decide for themselves what precautions they do or do not want to take for their health.
Presume that the American people are intelligent; that they do not want to be sick or die; that they do not want their fellow citizens to be sick or die; that they will adjust their behavior to accommodate what the facts suggest should be done to be careful and wise.
Beyond that, American government has no role to play. It has no business deciding on treatment of or for ‘the masses’; it has no business picking what business activities are or are not essential; it has no business ordering some or any or all people to wear masks. Its business is to assemble and share accurate healthcare information; and to articulate the separation of what information constitutes proven science from varying medical opinions. Then let free people adjust.
There are obviously many people living in America who are perfectly comfortable with, and even insistent upon, government taking on a much more aggressive, controlling approach to something which has been labelled a national or global pandemic. These people by and large have a view of the ‘masses’ as ignorant and incapable of deciding anything for themselves; they also view ‘experts’ in scientific-sounding fields such as epidemiology as paragons of selfless, objective, no-agenda, trustworthy servants who care only about what is right and good for individual and collective health.
Such people are entitled to their opinions. But they are acutely in need of broader knowledge of what American freedom really means, how rare it is, and how it must be honored and preserved through the thick and thin of American experience. Even in a pandemic.
Whether due to his admitted germaphobia, his desire for Jared and Ivanka’s approval, or the ‘public health experts’ approval, or a narcissistic inability to acknowledge error, President Trump has been unwavering in his public characterization of covid as ‘the plague’ and his encouragement of the initial sweeping shutdown as the right prescription that saved ‘millions’ of lives.
The simple truth is that a disease that has allegedly killed approximately 120,000 Americans is NOT the plague (and there is substantial empirical evidence suggesting this may be a grossly inflated number).
Further, the simple truth is that there is no scientific evidence whatsoever to support the notion that the mass shutdown of the economy saved any lives, much less thousands of lives, much less millions of lives. It’s nothing but a wishful, self-justifying, non-disprovable belief, but it’s apparently one that President Trump is determined to keep peddling to the American people.
President Trump has been frustratingly unable or slow to see how his determination to stick to the rightness of the initial national shutdown is relentlessly interfering with and blocking the nation’s ability to recover. So long as he sticks with equating the onset of covid with the arrival of ‘the plague’, what does he think businesses like airlines and restaurants are going to have to do? What does he think professional sports are supposed to do with reintroducing the idea of public crowds?
The answers are clear every day: airlines can’t allow themselves to be viewed as spreading the plague, so…every passenger has to be temperature-checked, must wear a mask, and likely coming soon—no passenger can fly without having been tested within X days of departure. This is utterly insane in terms of a plan to recover from the shutdown, but completely sane if the President keeps telling the American people we are dealing with or recovering from the plague.
Similarly, restaurants—a huge segment of the small business portion of the economy—can’t figure out how to operate. Nobody can eat with a mask on. How long do tables have to be spaced six feet apart? Is plasticware mandatory or optional? How long must wait staff be masked? All of this is unworkable and silly if you want restaurants to get back in business; but it is reasonable if almighty government has determined mass death from the plague is the alternative.
And professional sports? Never mind the social justice warrior sideshows over the national anthem, how can people sitting in the stands be ‘properly policed’—e.g. a husband and wife from the same household can sit together…but what about roommates? What about friends who’ve been tested? Or who’ve been tested, but not recently? What about ticket holders with proof of sufficient antibodies?
The inevitable answer was going to be no crowds, because there isn’t any rational alternative if it is a given that we are dealing with the plague. And now, no crowds may very well lead to no interest, no matter how the games are packaged for television or streaming consumption.
President Trump has locked himself into ‘a mandatory vaccine is the only hope’ path back to anything resembling normalcy. This is extremely precarious for his Presidency and for America. His entire administration is now overwhelmingly motivated to embrace a vaccine before it is really proven (and that’s assuming any vaccine will ultimately be developed that really zeroes in on a known strand of covid that is the ‘real’ problem). Moreover, a mandatory vaccine–especially a ‘microchipped’ version–raises all sorts of ugly Big Brother vibes that do not sit well with many in Trump’s base of deplorables, and even with many not in his support base. Talk about a Deep State war on American freedom! That’s a recipe for continuing frustration and potentially a massive breach of trust with the American people.
The reality is President Trump has been masterful and even heroic in almost singlehandedly facing down and saving America from unimaginable levels of Deep State treachery in the Russia collusion hoax and the Ukraine impeachment scam. It was becoming suspicious three months ago as to whether the Deep State’s fingerprints were involved in the pandemic; as the blue states seem determined to drag out the shutdown until November, that suspicion has only increased. Yet the ‘pandemic reopening paralysis’ President Trump is currently facing is by this time largely a trap of his own making.
There is no need for President Trump to remain stuck in this trap. There is a MAGA way out. MAGA captures the spirit of Trump’s bond with millions of Americans. MAGA is about recognizing the goodness and greatness of America and Americans, which is all about acknowledging the value of freedom and free people as the foundational strength of the country.
So please Mr. President, go back to relying on that strength. Go with the South Dakota approach. Acknowledge what we know now as compared to what we didn’t know back in January and February. Covid is not nearly as lethal as feared; it is not a plague or anything close to a plague; vulnerable groups are identifiable and protectable; treatments other than vaccines have been effective; the testing that uncovers a ‘spike’ in new ‘cases’ is not proof of proliferation of a mass death threat—by itself it’s nothing more than proof of more testing of a contagious disease. Empirical evidence suggests most cases now are asymptomatic.
Let free Americans live their lives and make the adjustments they determine to be wise and effective. Get back to living in America. MAGA.
Eric Georgatos blogs at America Can We Talk?