Letter to Daytona Beach News-Journal re Trump/Rushmore.

Masked men 1

Early in Trump’s administration, he closed U.S. borders to visitors from other countries. Now, late in his administration, other countries have closed their borders to visitors from the U.S. What happened, why, and how?

The “what” is that the U.S. has gone from a place and a people others admired or at least respected to a place others look on with pity and even contempt. We have become an object of fear–not for our military or economic power, but for our being epicenter of a deadly pandemic shooting vectors of disease, suffering, and death in all directions.

“Why” and “how” were evident at Mt. Rushmore on July 3. “Why” is Trump, of course. Listening to him was like listening to a mechanical hurdy-gurdy spewing hatred, denial, lies, misinformation, and incitement to violence as its crank was turned.

His blasphemous medicine show set up wagons from which the poison elixir of fear and hate would be pitched on land sacred to the Lakota Sioux. Land guaranteed them by treaty, as confirmed by SCOTUS. Trump refused even to meet the Lakota’s leader. He scoffed at warnings of fire risk, of failure to wear masks, of ignoring social distancing.

The “how” is the combined contribution of enablers like North Dakota’s governor and the police leader who said his officers wouldn’t be required to wear masks; and of the gullible “believers,” willing to risk dying horribly and spreading disease to others at the behest of their leader.


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