Trust me, by now I’m as tired of writing about elections as you are reading about them. But with little more than two weeks left before we choose our president for the next four years, now’s the time for people to say what they want to say.
And it’s occurred to me the past four years since our last election has just been the gift that keeps on giving for Vladimir Putin.
Chaos, confusion, crisis and incompetence – these were no doubt the ingredients Putin saw when he first laid eyes on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. But I’m guessing even he couldn’t have foreseen such a payoff when his cronies took an active role in helping to ensure Trump’s election that year.
Now look around – America is literally on fire, we’re shooting each other in the streets, our institutions are being undermined, our election process is being slandered by our own White House and we’re getting battered by the 21st-century equivalent of the plague. I can almost picture Putin reclining in his lair, gleefully rubbing his hands together like a James Bond villain and crowing, “Imagine what that fool could do in another four years?”
Two recent instances really emphasize this point for me. The first occurred last week when more than a dozen men were charged with federal and state crimes related to a plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan and violently overthrow the state government, including attacks on police. They allegedly planned to try Gov. Meg Whitman for treason, and also considered kidnapping the governor of Virginia as well.
These men were reportedly upset about lockdown orders issued in these states to protect residents from the spread of the coronavirus. You’ll recall Trump back in April tweeted “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and “LIBERATE VIRGINA!” – exactly one day after issuing guidelines for states to follow to protect residents from the spread of the coronavirus.
Now, if these guys had been associated with antifa groups and targeted Republican governors, you can be sure Trump would be calling for their scalps the way he once demanded the execution of the Central Park Five (who were later found innocent, by the way.) But you won’t hear him go after white nationalists or, frankly, anyone who supports him. And under Trump, these guys are feeling emboldened.
Just this past week, a self-acknowledged white nationalist in Colorado pleaded guilty to planning the bombing of a synagogue there in Pueblo. In August, a dumb teenage Trump supporter from Illinois went to Wisconsin and shot three protesters, killing two. Two years ago, another Trump supporter sent homemade pipe bombs to Barack Obama and other Democrats and Trump critics.
But in the meantime, he attempts to lump in racial justice protesters with “thugs” who destroy property and attack people. He tries to woo suburban women by saying they’re under attack. He doesn’t seem to explain who’s out to destroy them, though.
The second incident was just this past week, when Trump attended a packed rally in Des Moines, Iowa, just a couple of days after the White House sent out a report urging Iowans step up mitigation efforts “to include mask wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and avoiding crowds in public.” In fact, state officials were advised by the White House that gatherings in Des Moines should be limited to 25 or fewer people, as the state has become a “red zone” of coronavirus infection.
This is pretty much on par with the conflicting messaging his administration has put out regarding masks, social distancing, testing, vaccines and so forth. In February, Trump assured the country the number of U.S. coronavirus cases “within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” Less than two months later, he was projecting the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the country were heading toward 65,000.
So yeah, with conflicting messages like that it really shouldn’t be a great mystery how 220,000 Americans – and counting – have perished during this pandemic so far, and 8 million have been infected. And it shouldn’t be surprising when people simply refuse to believe anything coming out of this guy’s mouth.
Trump presided over a news conference in February to assure the country there was nothing to worry about regarding the pandemic, saying the U.S. was “very, very ready for an outbreak” and Mike Pence would head a task force to oversee the crisis. The very next day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by almost 1,200 points.
On March 11, Trump disastrously addressed the nation from the Oval Office, making several confusing claims that later had to be clarified by officials and himself. The very next day, Dow Jones plunged more than 2,300 points.
Less than a week later, he held a press conference late in the afternoon and acknowledged for the first time we may be heading toward a recession. The Dow finished lower by nearly 3,000 points – its biggest single-day drop in history. This is what happens when you continue to spread lie after lie.
You may remember, this is the same guy who promised during his inaugural speech nearly four years ago, “American carnage stops right here and stops right now.” Of course, this was then followed by the worst mass shooting in American history (Las Vegas), the worst school shooting in American history (Parkland, Florida), the worst church shooting (Sutherland Springs, Texas) and the worst synagogue shooting (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). All under Trump’s watch.
But these weren’t the fatalities Putin necessarily desired. No, his crowning achievement in orchestrating and then puppeteering this current administration has been the death of American prestige around the globe. We’ve become the country others don’t even respect, let alone envy.
It’s a prize not even Putin could have expected, and you can bet he’s hoping to see another four years of it.
D. Allan Kerr wishes someone could have predicted this contemporary chaos. O wait, we did. The views expressed are those of the writer. Kerr may be found on the Sloth Blog at https://slothonline.com/portfolio/d-allan-kerr/ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/D-Allan-Kerr-354849648605637/?modal=admin.