By SUSAN K. SMITH
Crazy Faith Ministries
It is bad enough that the ubiquitous coronavirus is running through countries like a madman, knocking off people before they hardly know what has hit them, and causing businesses to close down and streets to empty, for fear of its invisible force and the aftermath of that force.
But the reactions of this administration have been puzzling. Though the president has said that he hadn’t known about it and that if he had, he would have been able to stop it (how so?), the reports clearly say that he knew about it in late January and basically dismissed warnings that it was serious, according to The Washington Post.
Once he could no longer ignore it, he fell into his go-to behavior of blame, saying it was a Democratic hoax, something his foes were using to get him out of office, but as the virus continued to ravage throughout Europe and make its way to the United States, he changed his story and said he had “always” known we were in a pandemic and denied he had ever called it a hoax, as noted by The New York Times.
All of that has been troubling but classic Trump. But at this point, as he has acted as a doctor, giving advice on medications to take, and as he has said that he will look at social distancing at the end of 15 days to see if it is effective, it feels like we are in a whole new inning of this ball game.
While governors and mayors are desperately trying to contain the spread of the virus, even as they wrestle with how to deal with their economies which have been hit by the sheer width and depth of the contagion, this president is still seemingly more worried about the stock market than he is about the lives of individuals in the country of which he is president.
Add to that the silence of Russia, and the absence of any real reporting of what is going on with the virus in that country, and today, his announcement that he may be in conversations with North Korea about how to contain it, as noted by CNN, the result is an uneasiness, which is difficult to understand and interpret.
What is going on?
He is calling himself a “wartime president,” according to The New York Times. That status gives him a lot of power, but as yet, he has not used that power to, for example, order the military to help states and cities equip themselves to fight “the enemy.” He will not activate the Defense Protection Act to mobilize American troops on American soil to fight “the invisible enemy,” NBC News noted.
The question is, “why?” Why is he continuing his love-fest with North Korea? Why won’t he use American troops to help the American people?
It has been said out loud by some, and is being said by even more, that he is saving his power play as the “wartime president” to use as his tool to stay in office in this election year. The law says he cannot do that, according to The Business Insider, but this administration has been skillful at using the laws of this country for its own purposes, as noted by The Atlantic. The president has hinted out loud that he may need to stay in office for longer than two terms, and without a doubt, causing some to worry that were he to lose the election, he would not leave office peacefully.
And so, as the country sits in the middle of a bubbling crisis, with human lives and businesses alike in the cross hairs, it feels very uncomfortable having a president who is talks out loud about the rights and needs of corporations, but says very little about the people – including his own base – over whom he has jurisdiction.
Charles Dickens began his book, A Tale of Two Cities, that “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” That description is surely apt for this time in America. Our uncertainty and anxiety is not helped by the president but is rather fueled. His vision of America seems to be one in which all that we knew is eligible for a Trump makeover, and that, frankly, feels like a descent into Armageddon, that biblically described war between good and evil that will come before the Day of Judgement.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. Her latest book, Rest for the Justice-Seeking Soul, is now available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon. She is available for speaking. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.