By SUSAN K. SMITH
Crazy Faith Ministries
The current president of the United States ran his campaign spouting “America first,” coupled with his infamous “Make America Great Again!” The slogans hit a nerve – an enthusiastic nerve – with his base who apparently believes that America has too often been bedfellows with countries and with policies which threaten its sovereignty and power.
The president has not missed opportunities to push his ideology, if it may be called that. So it was surprising to me that in the heat of this pandemic, he has not seemed eager to come to the aid of Americans – those who are sick and dying and those who are working to attend to them and keep them alive – even as governors of states have pleaded for help.
But what is worse is that this country has apparently been sending – selling – the same equipment and gear to foreign countries that our own Americans have been doing all but begging for. According to Politico, USAID has been sending those items to China.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., blasted the president this week, calling out his hypocrisy as she railed against the shipment of 17.8 tons of medical supplies – including masks, gloves, gauze, and respirators – to China in February as the coronavirus broke out there, while calling expressions of concern that the virus could become a pandemic a “hoax.”
The president and his team, of course, discount the complaints being raised against the administration but also admit that they are sending materials to other countries – “things we don’t need,” the president has said.
I’m confused. How can you say you’re a proponent of “America first” but deny the citizens of the country over which you are president the materials they need to stay alive? And how can anyone be all right with the possibility that the virus might cause over 200,000 people in this country to die – while other countries are getting the material that might have saved lives here?
There is yet another component about what is going on that is deeply troubling. The president seems not to be interested in helping any governor in states experiencing the most infections from the COVID-19 virus who has crossed him, disagreed with him or who supported his impeachment.
With a spirit of vengeance that is breathtaking in its depth and width, the president has all but ignored the requests of the governors from New York, California, Michigan, and Washington while making sure states with supportive and sycophantic Republican governors get all that they need, maybe even more. Florida, for example, where young people gathered in huge groups during spring break on its beaches with no pushback from Governor Ron DeSantis, received “100 percent of its first two requests” while other states have been sent only a meager portion of what they need, as reported by The Washington Post.
Is there a goal here, a game plan? Is the plan to let huge numbers of Americans who may or may not be Trump supporters just die off? There is no rush, it seems, to come up with a plan to protect and serve the elderly, incarcerated or homeless. Even as the number of dead bodies is increasing on a daily basis, their bodies put into refrigerated morgue trucks as funeral homes scramble to handle the exploding demand and need for funerals, as reported by The New York Times and New York Intelligencer, this president seems unconcerned. There seems to be little to no concern from the federal government on the capacity of the health system in this country to handle this crisis, and even less concern for the lives and wellbeing’s of the health care workers, who in this “war” that the president has declared himself to be president of, are suffering from extreme fatigue from being overworked, getting the virus themselves and some, dying.
So, “America first” means what, exactly?
I am confused.
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.