Wishes for wellness for everyone out there.
*Choosing to use “The Four Horsemen of the Republican Apocalypse” is, I hope, hyperbolic, in spite of dire warnings about the effects of the pandemic and Trump’s mis- non-management of the crisis.
- Horseman One: Forty years, at least, of anti-government propaganda. Reagan famously characterized the sentence, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help,” as one everyone should dread. In light of a pandemic, his point seems grotesque, at best. (This past summer, folks pointed out the irony of the Reagan Library’s having been saved from a wildfire by . . . the government.) If government is so bad, why did Reagan want to preside over it? And an obvious point that nonetheless gets overlooked. The Constitution constituted/constitutes a government; that is its prime function, along with specifying rights (for some). At any rate, the anti-regulation folk (financial markets must be free to ruin the economy), Newt’s “Contract on America,” the Tea Party, “drain the swamp” (said the Creature from the Black Lagoon): all in the same insane vein, helping to cripple government’s response to the virus.
- Rider Two: The Republican Brain Drain. Eisenhower seems to have been a rational man who depended upon the best information he could get. Nixon, too; it’s just that sometimes he wanted to get it illegally. Now Republicans make a virtue out of ignoring the best evidence and sneering at bureaucratic folk who have expertise. They mocked Obama’s interest in ideas as “faculty lounge talk.” They routinely smear and under-fund higher education. They try to gut pubic education. They elect knuckle-draggers and a President who is probably not intellectually capable of reading a briefing, let alone wanting to do so. Result? Republican governors have routinely ignore the best advice about the virus and how to respond to it.
- Equestrian Three: A dedication to impracticality. People don’t need reliable, affordable healthcare because of “socialist” ideology. They need it because a) they get sick, and b) their resources are limited. Somehow, the rest of the industrialized world, pretty much, leaped to this conclusion. Amazing. Because of the GOP, we still have around 30 million people uninsured, leaving us extra-vulnerable to the virus. Because Trump is insanely jealous of Obama, he can’t do the simplest and best thing and re-open up the Affordable Healthcare Act portal. The GOP has also made unemployment insurance so relatively difficult to get that the economic effects of the virus will be unnecessarily worse.
- Horse’s Ass Four: White men know best. (Or: racializing and genderizing knowledge). Trump is the apotheosis of this ideology. White men know all about women’s health. White men don’t need to rely on science; like Trump, they can rely on their gut, which is often noticeably ample. White men don’t need the U.S. to have allies; they can hunker down with their guns, and everything will be fine. White men don’t need the government interfering in their lives (until they do, like now). White men don’t need smart, ambitious immigrants to broaden the pool of scientists, social scientists, humanists, inventors, and entrepreneurs. White men don’t need women in government. They can get all the information they need from the dark web, Trump’s belched, belligerent briefings, and what they heard the other day from someone, can’t remember who.