May 6, 2020
President Trump and a motley collection of supporters, many of them other so-called Republican “leaders,” are dropping all pretense of prioritizing public health generally, and workers’ lives specifically, calling for the rapid “reopening” of America, whatever the cost in sickness and death.
With the Covid-19 pandemic still in full swing, and indeed accelerating in parts of the country and in industries previously untouched, Trump is disbanding the federal task force charged with stemming it, insisting that the pandemic “will pass” and “we’re going to be back to normal.” POTUS trots out this ludicrous piece of positive thinking even as his administration admits that the number of deaths from Covid-19 is blowing past all previous estimates, with no clear ceiling in sight.
Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, a Trump advisor and fawning acolyte, has been callously blunt. Yesterday, Christie told CNN that Americans should accept sacrifice and death now, as they did in the twentieth-century world wars, as necessary to preserving “the American way of life.” Asked if he thought people could accept the 3000 deaths per day projected by the CDC, Christie replied, “they’re gonna have to.”
This is class-based crap. The “way of life” that Trump and Christie are so hot to preserve is one dominated by fat cats and oligarchs, not ordinary, struggling-to-get-by, workers and vulnerable citizens. The latter are merely cannon fodder for the war Trump and Christie want others to fight on their behalf and on behalf of their cronies.
Public health officials have been abundantly clear and consistent in stating that the keys to any safe reopening of economy and society are (1) rapid and frequent testing of the population at large; (2) quarantining of those infected; (3) extensive contact tracing; and (4) faithfully implementing physical distancing, protective equipment use (masks), and sanitizing guidelines.
Why aren’t Trump, Christie, and the rest of the sycophantic chorus embracing the science and insisting on safety and the protection of worker health? Because they really don’t give a damn how many people get sick and die. They just want to restore their preferred version of “normal,” and they want it now.