Julia Maher ‘23
From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump set the U.S. up to fail. Through his horrible and ill-timed response, he set in motion the trajectory on which the U.S. moves today. Not only that, but also through his supporters’ blindness to the severity of the pandemic, they revealed their blind patriotism and false belief that the U.S. is the “best country in the world.” According to them, solely because they live in the U.S., they will make it through the pandemic with little obstacles. Today, however, Americans understand that not to be the case at all. The U.S. scrambles through a crisis, while Trump barely takes any actions to help his own country.
Trump supporters conflate their idea of patriotism with the seeming infallibility of the U.S. Although Trump knew the atrocious scale of the virus back in January, he did not take any action out of fear that he would shock Americans; instead, he assured Americans that the virus was not very serious. This was a tragic mistake. It would have been best for him to lockdown the country from the beginning. Although Americans would have panicked, the pandemic is a completely valid reason to panic. This collective worry would have signaled to Americans that the pandemic threatened serious dangers, and more people would have actually practiced social distancing and worn masks. Because of Trump’s disregard of the importance of masks, however, the U.S. has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic among the worst of any country in the world, just because of the blind patriotism of some Americans and their belief of the infallibility of the U.S.
Authentic patriotism, however, means putting sufficient public health guidelines in place to keep citizens safe and healthy and immediately acknowledging the dangers of COVID-19 to ensure the wellbeing of the U.S. and our world. A true patriotic response to the COVID-19 pandemic would have looked like this; Trump would have locked down the US from the beginning, listened to public health officials, not have claimed that the pandemic was a hoax, and not have said that people should inject disinfectant to treat the virus, later gaslighting the American public by claiming he was using sarcasm. Because of Trump’s horrible response to the pandemic, however, over 200,000 Americans, and counting, have died.
The fact that Trump politicized the pandemic completely baffles many people; why on earth would a president use the pandemic to gain more political support and divide the nation ideologically? The pandemic inherently exists simply as a public health issue, not a political one. It is hilariously disturbing that Trump did not even wear a mask until July, nearly five months into the pandemic. His childish actions caused a ripple effect in his blind supporters. To this day, some conservatives still refuse to wear masks because it somehow infringes their “freedom.” They do not understand, however, that wearing masks provides a simple courtesy to protect everyone and uphold the common good. Masks do not suggest politics, and they do not take anyone’s freedoms away. Americans must all rally and mask up for the greater good and stop listening to Trump. He does not have nearly as much credibility as public health officials, and he even suggested that the virus will “just disappear” one day. Trump supporters, look at where that got the U.S; over 200,000 Americans are dead, and the end of the pandemic lies far ahead. I repeat—wake up to the cold, hard reality of the pandemic and wear a mask.