What continues to boggle the mind about our national nightmare is how relatively easy the solution seems to be: The federal government should pay everyone to stay home until it’s safe enough for most of us to go back outside. 

Although none of us can be completely safe from the coronavirus until there is a vaccine, countries like Canada and Germany don’t appear to be sharing our current level of medical or economic pain. The same can be said of other nations such as Taiwan and New Zealand, which are rightly boasting of returning to some semblance of normalcy. All of them employed that aforementioned strategy, and I don’t see their countries on fire as a result. 

How lucky are they not to have a dumb, narcissistic conman and so-so entertainer in control of their respective destinies. 

The Trump administration has had every opportunity to improve but has thus far spent July repeating the mistakes of every previous month since this crisis began. That includes lying. “The vast majority of people are safe from this,” Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, told Fox News earlier in July. And when the country proves not to be that stupid, the administration lies on the people we do largely believe. See fresher reports of officials passing around a memo that seeks to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

None are surprising, but there is one other strategy Trump and co. are employing that should give us all reason for caution in how tailor-made it is for American selfishness. 

In “Trump and Biden campaigns shift focus to coronavirus as pandemic surges,” Washington Post reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Josh Dawsey revealed that it is the Trump administration’s “hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day, according to three people familiar with the White House’s thinking, who requested anonymity to reveal internal deliberations.” 

I’m not qualified to officially declare Donald Trump to be a psychopath, but I can at least confirm he plays the role of one almost as strongly as his staffers perform sycophancy. 

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I have long feared the ramifications for the country not having a national state of mourning. As much as I’ve heard cable news anchors declare each day that more Americans have died from the coronavirus than several wars, including World War II, there has been no real national recognition of it. I’m not saying all of us need to walk around in black, but it is cruel to not acknowledge the widespread loss. It is a wasted opportunity to not only honor their lives but also use their needless loss as cause to persuade the rest of us still here to not let them die in vain.

Those of us who are Black or Latinx have had to consider the wave of deaths more directly, as we are disproportionately dying from the disease, but that factoid has not made us as immune to the very numbness Trump seeks to further infect in the population. 

That’s why as much as I’d like to pile on all those stupid Trump supporters following that clown into that degree of soullessness, I am more concerned about the Black folks I see partying in a pool inside a club in the middle of the pandemic. Or the queer folks of all races and ethnicities who are free to roam the beaches, but not in such big crowds in small spaces as seen across social media. 

Other examples come to mind. Say, people I know who have had coronavirus roaming the streets without a mask at the same time more reports of coronavirus reinfections surface. I could keep going, but the point is not the people haven’t behaved perfectly in a pandemic, but that not enough have even tried to bother at all.

As someone who grew up in fear of dying early for reasons you can buy at your preferred book retailer, I never want to understand those who play so freely with the gift of life. I do understand selfishness and stupidity, but I remain deeply saddened by the images of shortsighted joy that may very well likely lead to more pain, suffering and loss of life. 

Donald Trump has failed us in not providing leadership, resources, clarity and empathy in this pandemic. But even if it is his fault for not setting the proper tone, based on how many continue to carry on as if the crisis only matters to some of us and not all of us, it shows that even if he may be losing favor with the electorate, he remains very much successful in shifting the population into a more selfish way of living.