Donald Trump went onto Twitter late last night to tell us that he and his wife @FLOTUS had contracted COVID-19. Within minutes the internet was lit up with responses. People were wishing well, and praying. People were mocking him, because he had been too slow to acknowledge the pandemic, and the nation has suffered. Some people were grotesquely celebrating. Unsurprisingly, a large portion of people pondered whether this was just a hoax. Was the President going to spend some time in quarantine “recovering” as a political ploy to garner sympathy, avoid a second disastrous debate, or even pretentiously rise from it saying that COVID was no big deal?
The polarization in our country is as evident in this event as in every other tense subject we are faced with. People care, people hate, people mock and laugh, people doubt, people feel a sense of divine justice, people are scared, and some people even obscenely celebrate. All of these emotions are understandable. I hate to say it, but even the most unconscionable responses are understandable. People have been mocked, and laughed at for the last 3+ years by the man who now has the virus that has killed hundreds of thousands in our country, and many people feel his response to it is the reason America has fared so poorly.
People also feel that this President has cried “fake news” at far too many things; such as using the “fake news” cry to hide his own short-comings and sins. This might be the biggest lesson from this event: we live in such uncertain times that we cannot believe the President when he says he is sick. Using the “fake news” call to build his reputation and his campaign is now coming back to bite him. Less than half the people believe him, and to us, he is the fake news. I certainly don’t wish him evil, but no one can blame me, or any of us who aren’t sure what to think in this moment. He’s lied to me before, he just might lie to me again.
Josh Morgan and I responded with the same thoughts on a Facebook post about this. We compared this to the Boy Who Cried Wolf. For many of us, it is hard to believe so many of the things coming from the President’s mouth, and we are quick to think that he would do anything to get his way or win.
We’re living in a fairy tale world. But these are like the unedited Grimm’s Fairy Tales where the happy endings don’t happen. Welcome to life in a world where we can’t trust our news, our neighbors, or our leaders. Truth has been the real loser over the last 4 years, and the “fake news” cry is far more contagious, and far more dangerous than COVID-19.