Clement: We must act better than our government


Columnist Sam Clement argues Donald Trump is not doing enough to help the  American people amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sam Clement

Democide: noun. The murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide and mass murder.

Our current government seems determined to participate in democide. The victims? Any state whose governor has spoken out against Donald Trump. The motive is, naturally enough, egotism and an inability to ever admit to wrongdoing, and the means can only be described as intentional negligence, blame-shifting and genuine incompetence. This crime will affect all of America, not merely now but for years to come, as we struggle to recover from this dangerous response to an already deadly crisis.

Trump has had a banner week in terms of response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including highlights such as demanding reporters be nicer to him and suggesting that the healthcare workers who are currently putting their lives at risk might be responsible for the low numbers of important medical devices, baselessly claiming that doctors and nurses are stealing supplies to sell on the black market. However, the nadir of his efforts has become clear this week as he has openly stated that in this disastrous time, he is less likely to aid governors who haven’t sufficiently groveled or praised his supposed efforts in handling the current crisis, specifically referencing Washington and Michigan. In an appearance on C-SPAN, he stated, “I tell [Mike Pence], ‘Don’t call the governor of Washington. You’re wasting your time with him.’”

Similarly, blue states such as Massachusetts, Colorado and Maine have received only fractions of what supplies they requested from the government. Maine is a particularly egregious example, receiving only around 5 percent of the masks they requested. Many states have been forced into bidding wars with one another to obtain life-saving supplies from outside suppliers. Meanwhile, more red-leaning states have had their requests filled far more easily and completely. Florida, for instance, got everything they asked for from the federal government twice over, and are now awaiting a third, identical delivery.

I could tell you that Trump is a raging egomaniac. I could rant for an hour about how, in this time of peril to the American people, he’s more worried about his poll numbers than the rising number of citizens getting infected or dying. I could just reiterate that everything about his handling of the situation has been bad, that he knew about this months in advance and failed to protect the country, that he hasn’t even offered condolences to the families of the departed. Frankly, however, that would do very little good.

At this point, there is no point in me saying that Donald Trump is a bad man because either you agree with me or you don’t, and I can’t think of anything that would change the minds of his supporters. To be frank, Trump is not the most important thing right now. There are people dying all over the country and all over the world. So I ask not for your anger or your simple, weary acceptance. I ask that, if you can help, please do. If you can spare a few dollars to support a cause fighting the pandemic, like DirectRelief or the Center for Disease Philanthropy, if you can stay home for awhile, if you can just try to thank your local medical workers, please do so.

We live in a government that doesn’t have its act together and doesn’t seem to care, but we can be better than that. We must be.