Saturday, August 29, 2020

Day 173 Nat’l Emergency: “Acceptable Deaths” and Melania Exposed

Political conventions are meant to be one-sided versions of the truth. So let’s cut some slack to Republicans, and before them the Democrats, for engaging in hyperbole to try to sway the few undecided voters who might have tuned in to their respective shenanigans.

That said, a bit of news from a CBS News/YouGov poll that came out last Sunday, the day before the GOP kicked off its convention, deserved more attention, though for sure it would not have come from Republicans during their staged proceedings. Indeed, two of the nation’s most current and pressing crises—the COVID-19 pandemic and the recurring shooting by police of people of color that has supercharged the Black Lives Matter movement—hardly rated any mention except to pat the administration on its back for its pandemic response and to vigorously support law enforcement.

The CBS News/YouGov survey found that 57% of Republicans say the level of deaths from the coronavirus is “acceptable.” At the time of the survey the death count was more than 176,000. It is now 180,000-plus.

Even more Republicans, 73%, believe the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic is “going well.”

By comparison, 67% of independents and 90% of Democrats said the death toll was “not acceptable,” while 62% of all voters said the response is “going badly.”

The alternative universe that Donald Trump lives in has permeated down to his legion of supporters. Sixty-four percent believe deaths are really “fewer than reported.”

Black lives apparently do not matter too much to Republicans—81% felt recent attention to discrimination was “too much.” Only 12% of Democrats shared that opinion (

Those populating today’s Republican Party, including those Dixiecrats who switched to the GOP back in the 1960s after civil rights legislation was passed by Democrats, have resisted extending civil and voting rights to minorities. So it is not surprising that Republicans as a group fail to see any merit in the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Perhaps because Blacks and Latinos have been disproportionally affected and killed by the coronavirus Republicans have displayed less empathy for the victims.  How else to rationally explain why 57% think the death toll is “acceptable”? 

Has Donald Trump so inured Republicans to tragedy that they blithely accept losses that should appall even the most hard-hearted among us? Similarly, has Donald Trump’s America reverted to antebellum attitudes that ascribed less than human values to people of color? Is that why his base did not protest when children from Latino asylum seeking families were ripped from their parents at the border and incarcerated in cages? 

If only Melania’s “compassionate” voice was the voice of the Trump administration, some observers wished after her convention speech. Perhaps because her life story did not begin with food ladled by a silver spoon Melania might be able to relate to the common folk, in sharp contrast to her husband’s gilded and discriminatory upbringing. 

Upon closer reflection, she is an enabler. Did she really say Donald is “totally honest”? That implies he doesn’t lie. I’m not talking about the type of political misrepresentations that all pols do to hide or obscure secret negotiations or other national security issues. Donald Trump’s memory of what he has said or tweeted lasts a nano second. Apparently, Melania is either not reading or listening. Or she, too, lacks total recall.

Her “perfection” as a First Lady has been shattered by the pending release of a tell-all book by her former BFF and White House aide, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. 

In “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady,” Wolkoff asserts Melania did not move into the White House with her husband for several months until a new toilet and shower could be installed in her quarters. Could it be she deemed it unacceptable to use facilities previously used by a Black couple, Michelle and Barack Obama? 

Wolkoff ends her gossipy treatise by writing Melania “told me in her way that she was not part of the solution, she was part of the problem. Not speaking up, and not fighting, against the problem, is being part of the problem, and I learned that the hard way.”