By Vernon A. Williams
Full transparency. When news broke about the Donald and his wife testing positive for coronavirus last week, my reaction was on several levels. I couldn’t do the ‘happy dance’ so many did on the irony of his fate. Karma is self-explanatory. And out of my religious beliefs, I was compelled to pray for his recovery as I would any of God’s children.
That aside, there was a third thing; a reaction to which I now feel comfortable sharing. The thought rushed through my head that he might use this incident as a mechanism through which to feign a philosophic and spiritual epiphany. It was paralyzing to imagine how a gullible voter population might have reacted to a more subdue, contrite 45.
It worried me to imagine some Republican spin doctor whispering words into some invisible ear piece suggesting a change of heart. So many people are anxious for any small fragment of humanity to justify their unquenchable thirst for the lethal Kool Aid this con man has been selling since descending mall escalators proclaiming his candidacy.
What if the Donald had stayed in the hospital for a week or two, fully cooperating with the medical team and engaging public speculation that the illness spurred soulful transformation – like Ebenezer Scrooge facing his shortcomings at the end of “A Christmas Carol” or the Grinch when he recognized that life meant more than material gain.
What if he emerged from the hospital saying something like this: “My fellow Americans, this horrifying experience has taught me a lesson that has opened my eyes and heart. COVID-19 is far more lethal and threatening than I have heretofore acknowledged. Forgive me for my myopic outlook and the tens of thousands that may have been lost in the process. I beg your forgiveness and solicit an opportunity to undo what I have done.”
Wow, scary. If he had done that, how many minds of those in the so-called undecided middle may have been persuaded to at least offer the prospect of being persuaded between now and November 3. But thankfully, no such possibility. At the end of the day, the one thing you can count on is “Donald just being Donald.” Period.
It should have been clear from the start that no matter how he entered his coronavirus experience, he would exit with some unsavory behavior. But no one could have predicted forcing Secret Service to drive him around the block at their own health peril, or ordering his own premature release from the hospital, or staging a publicity stunt snatching off his face mask to minimize the danger of the disease that has taken 215,000 American lives.
Man, you talk about dodging a bullet. Not only did the Donald NOT do something that might have given him a boost, however insincere, he actually opted for a response to his illness that morally, ethically and medically reprehensible. His social messaging was so repulsive that Facebook and Twitter rejected his post as contrary to science and a health threat. We can safely conclude that the Donald is a class by himself. Low class, that is.
Then just as it seemed this amoral, corrupt, rogue excuse for leadership would have a great nation wallowing in the mire of his incompetence, along comes Joe Biden to the rescue with the timing of the hero in the climax of a well-written movie script. The former vice president pulled hope out of utter despair with a speech in Gettysburg, Pa that talked about healing and unity and embracing our better angels.
Seriously, the timing could not have been better.
So we approach the conclusion of one of the most bizarre campaigns, and prayerfully the end of the absolute most devastating presidency our nation has ever endured. While the polls reflect a commanding lead, the Republican Party and their partisan judges are trying every imaginable distraction and obstacle to the people voicing their choice for the White House and Senate.
If all of us registered to vote execute our due diligence, the only mystery will be how difficult the incumbent makes his exit from the people’s house. The American people are poised in the batter’s box with a tight grip on the ballot, which serves as our bat. No matter what’s thrown our way during these waning weeks, the determination is to knock it out of the park and victoriously circle the bases.
It will signal a long away return to sanity in this nation. We may still have issues. Children are hungry. People are unemployed and homeless. Climate control and our environment cry for serious attention. Police reform and social justice will remain priority, Education, health and other issues won’t just go away overnight, But the one man who stood between a nation and its boundless potential will be summarily dismissed. And that’s a great start.