Death At Death’s Door

[Take your pic pick. Couldn’t decide.]

A doctor friend working in a Texas hospital foretells rationing ventilators, as Covid-19 patients overrun their ICUs. Who, he asks, should be denied? Vaccination refusers? Other than being partially-innocent victims of well-organized lying, their primacy on the rejection list is compelling. The brainwashed don’t know they’re brainwashed, but, as ubiquitous evidence makes persisting ignorance indefensible, sympathy wanes.

They sent a Covid patient to North Dakota for care. Needing a ventilator for non-Covid illness, another Texan had to be airlifted 150 miles; prior to which he required approval by a team husbanding the scarce resources. It’s Sarah Palin’s death panels, incarnate; necessitated by people made unable to process information. Unlike the stuff of her disordered mind, this is real. Texas’ Trumpicly irresponsible governor now begs smarter states to send help.

Why it’s happening is obvious. Trump’s pandemic ignorance and lies and inattention showed Republican leaders a winning strategy: To keep people distracted from their pre-failed economic agenda, and sending money, make it about “freedom,” or “communism.” Or, a perfect exemplar of effective disinformation, believing “Critical Race Theory” is taught in K-12 schools. Hint: It isn’t.

“Unmasked, Unmuzzled, Unvaccinated, Unafraid,” say their T-shirts. Translation: “Uninformed, Uneducated, Unreachable, Uncaring.”

“I do my own research” — a claim that refutes itself.

So successful is it that, dismissing massive contrary documentation, Trumpublicans still believe vaccines and masks are ineffective and/or dangerous; liberal “wokeness” signifiers. Had Trump, Trumpophile governors, and their media heroes urged their victims to pitch in, as Americans amidst crises always have, this Delta-variant siege wouldn’t have happened. Viruses spread — and mutate — among the unvaccinated. Deeming it acceptable collateral damage, Trump’s party has become a killer party. Why? Consider who benefits.

As their media stars pound rare breakthrough cases among the vaccinated, widespread deaths and deathbed regrets of anti-vaxers are ignored. Consumers only of Trump-approved news sources may have missed these data from the CDC, current as of July 31:

Of the 164m fully vaccinated in the U.S., 99.9% have NOT tested positive for Covid-19. Breakthrough cases represent .077%. Hospitalized: .004%. Died: .001%.

In contrast, 99% of those hospitalized and/or dying of Covid-19 are unvaccinated. A Florida church just lost six parishioners in ten days; four under thirty-five. Previously healthy. Unvaccinated.

Given those numbers, who of right mind refuses vaccination and masks? Trumpists. Among whom, because of disturbingly easy and successful mass deception, it appears no right minds remain. Killing thousands, manipulated and abandoned, for the most cynical of reasons: payola for bankrollers.

For decades, having nothing else to offer, Republicans created a human variant disinterested in truth; not changing course even as their voters are endangered. Only in a killer party could that be considered leadership.

On fawning media, Trump blames President Biden for the resurgence. Unlike Trump, he made vaccination widely available, fast, and urged it. Biden’s fault, says Trump, while his blinded flock refuse vaccination and masks, enabling Delta’s rise.

What hope is there for a county in which millions of such zombified people exist? (Bad analogy. They’re not eating brains, they’re offering their own to their leaders for lunch.) Evidence, mounting hourly, is ignored. And, no: evolving recommendations don’t validate their disbelief. It’s science: seeking and remaining open to new information. Why has that become “conservative” anathema?

Proving the point is a quote for our times, forced from lungs filling with Covid-19, spoken by a 31-year-old man in Branson, MO: “I was strongly against getting the vaccine,” Barker said through labored breathing. “Just because we’re a strong conservative family.” That’s Trumpofoxification in the mortifying flesh. What Trumpian acolytes have done is criminal. Murder most literal.

That poor guy is a victim of Trumpism. This one isn’t: a smug, bullying, attention-seeking, taxi-driving avatar for all of Trumpworld, who refuses masked or vaccinated passengers. Patriotic. Heroic.

For needed karmic relief, Texas Republicans provide: Covid-19 has derailed (temporarily, no doubt) their determination to suppress Democratic votes; the only way they can keep winning.

There are much worse and deadlier issues, though: Whereas the pandemic might end up killing only a million or two Americans, the latest IPCC report shows climate change on a trajectory to kill far more.

Unlike his pandemic dereliction, Trump’s climate denial isn’t wholly responsible. But he and his party did less than nothing about it: deregulating, dissembling, deceiving. Departing accords. All for fossil-fuel money. And to “stick it to the libs.” If that’s both murderous and suicidal, their reactionary inaction on climate change is pan-humanity genocidal. Unconvinced by heatwaves, drought, acidifying oceans, dying reefs, wildfires, starvation, dried-up rivers and reservoirs, melting glaciers and methane-spewing tundra, Trumpists continue to laugh it off.

Against such radical resistance to reality, what can thoughtful citizens, actual patriots, do? Minimize energy use. Make it green as possible. And, since Trumpists are irretrievably uneducable, stop electing them. Until Texas, et. red, make that impossible, too.



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Sid Schwab

Retired surgeon. Published author. Blogger. Columnist. Losing hope that American democracy can survive Republican attempts to end it.