salon Republicans say the quiet part out loud: Americans must die of the coronavirus in order to save capitalism
Donald Trump has given the Democrats a gift — if they are brave enough to use it.
Last Sunday, Donald Trump declared on Twitter: “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”
This slogan, imported from the libertarian far right, signaled an important shift toward ending social distancing and “reopening” the economy, even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread. Trump’s mouthpieces at Fox News and elsewhere then began to parrot the same macabre and disturbing argument.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican, told Fox News: “Let’s get back to living… And those of us that are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves.”
Right-wing propagandist Glenn Beck told viewers of his BlazeTV show that Americans who are older should just go back to work and prepare to die: “Even if we all get sick, I would rather die than kill the country.”
Brit Hume of Fox News told Tucker Carlson that he supported Dan Patrick’s view of this potentially lethal transaction:
What we’re living in now, this circumstance as we try to beat this virus, is not sustainable — that the utter collapse of the country’s economy, which many think will happen if this goes on much longer, is an intolerable result… [H]e is saying, for his own part, that he’d be willing to take a risk of getting the disease if that’s what it took to allow the economy to move forward. And he said that because he’s late in life, you know, that he would be perhaps more willing then he might’ve been at a younger age, which seems to me to be an entirely reasonable viewpoint.
What are they really saying? Donald Trump and the Republican Party are now openly willing to sacrifice those Americans they consider to be “useless eaters” — in this case older people, people with pre-existing health conditions and anyone else who may die from the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, Trump said the quiet part loud, basically admitting on Twitter that his electoral fortunes are tied to the pandemic’s impact on the American economy:
To paraphrase the character Ivan Drago in the movie “Rocky IV”: “If they die, they die.” Or as another famous Russian, Joseph Stalin, is reported to have said: “One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.”
For Trump and his allies, worsening the coronavirus pandemic, even at the risk of many lives, is of little importance compared to keeping him in office to continue a regime of looting, extortion and massive corruption.
The Democratic Party needs new slogans for the 2020 presidential election. I would suggest these:
- Trump wants you to die — so he can stay in office forever.
- Trump and the Republicans are trying to kill you — for money.
- Are you 60 or older? Have a pre-existing health condition? Donald Trump and his Republican Party don’t care if you die from the coronavirus.
- Donald Trump could have stopped the coronavirus. He lied, and people died.
Yes, Trump and the right are embracing and celebrating death. It is ghoulish. It is also one more illustration that the Age of Trump is an American dystopia where what was previously unimaginable (for most decent people) has become “normal.”
Yes, Trump and his movement’s death impulses are part of a natural progression in which an authoritarian regime maximizes its power by terrorizing the public.
These calls by Trump and his allies for millions of Americans to sacrifice themselves for such abstractions as “the country,” “the economy” and “the market” should not be a surprise. Such madness and cruelty are the logical and inevitable results of decades of right-wing strategy and policies.
These plans were never hidden. Indeed, they were clumsily obvious. Since the 1970s, predatory gangster capitalism has been accepted as either “normal” or “inevitable” in the United States (as well as the United Kingdom and elsewhere). To that end, the “free market” was presented by the news media, many Democrats, virtually all Republicans, and most of the educational system as somehow synonymous or interchangeable with “freedom” and “democracy.”
This form of predatory gangster capitalism, now often called “neoliberalism,” rests upon several basic tenets: