Trump’s response: ‘It is what it is’

Of course, this was Trump’s response to the question of what he thinks of the 1,000 deaths per day due to the badly bungled response to the virus. It may be what it is, but it isn’t how it had to be.

Nations across the planet have had mixed responses to this pandemic — some good, some not so good. Ours is abysmal. We lead the world in cases and deaths. South Korea, which experienced their first case on the same day we did, has about 385 deaths. The U.S., which is roughly 6.5 times larger, has had 200,000 deaths. How is that possible?

Those statistics can be mirrored in the various states and how they handled the threat. Oregon, which has had one of the more stringent approaches to the virus, has less than 550 total deaths. Florida, roughly 5.5 times the state of Oregon, has had more than 20 times that amount, with 13,000-plus deaths. How can there be such disparity?

Obviously, it is in the approach the two nations and these two states took to control the virus. Huge testing protocols, face masks, lockdowns and contact tracing have taken place in South Korea. Under Trump’s leadership, there is no policy. All the testing and other protocols were up to each state to figure out on their own. Florida’s governor chose to follow Trump. The closest we have come to a national policy is for us to “go back to work.” Now comes the lunacy of back to school, with face-to-face instruction.

In the midst of this turmoil comes the (dare I say it) Republican-led Senate report that the Trump campaign did exchange state polling information with Russian spies. And the Trump campaign did know of Russian assistance in harming Hillary’s campaign and did welcome it. Regardless of the neutered Mueller report and Marco Rubio’s comment of no collusion, yes, there was collusion between Trump’s people and the Russians. Ever wonder why Trump has been so supportive of the Russians, and Putin in particular? The answer is in front of you. If the original thesis of Trump/Russian cooperation is true, what about all those other claims like the Ukraine extortion? Maybe those were not hoaxes. Just like the virus was not a hoax.

And so it goes with the post office. After announcing to the world that vote by mail is blatantly corrupt and of the horror of not knowing who is elected on the evening of Nov. 3, he has selected Louis DeJoy, a mega-donor, to hamstring the U.S. Postal Service and delay the mail, thus setting up a scenario where he can blame a loss to a rigged process.

So in less than 50 days, we will have an election. Our choices are a man who has been eight years a vice president in a successful administration and serving the people in government since his 30s, and a man who has been at it for three-and-a-half years. But during that short time Trump, has mangled a pandemic, has been blowing up established agreements like the Paris Climate Accord, has accepted help from a foreign adversary, has installed cronies in vital positions to help his re-election and has hinted at invalidating the election.

Indeed, it is what it is, but we can change it. Vote — early.

Stan Shell is a resident of Newport.