Donald Trump is a catastrophic failure as a president. His gross negligence and incompetence as the world reels from a global pandemic may be his new rock-bottom. He is like a deer caught in the headlights. He has no idea what he’s doing. He can’t tweet his way out of the problem. He can’t build a wall for a super-virus. His crass bigotry looks as hollow and empty and fragile as a soaking wet paper bag right now.
All of that is true and he must be defeated. But so many of the greatest problems in our nation right now, in the new age of the coronavirus, were in place before he took office. They were in place during the entire Obama administration. They were in place in the preceding administrations. And if we don’t confront the reality that defeating Trump alone fails to solve most of our deepest problems as a nation, we’ve failed. He is a problem, no doubt, but our problems are so much bigger than him right now. And simply defeating him, if we aren’t real about all that ails us, won’t change so much of what’s wrong right now.
Colleges and universities nationwide are canceling classes for the semester. Businesses that can afford to are shifting to 100% work from home models. The NBA season has ended. Tom Hanks has the damn virus. Trump’s Chief of Staff is in quarantine. Our nation hardly even has tests for people to just determine if they even have the coronavirus or not.
We’re in a crisis – obviously – and Trump is clearly unable to lead us out of it – but here’s what I need you to understand. At least seven major systems are either failing our nation right now, or at great risk of failing, and they all pre-date Trump.
- Tens of millions of Americans don’t even have health insurance right now. Nearly 70 million more are underinsured and can’t afford their high deductibles and co-pays. Our nation is only as healthy as those 100 million people. We desperately need universal healthcare.
- Entire industries are either shutting down or going into a real-life version of screensaver mode. Because the United States is one of the only countries in the world with employer based health insurance, where you lose your coverage when you lose your job, those people are screwed.
- Seattle Public Schools just shut down. What are those hundreds of thousands of families supposed to do about childcare? We are one of the only developed nations in the world without paid family medical leave. If a school system shuts down, and parents work, as most parents do, what in the hell are the kids supposed to do?
- How in the world are the people losing their jobs right now supposed to continue paying their bills? Will they be evicted? How will they afford food and basic supplies?
- Our nation has more incarcerated people than any nation in the world. Trump didn’t build that system. He inherited it. They are sitting ducks for the coronavirus.
- Sick people who still have jobs are still going to work right now – because they have to. Again, because our nation doesn’t have paid sick leave, and because we don’t have something like a Universal Basic Income, sick or not, people are going to keep on working because they have to.
- Our public health systems are so underdeveloped that the United States has tested fewer people so far than any major country on earth that’s impacted by the coronavirus. Because our entire health systems are driven by profit and greed, this is what happens. No system in the world is like ours. And the coronavirus has exposed it in a major way.