To the Editor: It didn’t have to be this way 

To the Editor:

We no longer have a democracy. Were losing thousands of lives a day to a pandemic that never should have gotten to this stage. We have an economy in shambles, with millions of Americans wondering where their next meal will come from and how they will keep a roof over the heads of their children. And its all thanks to the most incompetent, uncaring president in United States history, aided and abetted by a totally irresponsible and massively popular television network and the complete and utter cowardice of the Republican Party leadership. 

It didnt have to be this way. 

Over the past 10 months since the coronavirus pandemic began unfolding in this nation, Donald Trump first refused to address it in a meaningful way, then lied to the American people about its dangers and then showed none of the leadership that this country, in times of terrible trouble, has nearly always received from Republican and Democratic presidents alike over its more than 200-year history. The result? The pandemic is now raging worse than ever across our land and we are leading the entire world with nearly 15 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 282,000 deaths. 

Since the pandemic arrived, Trump has preached the false reality that face masks and social distancing and avoiding mass gatherings do nothing to limit coronavirus infections. And because millions of his cult followers have decided that Trumps word has been elevated to that of the God they purport to worship, they accept every lie he utters as the only truth. Trump, and such Trumplicans as governors Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Ron DeSantis of Florida, tell our citizens that wearing face masks and social distancing are personal freedoms that should not be required by government. Are they hypocrites? Of course they are. For them, and those who support them, all their talk of personal freedom suddenly disappears when they refuse to accept that a woman should have the right to make her own health decision as it relates to pregnancy or that a lesbian or gay man ought to have the personal freedom to enter into marriage with the persons they love. 

As for our democracy, that began to disappear with the arrival of the Trump administration. He turned the Oval Office into a denizen for those who support fascism and bigotry. He surrounded himself with weak-willed servants who would bow to his every wish and he used the powers of the presidency to feed his own insatiable ego. In the months that preceded the November election, Trump constantly attempted to tear down and cast doubt on every effort to make voting more accessible to Americans. And, with the help of his anti-American friends at Fox News, he convinced his millions of followers that he was so special that the only way he could lose the election would be through orchestrated fraud or conspiracy. Since the election, lacking evidence to support his claims of such fraud or conspiracy, Trump has stoked the anger of his MAGA-hat-wearing base to the point that some of them are willing to threaten harm and even death to honest and dedicated election workers, many of them Republicans themselves, who are guilty of nothing more than steadfastly carrying out their duties and refusing to bow to dishonest political pressure. 

It seems evident now that, despite his rants and his lies, Trump is destined to leave office in January. But sadly, the damage and the distrust that he has unleashed throughout the land will not soon disappear. In the coming weeks and months, as our nation struggles to recover from this terrible onslaught on our democracy, a host of craven Republicans, especially those serving in the U.S. Senate, will have ample opportunity to reflect on their four years of cowardice and inaction. They are nothing more than traitors to America. Almost without exception, they have consistently chosen to put their political fortunes ahead of the needs of the nation they swore an oath to serve. 

And we are confronted by millions of brainwashed Americans whose reality, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, will continue to be based upon the belief that Trumps lies are the only real truth and that he, and he alone, is the only person who cares about their grievances, be they real or imagined. I hold out little hope that, despite the best efforts of President Joe Biden or anyone else, the chasm that separates those true believers from the rest of America can ever be bridged. 

It didnt have to be this way. But thanks to Donald Trump, that is our future. 

Hugh Bowden  


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