Well… I knew it was going to happen. Remember a couple of days ago when I wrote a tongue in cheek post about Clorox and Lysol anal probes? In that post, I wrote this:
“…many major news outlets, including The New York Times, ran articles imploring people not to follow The Donald’s advice. Alas, they are probably right to make the statement, since there are people out there who are stupid. Seriously stupid.”
Just days later, I read another article about how poison controls got twice as many calls about people ingesting bleach and disinfectant in the wake of Trump’s comments last Thursday. From the Vice article I linked:
“In the 18 hours after Trump’s widely condemned comments during the White House coronavirus task force briefing, the New York City Poison Control Center reported that it received nine calls about Lysol exposure, 10 calls about bleach exposure, and 11 about exposure to unnamed cleaners, according to WNBC in New York. That’s more than double the exposure calls the center received during the same period last year.“
“Two people in Illinois called the Illinois Poison Control Center’s hotline to report “inappropriate exposure” to disinfectants, according to local CBS station WCIA. Calls have also spiked in recent weeks in Maryland, Kentucky, and Iowa, although many cases appear to result from kids consuming household cleaners.”
THIS is exactly why I think it was so irresponsible of Trump to make the comments he did, even though many apologists have said that Trump didn’t specifically mention Lysol or Clorox, nor did he explicitly say that people should ingest them. The trouble is, he got in front of a microphone and cameras and commenced with his usual diarrhea of the mouth. People heard him talking about disinfectants and UV light rays and ran with it. It was irresponsible for him to speak the way he did, because he’s technically a leader, and there are people out there in the world who, for whatever inane reason, respect and admire him. And they do what he says, even if it’s ridiculous, dangerous, or non-sensical.
Trump also doesn’t take responsibility when he says bizarre things. Since his Thursday disinfectant speech, he has angrily fired back at the media and claimed that his comments were “sarcastic”. I have listened to and watched the video made during that press conference and I heard what Trump said. He was NOT being sarcastic. He was dead serious.
Some people have said that he was “thinking out loud” or “brainstorming”. After three fucking years as POTUS, one would think he’d learn to do that off camera. But he hasn’t learned, because he won’t listen to experts or take advice from experienced people. He comes up with half-baked and harebrained ideas and demands that educated people agree with him and/or back him up, no matter how insane what he says is. He’s not a scientist and has no medical background, but he’s a narcissist and he thinks he knows better than people who actually do know better– and have spent their whole lives studying and proving their knowledge to other people who have spent their lives becoming experts.
Trump enjoys being in power. He enjoys having people do his bidding. He wants to be respected, listened to, and adored. But there’s nothing respectable or adorable about him. And when he inevitably fucks up, he says he was “just kidding”… or “testing people” to see what he could get them to believe. First of all, I don’t think Trump is intelligent enough to come up with such a scheme, especially on the fly. And secondly, even if he was “playing a prank”, it’s a completely inappropriate thing to do as a world leader, especially during a pandemic! Thousands of Americans have died in the past few weeks, and some have died directly due to Trump’s irresponsible comments about medicine and their unfortunate decisions to take Trump’s ludicrous comments seriously. We’re definitely not in a situation that calls for “comic relief” or testing the media to see what gets reported as “fake news”.
From the New York Mag article I linked:
“…Trump does not seem to be saying it was a haha joke, but some kind of serious prank, in which he would float a completely preposterous idea and see if he could get the White House media to report it as news. The prank required Trump to maintain a completely deadpan demeanor, and to get Birx’s cooperation, and to let the untruth go uncorrected for about 18 hours before finally revealing the gag. Trump was using his briefing on a deadly pandemic that has killed 50,000 Americans already for an Andy Kaufman–esque ruse, with the concomitant risk that his supporters will be killed in the process.”
Yeah… and I’m suddenly remembering that childhood fable about the emperor’s new clothes… The vain emperor gets hoodwinked into buying new threads from people who could supposedly make the “best” clothes. They were able to convince the public that only the smartest people could see the clothes. So when the emperor showed up naked to greet his public, everyone marveled at how beautiful the clothes were… and only a small child was brave and smart enough to state the obvious. The emperor was not wearing anything. But instead of admitting he was wrong, the emperor simply continued as if nothing had happened, and the public continued to champion him.
This is the kind of leader Trump is… and so many people, otherwise intelligent and sensible, continue to champion Trump, explaining why he says and does so many stupid things. I think a lot of them know, deep down, that they made a terrible choice when they voted for Trump. Most of them simply don’t want to admit it. Just like the people in The Emperor’s New Clothes, oohing and ahhing over the emperor’s “new” non-existent clothes, they keep insisting that Trump is doing a “great” job. They smile and nod as leaders suggest reopening the country, putting thousands of people with heightened risk factors of the coronavirus in jeopardy. The leaders speak of the sick, elderly, and disabled sacrificing their lives for the good of the economy. At the same time, they speak of forcing pregnant women to give birth, as abortion is not an “essential” service.
Trump supporters speak of the need to be “respectful” to Trump because he’s the president. They talk about how most Americans will get $1200 to “stimulate” the economy. Trump insisted on having his signature on the physical checks, as if he was personally giving away the cash. But we all know that money comes from our taxes, and it’s not appropriate for presidents to sign checks, anyway.
Well… I might be “respectful” to Trump as a fellow human being because that is the decent thing to do. But I cannot respect him as a leader, because he’s not a good leader and he repeatedly proves it. I don’t know how we can afford another four years of this chaotic nonsense. We need an “emperor” who isn’t an emperor and wears practical work clothes. We don’t need an “emperor” whose focus is on impressing people and showing off his vanity with naked male egotism and vanity, or supposed “pranks” on the press. Unfortunately, I don’t think Trump will give up his power gracefully, and it will not surprise me if he tries to come up with a way to delay the elections or call them off completely.
Sigh… well, I guess it’s time I closed this post, now that I’ve done some venting. Time to get started on the day. Stay safe, y’all… and please don’t inject yourself or drink any disinfectants. The poison control centers have enough to deal with already.