Friday, October 2, 2020

Hell Yeah I Have Schadenfreude, and I'm Not Afraid to Use It!

As I'm sure everyone knows by now, Donald and Melania Trump have both tested positive for COVID-19, along with Trump's assistant Hope Hicks, Notre Dame University president (and Trump booster) John I. Jenkins, Utah Senator Mike Lee, and probably others.  Initially it was claimed that the Trumps are asymptomatic, but there have been reports that Trump had been tired-looking and unsteady a few days ago, and now that they're both at least mildly symptomatic.  We'll see; it's too early to say much for certain, but it looks like last week's meet-and-greet announcing Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court may have been the spreader.  None of these people wore masks at the event.  Nor, it appears, did the Trump family at this week's debate.

I was a bit hesitant to check social media this morning after I heard the news, anticipating a flood of sanctimonious drivel from Democratic liberals and centrists.  I needn't have worried.  Most of the people I follow are hard-hearted leftists and satirists; Trump and his toadies got no sympathy from us.  The only outpourings of hopes and prayer I saw were quotations from the predictable suspects: right-wing Trump supporters demanding that "the radical left" (liberals and centrists) behave better than the Right, and liberals either virtue-signalling or motivated by childish, superstitious fear that they'll be punished for having hated Trump so vehemently.  They compared him to Hitler, now they wish Hitler a speedy recovery.

It's mildly surprising: I'm a guilt junkie since childhood, probably thanks to my Catholic mother, but I feel no qualms about saying that I don't care what happens to the Trumps or his followers, especially the highly-educated elites.  I still feel guilty for many things I've done in my life, but withholding good wishes from Trump isn't going to hurt him or anyone else.  He'll have the best treatment available if he gets sick, as will his wife and Jenkins and the rest.  If he dies, so have 200,000 other Americans (along with even more people around the world), and so have adults, children and babies in his concentration camps who didn't get any medical treatment at all.  As various people have said, if you want to pray, pray for the White House and Capitol staff, or for people in prison or concentration camps or cramped workplaces who can't keep a safe difference from each other.  After eight years each of Dubya and Obama followed by four years of Trump, I don't have any guilt left where the troubles of the mighty are concerned.

One presumable Christian quoted Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”  This is false, of course, like all invocations of judgment and karma, and a Christian of all people should be wary about wishing judgment on others.  On the other hand, I've read the gospels, and I know how callous and delighted Jesus was about the suffering of the damned.  I'm not a Christian and I don't believe in Hell.  If Trump dies, he dies; but so do we all eventually.  I wouldn't have wished for Trump to catch the virus, but I won't pretend to care that he has.  If I myself catch the virus, get sick, even die, it won't be because I didn't pray for Trump.

This clip from exactly four years ago is entertaining: Trump mocking Hillary Clinton for her bout of pneumonia.  Pneumonia isn't COVID-19, but it does kill old people (and Clinton, like Trump, is an old person; on the other hand, it must be balanced against Clinton's obscene gloating over the lynching of Muammar Qadafy: "We came, we saw, he died!" If it will make liberals feel any better, I'd have the same reaction if Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or Joe Biden caught COVID.  Or Jeff Bezos for that matter.  They are all murderous elites who, as Susan of Texas always says, kill us for money, and the virus is no respecter of persons.  Meanwhile, it's fun to think of the Trumps quarantined together (though the White House is big enough to give them plenty of space), with Melania blaming Donald for giving her the virus.  And you know he'll be trying to find a way to sneak out of Walter Reed and play golf.

But, as some are already protesting, isn't that just sinking to their level?  I don't really think so, but I can't say I care.  But if we're going to worry about such things, let's talk about double standards.  It's fascinating how selective liberals and centrists are in these matters.  Someone pointed out: "Bernie Sanders had a heart attack and Dems were questioning his fitness to serve. Trump gets coronavirus and Dems pray for a speedy recovery."  When the left historian Howard Zinn died, National Public Radio ran a scurrilous obituary that quoted the odious right-winger David Horowitz attacking Zinn with his usual disregard for facts. It's hard to imagine them, or any other respectable media outlet, doing the same for the most depraved right-wingers.  Remember the outpouring of dishonest eulogies for John McCain? Or Richard Nixon, or Ronald Reagan?   By contrast there wasn't much empathy on display for Hugo Chavez, the legally-elected president of Venezuela, when he died of cancer at a relatively young age.  I'm all for critical evaluations of the prominent dead, but they should be honest, and that seldom happens regardless of the politics of the deceased.

So far I've seen one remarkably good report from corporate media on the Trumps' status, this factual and unsensational NBC story. NPR, which I woke to this morning, didn't do nearly as well: they did their typical personality-driven, faux-predictive coverage, including a bizarre segment on what "Trump's Coronavirus Means for National Security."  "The president, of course, is the commander in chief of our nation's armed forces. So what could this development mean for the military?" anchor David Greene asked. Correspondent Tom Bowman reassured him:

Well, we've heard nothing from the Pentagon at this point or the White House about the continuation of, you know, the military. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is traveling overseas. I reached out to his spokesman; no word from him yet. But it's important to note, David, that the president is still carrying out his duties as commander in chief.

And more of the same, for anyone who might fear that Communist Venezuela or China might be poised to take advantage of our Commander-in-Chief's potential incapacity and pour across our undefended borders.  This is, among other things, the result of seeing politics as the domain of One Man, the Head of the Nation, instead of a vast hydra-headed network of experienced people both civilian and military, who can carry on even if the Head is struck off.  I was only twelve when John Kennedy was assassinated, but I remember the same kind of inane fuss at the time and thinking that it was ridiculous, as it is now: the country isn't going to fall if the President gets sick or dies - something which has happened numerous times in our history and, for better or worse, here we still be.  The mainstream media love to stroke this kind of genteel panic.  The New Yorker, for another example, is hoping for chaos.  And the liberal rehabilitation of Donald Trump, which leftists have been warning about, has already begun.

The liberal muckymuck Jeff Greenfield, Fox News and seemingly some commentators on CNN have called for Joe Biden to suspend his campaign while Our President fights for his life.  Ah, what would we do without Rachel Maddow?  I expect nothing from far right-wing media, of course, but it's going to be an education to see our responsible mainstream media showing their mettle (or rather, their asses) as this story plays out.  Meanwhile, I'm grateful to the commentators of Left Twitter for their savage and on-target mockery of Trump and his liberal apologists.  You can have my Schadenfreude when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands.