Our Season as Anne Frank

Harry Welty

Shorn of his red cap President Trump cuts a dumpy figure at what threatens to take the place of his plague spreading rallies. Samson no more, he stands at what may become daily public briefings with his yes crowd behind him.

Today’s presser sounded so much like yesterday’s that I dozed off but not before my wife counted Vice President Pence use the word “President” 19 times as though the President was a superhero fixing every coronavirus threat. It was as though Trump never spent last month calling it a Democratic hoax.

As I winked out I thought “…and he said the Biden/Sanders debate was a snooze.” I confess I didn’t watch that debate although I had intended to see how just two candidates would duke it out. But dealing with coronavirus changed my mind.

My wife and I are secluding ourselves from our grandsons to be on the safe side. Instead of Joe and Bernie we pretended we were at our Sunday night dinner with the boys watching Stranger Things or The Tick or Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events." When they started watching the cliff hanger episode of Lost in Space at their house, we tuned in too, one happy, separated family. We texted back and forth as we watched alien robots race to take over the Robinson family’s spacecraft. It was no snooze, but when it was over we turned to the debate.

We caught five minutes of pointless argument over whether Joe Biden was a threat to Social Security. We turned our television off thinking that it was a loss for Democracy. Only later did the reviews and video snippets of debate show that it had been a solid performance for the all-but-certain nominee, Joe Biden. And now a rally-less Donald Trump must try to beat Joe at the game of caring about Americans.

It’s a game that all the head nodding behind the President on the dais can’t win. He is like the Earth Giant who beat the hell out of Hercules until the demigod realized that it was Earth that gave the giant his strength. As soon as Hercules lifted the giant from the ground the giant’s power was lost.

For Trump it’s his elderly supporters who are most at risk of dying before they can cast a vote for him. Poor Donald has half of them convinced that the Government can’t be trusted. And up until now, with Trump in charge, he’s been right. Now he’s desperately trying to buy up all the non-existent respirators and vaccines from other nation’s so that his voters can be saved before anyone else.

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I always hated kids who cut the lunch line and this time it’s not for a peanut butter sandwich but for life itself. And the President has other problems. Three years ago, I met a Trump fan who was laughing about his liberal friends who panicked and sold all their plummeting stocks when Trump was elected. He crowed that he made beaucoup bucks buying up cratered stocks before they surged again. I wonder how he’s fairing now that the worm has turned again?

By Monday my wife and I had lost enough paper value to buy a small house because Trump’s market fell through the floor and we don’t have risky investments! My French studies have made me two French pen pals. Both of them have told me how France is shutting down. Everyone is retreating to their homes as schools and businesses close just like here. I’m beginning to see other unanticipated dominoes fall. I can’t serve food at the Damiano Center or at Chum like I did before.

My scheduled Thursday blood donation is more necessary than ever but lots of blood banks are closing. I’m doubling my tips to the few service workers who still have a job knowing that their income is coming to a screeching halt. Republican Senators are none-too-eager to take back the tax breaks they handed out to their rich supporters to make life more bearable for the folks on the bottom over the next six months. Everyone who isn’t sleeping in a tent is holed up like Anne Frank in her hidden attic compartment.

Death stalks us outside only it’s not the Gestapo. I’m busy cleaning doorknobs and waiting for Duluth to be added to the nation’s mortality tables. Either the scientist’s math is correct, or the Fox pundits are right to ridicule the scientists. The Fox line is that Trump knew what he was doing when he gutted the Center for Disease Control’s office for pandemic planning. It was just so much government bloat until a virus escaped from a Chinese food market. And it didn’t even ask to be let in the country by Customs or Immigration. Where is our ICE for this threat? It’s not in the White House, that’s for sure.

Harry Welty also kvetches with gusto at: www.lincolndemocrat.com

NOTE: In last week’s issue of the Reader the final paragraph of Mr. Welty’s column, “Arizona Highways,” was inadvertently left out. The complete column can be found on the Reader’s website. The Reader regrets the error.