Even as Dr. Anthony Fauci tells Congress that the United States may soon be facing a runaway pandemic in which 100,000 Americans are infected with the potentially deadly virus every day, the Trump team and compliant Republicans continue to scoff at basic social distancing measures.
On Friday, Donald Trump is scheduled to appear at South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore, where he has demanded a mid-summer fireworks display despite fire dangers. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says nobody at the 7,500 person event will be required to wear a mask, and no social distancing measures will be enforced.
Noem, who has been sucking up to Trump in a way that suggests she considers herself a direct competitor to Mike Pence, has the backing of state Republicans behind her. Despite a prominent Republican testing positive for COVID-19 after attending a Republican convention (!) only two weeks ago in the very county Trump will be visiting, and Trump’s own White House and campaign being thoroughly riddled with the virus, it is more important to Own the Libs than keep Trump supporters alive (and it may be time for us to simply stop arguing with Trump supporters on that one). The good news is that firework celebrations are usually held outside, so the risks of infection are slightly lower, though they may be offset by the small risk of being burned alive if a firework lands in the wrong place.
There’s not a lot to say about this one. It’s notable that once again Trump has chosen a deeply divisive location for his mid-pandemic rally: The region is the lawful property of the Lakotas, ceded to them by treaty; the outcropping itself is considered a sacred site; the sculptor was a Klan-enrolled white supremacist; and Noem and Trump are both locked in a battle with (by which we mean, are continually threatening) the state’s Lakota tribes for placing pandemic checkpoints at their borders to at least somewhat protect themselves from idiot pandemic-spreaders passing through while Noem does not a damn thing to help contain the disease herself.
Trump doesn’t want to believe the pandemic is real because it impedes on his delusions of genius and grandeur, and because he is such a delusional incompetent that even his own top aides consider him to be a threat to U.S. national security. Noem and other state Republicans want to abide by and repeat those delusions to secure their own standings with Trump, even if a result is that members of the public—what’s the word here? Ah, yes—die. Even if state residents die.
Again, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to sympathize with Trump supporters eager to prove all of medical science wrong because Dear Leader wears heavy makeup and subsequently has a bug up his butt about face coverings. But they will spread the disease elsewhere, to people who were trying harder to follow all advice only to be foiled by the contemptuous ignorance of those they come in contact with.
A fascist movement always comes with, at minimum, two things: grandiose public spectacles, and state-promoted deaths. For a movement to be so obsessed with killing themselves off is a bit unusual, but you can’t look at the increasingly bizarre and conspiracy-theory-enmeshed ranks of state Republican lawmakers in the last few years and really say nobody could have seen it coming.