Reopen America protesters, Ohio Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio. Photo by Joshua A. Bickel, Columbus Dispatch via USA Today Network via Imagn Content Services

America is not at all well. And not only because of some novel coronavirus. The sickness is chronic and has been at least since Reagan’s “Morning in America.”

It is difficult to put a finger on what Americans value anymore. Money is certainly in the Top Ten — maybe even all ten. But there must be more, right? Truth, justice, the American way? Except it becomes increasingly clear in a crisis, such as a global pandemic, that much of what Americans like to brag about as its values wears mighty thin when times are tough and there just isn’t much cash going around. We talk a good game about family values, for example, but lately many of our conservative representatives are saying right out loud how awesome it would be to sacrifice the lives of weaker and older family members for the greater economic good.

“You know,” the Texas Republican Lieutenant Governor and former sports bar chain owner Dan Patrick told the Swanson Frozen Dinner heir and Fox News celebrity news analyst Tucker Carlson, “no one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in.” Yeah, Patrick and Carlson will be fine. So, make way for commerce, Gramps. And does anyone know if Glenn Beck is still alive?

We have printed up much too much money paying to kill people and blow up their stuff all over the world for too long to spare anymore for unemployment relief or healthcare benefits for essential workers risking infection running deliveries, stacking groceries and treating the sick. So, thank you for your service, troops. We still value our yellow ribbons. Better you than me!

The pandemic is keeping the world’s Olympic teams at home this year, while whatever is left of the social distancing policy to flatten the curve of mass infection and ease the stress on overworked hospital personnel still keeps pro sports off the field. So, at least we can all avoid the torture of those corny pre-game anthem rituals where the climactic verse, “o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave” feels increasingly like a bad punchline.

We know that our Republican leadership cares much more about American flag pins than it does about Americans. Even their own voters. We know this because they have shown no remorse for their negligence and wishful thinking that enabled this pandemic to reach us and spread out all over the country, choosing instead to will it away like a congressional subpoena. By Eastertime, they said. President Trump has even said loud and clear that he takes no responsibility at all for his weeks of wishful thinking and having disbanded the pandemic response team back in 2018, then shifting responsibility to the states.

Meanwhile, back in the states, gun lobbyists have organized militant populist burlesques opposing their governors’ stay-home policies meant to flatten those curves; so, around and around we go on a morbid roller coaster of infection and death with the president cheering them on with tweets of “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and other Democratic led states.

And they really hate those masks. So, the masks are off. And America is exposed as the mindless selfish fun hog that God intended us to be.

This week, Paul Waldman wrote perhaps the easiest column ever published in the history of American journalism. It was published in the Washington Post on May 4, 2020, under the title “We’re already seeing the 2020 version of ‘But her emails’.”

“Yes,” Waldman wrote, “I’m talking about Tara Reade’s allegation that then-Sen. Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993.”

If you haven’t seen, heard and read enough already, do yourself a favor and start buddying up to the inevitable breakdown of politics that a solid half of registered voters has come to routinely tune out and all Americans have come to know as a general presidential election season.

“The common thread,” Waldman continued, “linking Kerry, Clinton and now Biden is the allegation that hidden documents contain incriminating information, and if we can get our hands on them, then everything will change. As Republicans know, this plays right into reporters’ suspicion of secrecy. The result is wave after wave of news coverage that assumes that the Democratic candidate is concealing something nefarious.”

OK! Now if the news business knows this, why do they keep doing it like they just can’t help themselves?

“Yes,” continued Waldman, “Biden should be transparent. But let’s apply the same standards to Trump that we apply to him. And let’s not be fooled, once again, into going on a months-long crusade to uncover documents that swallows the entire presidential campaign, just because Republicans claim they must contain something incriminating.”

Journalism is a discipline that is taught and learned. So, why can’t they apply that education and do it? All together now, please! Where are the damn taxes?!

I’m turning into Lewis Black in my old age. But seriously, it’s stunning. And then to have an editorial appear in the Washington Goddamn Post stating the grossly obvious point that the titans of journalism are impotent wimps as if just writing it down will fix it. Because we all know that nothing will change. The heavyweights will shamelessly chase the easy shots against Biden just like Hillary’s emails, Obama’s birth certificate, Kerry’s “fake medals,” Bill Clinton’s land deals, whatever the path of least resistance allows them and their eyeglasses to look serious.

Finally, on Monday, May 4, the good Republicans of The Lincoln Project ran a better ad attacking Trump than any Democrat ever has and likely ever could since Democrats and our powerful civil institutions have no fight left in them, whereas Republicans have plenty — even when it hardly matters anymore. And where do Republicans get off pointing fingers at Trump, let alone invoking Lincoln who never would have uttered a sentence like “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.”

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