President Donald J. Trump has declared “war” on the COVID-19 virus. The president says the virus is an “invisible enemy” that must be defeated at all costs.
By its very indiscriminate nature, war demands that you love your “foxhole buddy.” The foxhole does not hate, divide, or discriminate. It offers a haven for two people to share one common interest: mutual survival. As the bullets whiz past and the bombs explode overhead, foxhole buddies empathize with the other’s fear. They offer hope in a moment of utter despair and learn that by working together, they can survive the terrors of war.
No Victory Without Survival
What does a leader of a nation do during a wartime crisis?
In his first speech before the House of Commons on May 13, 1940 as war and seemingly impossible odds faced Britain, Prime Minister Winston Churchill told the assembled peoples’ representatives:
“I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many long months of toil and struggle.
“You ask what is our policy. I will say, it is to wage war with all our might, with all the strength that God can give us, to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalogue of human crime.
“You ask what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terror. Victory however long and hard the road may be. For without victory there is no survival.”
Trump Ignored Warnings of Deadly Attack
What did President Trump do in the face of what he described as the “invisible enemy?” He effectively ignored the warning that a deadly attack was imminent.
In early January, Trump (and Congress) was warned by U.S. intelligence officials about the pandemic threat COVID-19 posed to the nation.
Trump has repeatedly demonstrated during his tenure as president that he does not respect the intelligence community and considers their fact-gathering processes as a “hoax.” This attribute has led aides and advisors closest to the president to describe him as a “moron,” “idiot,” and “dope.” Former Defense Secretary James Mattis said Trump has a “fifth—or sixth grader” view of world events.
So it should not be surprising that as the invisible enemy breached the nation’s borders, even the impenetrable Southern border walls, that the president assured the nation that there was no cause for concern. That the bombs exploding above the foxholes were nothing more than 4th of July fireworks gone astray, and that he would personally deliver a “miracle” that would save the nation from the invisible enemy.
Rather than invoke the foxhole buddy theory, Trump pointed fingers of blame against anyone and everyone for the COVID-19 virus: the Chinese, Democrats, the media, the medical community, doctors, and scientists. He invoked racism and xenophobia to deflect any blame from himself while continuously heaping toddler self-praise upon himself.
China, South Korea, and Singapore have fought the same enemy and they have at least put it back in the cage. They did it with the foxhole buddy philosophy: one nation, indivisible, bound by common interests: mutual survival.
America is a multi-cultural society. It has cancerous pockets of racism, xenophobia, and religious bigotry that inhibits its intellectual growth and exhibits its collective stupidity. The Texas lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, says old folks should be willing to die so the economy can prosper. Fox News has, for weeks, parroted the president by describing COVID-19 as a Democratic hoax. A Baton Rouge Pentecostal pastor defied an executive order not to hold events of more than 50 people by preaching to a crowd of 1200.
The Cult of Trump
These are people inspired by the wartime words and actions of President Trump—a president who has even inspired people to drink poison in search of a “miracle” cure from the COVID-19 virus.
The COVID-19 war will have a thousand Battles. The foxhole mentality saved this nation during World War II. Still, it may not protect us from the “invisible enemy” because we are all in the foxhole with the fox.
Thousands of people, perhaps hundreds of thousands, will die unnecessarily because the president told us the enemy attacking our harbor a harmless inconvenience.