Thursday, July 9, 2020

Rallies, riots and coronavirus

Two huge issues happening on the National scene in the last two months are the resumption of trump's political rallies -- the Tulsa rally late last month in particular -- and the protests over the killing of George Floyd.

In an internet forum, one subscriber asked why people were concerned about the possible spread of the coronavirus at trump's event, but seemed unconcerned about it spreading at the recent protests and riots.

Well, political rallies on the one hand and protests and riots on the other are very different things.

Let’s drill down a bit deeper.

The decision on whether to stage a rally is made in a purposeful, deliberate way. Someone — or some committee or whatever — decides the rally will happen, other folks have to plan, make arrangements, hire crews for catering, security or whatever the event may require.

A protest may be planned to some degree but there’s nothing like that same level of planning and arrangement-making. Protests often kick off spontaneously, catalyzed by an event over which no one has much control.

This round of protests are a great example of that. The killing of George Floyd was such an egregious and completely unjustifiable act of brutality that it's a surprise, honestly, that the protests and all that came after weren’t even more explosive.

So back to the subject of trump’s rallies: many people feel — and I’m certainly one of them — that it’s the height of irresponsibility to put on a rally right now while COVID-19 is ravaging our Country. 

There’s not the slightest shred of doubt that trump’s Tulsa rally back on June 20th crammed attendees together in a way that made transmitting Coronavirus a virtual certainty.

Here’s something that makes all of this even more insane, more deplorable: some of trump's campaign staffers went through the Bank of Oklahoma Center before the pumped-up crowd began to take their seats, removing the stickers placed on alternating seats by the Center’s staff to encourage social distancing.

The stickers were a last-gasp attempt to keep trump’s adoring fans from sitting on top of one another, thereby greatly increasing peoples’ chances of getting infected.

Can you imagine a better way to make sure the true believers would pass the virus all around the arena?

Especially in light of the fact that in an event like that, it’s customary to yell, holler and scream about how awesome Dear Leader is, or how badly those radical, socialist lefties suck, or how those lying, traitorous “enemies of the people” need to be put in their place, blah, blah, blah…

I’ve never seen a photo taken at a trump rally where a huge chunk of the attendees weren’t on their feet, faces all red, screaming at the tops of their lungs! That’s the whole purpose of going, right?

Honestly, how can anyone defend putting on a rally where everyone knew that the conditions to spread the virus were damn near perfect?

And now — to the shock and surprise of absolutely no one — the City of Tulsa is having a fresh outbreak of the coronavirus.

Having said all that, I have no doubt that the virus found many new hosts in the protests and riots that we’ve seen since George Floyd’s killing. That is almost certain to become a serious issue.

But those events weren’t conceived, planned and carried out by our leaders, by people who should know better, and who should be putting citizens’ well-being over their personal and political considerations.

It was all to further Donald trump’s political fortunes. And to stroke his insatiable ego.

Does anybody really think our poser prez is feeling even one shred of sadness or regret over a few hundred of his supporters getting sick?

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

PS: I forgot to mention that all those issues around the Tulsa rally matter to me as I spent nine years living in that fine city. And I was 100% positive that trump’s event would become a public health disaster.

You may have heard that several Secret Service agents are still in quarantine because of the rally.

The kicker to the story is that, although the main thing here is the disastrous effects for the people of Oklahoma, it’s also proven to be a disaster for trump politically.

Ain’t irony ironic?

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

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