Anne Marie Waters
Sunday October 4th 2020
It’s been a strange week yet again. It seems that every week this year has been a strange one, characterised by new and silly rules that few can follow, or a press that parrots the government line without question, or just flat-out nastiness from the usual suspects. This week took it all to a new level.
On Thursday we woke to the announcement that US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania have both been diagnosed with COVID-19. It turns out that much of Trump’s inner circle have also been infected.
I and For Britain hope that the President and First Lady make a full and speedy recovery, and that both are fighting fit for the upcoming election – an election that is crucial not only for the United States, but the entire Western world.
It is however the nastiness of the response to Trump’s announcement that signifies a different kind of infection; the infection of politics with bile. Never in our lifetimes have we known such incredible contempt for a sitting US President. Trump has brought out the very worst of his opponents (which very much include the mainstream press). People have taken to social media to wish him dead, others have expressed nothing short of glee that he and his wife are suffering. They truly believe that Trump himself is the cause of the 200,000+ tragic deaths that have occurred in the United States. He is blamed often by the same people who refused to blame China for inflicting this horror on the world in the first place.
The coverage of Trump’s announcement has been as expected. Celebrities took to Twitter to suggest he was ‘faking it’, others expressed their sympathy to COVID-19, while some openly wished him dead. We are in a new era where the sheer hatred of so many has become part and parcel of mainstream politics. Hatred is compounded by ignorance to make it an even more formidable force.
Take for example Joe Biden’s announcement that he will end Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ on “day one” of his presidency. He also promised to bring Muslims in to his top team.
Where to start?
First of all, there is no Muslim ban and never has been. Biden is appealing to ignorance and hate; he’s lying about a Muslim ban just as people have lied about Trump since he entered the White House. He is also encouraging fear and division, while accusing Trump of doing the same.
The President has been criticised for ‘downplaying’ the virus by assuring people that all would be ok in the end. What was expected of him then? To tell people to panic, that disaster is moments away? It is the job of a leader to provide reassurance and comfort to the people. This is something that our own leader Boris Johnson has spectacularly failed to do. But the point is that politics has been so infected with ignorance and hatred and lies that no matter what Trump does, he is condemned for it, and all on the basis of the lie that he is a racist, or a fascist, or any of the other buzzwords thrown around by the ignorant and hateful (most of whom have no understanding of the words they use).
If Trump had not reassured the public that it would all be ok in the end, he would have been condemned. He did reassure the public that it would be ok in the end, and he has been condemned for it.
There was another significant event in US politics this week – the first of the live debates between the two candidates for the most powerful job in the world. It was calamitous.
The “debate” was characterised by constant interruption from both sides, and an obvious bias by the mediator. At one point, Biden told Trump to “shut up”. Trump was questioned on his taxes, he was questioned on his supporters, over and over again the questions to Trump were loaded and filled with implication – all of which are false.
The President was asked if he would tell his supporters not to engage in “any civil unrest”. This is extraordinary. Over the past year, Black Lives Matter and Antifa and those of similar ilk have been running amok across America. An entire neighbourhood was taken over in Seattle and quickly turned in to a lawless hellhole. It is the Left, as Trump rightly tries to point out, that have been engaging in civil unrest – setting fire to cities and destroying livelihoods, and yet, it is Trump supporters who apparently have to be told to refrain.
That’s not the end of it. The Mayor of Seattle (a Democrat) actually praised the rioters and looters and called the hotbed of crime in her city “a block party“. Why aren’t the democrats and Joe Biden held to account for this? Biden was asked if he would tell his supporters to stay calm, but the detail of the behaviour of Biden supporters (including Antifa and BLM were not focussed on as they should have been).
Then there were “the highlights”. The press didn’t disappoint and its coverage shows Trump in the worst light imaginable. Look at this from Sky News. Almost all of it paints Trump as an aggressor.
He was asked to condemn white supremacists (he immediately said “sure”). What is utterly galling about this question is the implication that Trump is somehow a leader of white supremacists. He is not. He does not speak out, support, or condone white supremacy and never has. Every time he has been asked to condemn it, he has. On the other hand, there is not so much as acknowledgement of the violence of the left, much less the implication that Biden is their leader.
The whole thing stinks. Even the group suggested as a white supremacist group, Proud Boys, isn’t white supremacist. It’s all a big lie.
Trump isn’t only competing against Biden, he is competing against ignorance, press bias, lies and outright vicious hatred. Our public life is now infected with it and it goes to the highest levels.
It is far more toxic, far more dangerous, and will destroy far more lives than COVID-19 could ever hope for.
Anne Marie Waters
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