The citizens of one of America’s most progressive cities, Portland, are hunkered down under a statewide stay-at-home order, waiting for two things. They’re waiting for a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel and looking forward with dread towards a 2020 election that will reelect President Trump.
Too soon? Perhaps.
But while I’m subject to the same state of quarantine as any of my liberal neighbors, I would not want to walk the political miles ahead in their shoes. By attempting to not let a crisis go to waste, it is possible that Democrats are laying waste to their already-slim national electoral prospects.
Democrat attempts to laden a coronavirus stimulus package with items from a disconnected wish-list (still ongoing at this writing) strongly suggest that they don’t think they can win the general election. Why else hold up economic and medical infrastructure relief in pursuit of extreme-left policies and programs that would never pass if put to a vote?
Like in many cities across the country, all the best parts of Portland–restaurants, taverns, art house theaters, music venues, and museums–are shut down. Like streets in some Twilight Zone episode, our streets are largely deserted. In other parts of the state, a somewhat Quixotic initiative drive that would allow several rural and more traditionally conservative counties to secede from Oregon and join neighboring Idaho has hit a major, virus-related signature-gathering snag.
As late and renowned newscaster Walter Cronkite would say, “And that’s the way it is.”
To our north, just over the Columbia River in Washington State, exists an alarming coronavirus hot-spot, one of the three worst in the nation. Seattle, a nexus of Pacific Rim commerce and trade, has become a virtual ghost metropolis.
Looking south, Trump-loathing Portlanders are forced to countenance the spectacle of ultra-progressive Governor Gavin Newsom praising Mr. Trump for steps the federal government has taken, a bitter pill that for Democratic Socialist true-believers goes down harder than an episode of Hannity.
In neighborhoods similar to the neighborhoods featured in the comedy series Portlandia, makeshift scrawled signs posted on telephone poles read, “Don’t Give Up Hope.” It’s impossible to know in these parts whether the signs predated the pandemic, relating more specifically to the president.
Overarching the fear and isolation, despite the fake news media’s denigrative drumbeat, is the foreboding sense that the Trump administration is handling the crisis well.
Breaking: calls to suicide hotlines are spiking.
It is bad news for many people living in Trump-hate enclaves like Portland, Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, that the Trump team, both public and private sector, have risen to the challenge and beyond. The decisive actions they are taking and the pioneering proactivity they are exhibiting will likely change the way we confront future microbiological threats to humankind.
Meanwhile, the lengths to which anti-Trump media will go are often astounding. Example: lockstep attempts to implicate the president because two tragically dunderheaded Arizonans drank fish-tank cleaner thinking it contained the medicinal version of the anti-malarial drug Trump had touted as having the potential to ameliorate the effects of the Chinese virus. The hometown Oregonian was not above regurgitating such an appalling spin.
But Americans, even moderate Democrats, however many of that political persuasion are left, aren’t missing the desperation factor so evident these attempts. Watching Joe Biden flub and flounder through one broadcast appearance or online town hall after another is enough to make even the most optimistic center-left and left-wing card-carriers despair of the party’s chances.
On a personal note, with regards to the coronavirus and what it means for the United States, count me with Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. Older Americans must make sacrifices to help get the country’s economic juggernaut back in action again.
I’m over 65 and in good health but could die if I contract COVID-19. That said, I believe it is up to me to protect myself with measures that I see fit. Like most of my neighbors (and many of them are essentially good people, notwithstanding their condemnable political and cultural viewpoints) I am virtually self-quarantined for the time being, by choice.
But this pandemic shutdown cannot be sustained. Like the president says, “We don’t want the cure to be worse than the disease.”
Flat out: I want my late-twenties-early-thirties kids and son-in-law, all of whom work in the Portland metro area and have been adversely economically impacted by the pandemic, back to work, back to life. This I can tell you: while they hope their old man will stick around for however many more years, they are raring to go.
And I’m ready, willing, and able to take any incoming that position draws.
Which brings us to Easter. The Easter reopening of America is genius. You don’t have to be Christian to love the idea.
Will the virus be contained? No. Will sickness for some individuals and death for older and immunocompromised individuals still be grim-reaping their way across the nation and the globe? Yes.
But by Easter Sunday there will be fewer unknown unknowns. Testing will be widespread, focused on the hot-spots, and not just for those showing symptoms. We may have a peak, a demonstrable and manageable flattening. Experimental drugs that are showing promise may show more promise.
There will be solid statistical benchmarks with which to weigh the providence of the measures taken so far by the Trump administration, and by patriotic citizens who have pitched in and done everything they can to slow the spread of the virus.
And, God willing, the federal stimulus relief that will provide financial aid to millions and stock the country’s virus-defeating arsenal will be in the mail.
Unfortunately, by Easter, the tipping point for the economic health of our young and our nation may be reached.
By Easter, we won’t be through this, probably not even close.
But I predict — I have faith — that the outlook will be improved enough by then to start the recovery.
Mark Ellis is the author of A Death on the Horizon, a novel of political upheaval and cultural intrigue. He came aboard at PJ Media in 2015. His literary hangout is Liberty Island. Follow Mark on Twitter.