America has been yearning to hear the voice of President Barack Obama through this pandemic and through all the tyranny coming from the Trump administration. In the atrocious absence of leadership, we are desperate to hear a voice of reason, a voice of truth, and a voice of empathy.
Obama finally spoke up late last week. It wasn’t public, but during a phone conversation with former members of his administration, he called Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak an “absolute chaotic disaster.”
Listen to these words of truth and reason: “What we’re fighting against is these long-term trends in which being selfish, being tribal, being divided, and seeing others as an enemy — that has become a stronger impulse in American life. And by the way, we’re seeing that internationally as well. It’s part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty,” Obama said, according to Yahoo News, which obtained a recording of the call.
Don’t you just miss the genuineness?
And as Trump and his equally ungenuine Attorney General Barbaric Barr seek to twist the truth, undo the work of career justice officials and distract from the “chaotic disaster” with their shocking dismissal of the clear-cut case of crime by former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, Obama said he worried that the “basic understanding of rule of law is at risk.”
Soof course it won’t surprise anyone that Trump and his likewise bigoted partner in legitimate crime Mitch McConnell are now going after President Obama (don’t you just miss saying that out loud every day?). First, the back-to-the-briefing bag of wind Trump has been tweeting and blustering nonsensically and nonfactually about “Obamagate,” telling Washington Post reporter Phil Rucker, “You know what it is.” What does that mean?
Well, according to former FBI Assistant Director for Counter-Intelligence Frank Figliuzzi, it means that Trump and the Justice Department might be “flipping the switch” by working on ginning up “polarizing investigations into members of the previous administration.” In a commentary for the NBC News website, Figliuzzi explained, “What if [Trump] tried to convince Americans that the indictments of 26 Russian nationals for their efforts meddling in our country’s election should never have been brought?” The amount of illegal behavior this would take by the Justice Department isshocking and mind-numbing, according to Figliuzzi.
While Trump tries to criminally criminalize Obama, McConnell has already started the racist dog whistles to the base. Appearing on trashy Trump TV (why not just appear on a less-tacky access cable program like The Robyn Byrd Show?) and speaking to Trump’s daughter-in-law (can this get any more ridiculous?), McConnell said that Obama’s comments were “classless” and that he “should have kept his mouth shut.” He might as well have just said, “Boy, shut up.”
Demonizing Obama with racial and “classless” overtones and trying to taint an administration that was morally and ethically beyond reproach will be the name of the game for the dirty, disgusting, despicable Trump 2020 campaign. Trump backers’ attempt to harm the Obama legacy, in their warped minds, is the best strategy they have to take down Joe Biden. Guilt by not-guilty association. Well, I think they’re going to be in for quite a surprise.
Reminding the American people about the way things used to be, how the government used to be run, and who used to run that government is fraught with doom, except maybe to the 23 percent of those in the country who gallingly trust Trump regarding information about COVID-19. Now, that leaves a whole lot of people looking for someone to trust and believe in. If the three dwarfs Whiny, Whaley, and Wimpy (Trump, Barr, and McConnell) think they can create distrust by putting an innocent Black man in jail to shut him up, they are sorely mistaken.
This country is filled to the brim and fed up with corrupt white men hating on Black men. We all know pockets of hate exist and need only to see what happened to Ahmaud Arbery to know that Trump’s detestation squad has a vindictive and vicious audience. But there is a larger audience, one that rose up to elect Barack Obama, a classy Black man, twice with margins of victory far larger than that of an angry white man in 2016.
By the time November rolls around, we may very well have witnessed a scorched-earth campaign whose depths of maliciousness cannot even be comprehended at this moment. It will be ugly, it will be disgusting, and it will not work. Why? Because as we grapple with trying to overcome the devastation of a disease, we will not be distracted by another sickness that will seek to infect our psyches and our election.
The virus of demonization and tribalization of President Barack Obama will be thwarted and crushed. Americans, hungry for a balm of less division, less hypocrisy, less corruption, less lying, less sickness, less death, will not be scarred by trickery and tribalism. The virus has shown how incompetent and iniquitous the Trump administration is, and it will only get worse — both the virus and the and immorality of Trump and his classless cronies.
America will be yearning even more for unbridled truth and rock-solid aptitude as these days and months go on and as more of our family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues succumb to sickness. By trying to tear down Obama, the Trump campaign will only end up reminding us of the wise, honest, and empathetic voice we used to have, and the one we long for now.
John Casey is a PR professional and an adjunct professor at Wagner College in New York City, and a frequent columnist for The Advocate. Follow John on Twitter @johntcaseyjr.