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    Grand Reopening: The Grim Politics on Erring on the Side of ‘I Told You So’

    By Andrea Shorter–

    U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff deserves the first “I told you so” credit.

    After the GOP Senate refused to remove the impeached president from office following his recorded shakedown of Ukraine for dirt on the former vice president and now the definitive Democratic nominee to win back the White House, chief House prosecutor Schiff warned us. Failing to remove an obviously unfit Trump from office for clear and present danger to our national security, we were bound to witness and experience extreme consequences of maintaining the least prepared, most morally deficient, and corrupt president in U.S. history.

    There are no circumstances by which Trump is not going to change or rise to the seriousness of presidential leadership challenge for the better, least of all for the sake of anyone else, save for the sake of himself. The only good that it is ever going to get with Trump is worse.

    As the coronavirus pandemic has now spread to infect well over one million Americans, taking the lives of tens of thousands more Americans in less than 100 days than the 58,220 American fatalities in the 20-year war in Vietnam between 1955–1975, the national lockdown due to Trump’s neglect, disregard, and eventual reckless response to the crisis has sharply upended his ace-in-the-hole to re-election: a healthy economy. Without a booming economy (for somebody) to boast about towards re-election, what else is there? What else matters?

    We are about to see the hazards and dangers of Trump craziness on a whole new level.

    Trump is now more than ever the most desperate man on this planet. As a man who severely lacks ethics, moral compass, or empathy, he is also the most dangerous man. He will do whatever he thinks it takes to extend his presidency into a second term.

    The race to re-open states from necessary lockdowns against the spread of and fatalities to coronavirus to resurrect a severely depressed economy, and the apparent lack of interest in massive testing of a massive American populace to better measure and manage the virus’ spread likely among far greater numbers than the president cares to hear are indicators enough of doing whatever it takes to push past the realities and collateral damages of a failure to prepare for and lead through a pandemic.

    Yes, sheltering-in and socially distancing are growing tiresome. As spring and summer months grow warmer, it is going to be more difficult to keep a so far compliant majority populace to stay the safer course. We can already see that with the beac goers on the first day of 80 plus degrees in California—the most sheltering-in disciplined of the 50 states. Still, most of us would rather be hot at home than sick or dying from a spreadable deadly virus.

    The good news remains that an overwhelming majority of Americans in both blue and red states, over 55%, agree that it is for the best for all to maintain social distancing to flatten the COVID-19 curve, and to save lives. This is one fact that has managed to unite us as a majority. We are also united in putting our trust and confidence in science over politics and the politics of fear to eventually see our way through this crisis, even if our economy takes a severe downturn in the process.

    Economic depression is the collateral damage most Americans overwhelmingly continue to choose over further, preventable loss of life to a pandemic, and will do what is necessary to save each other’s lives. Americans understand and believe in the science that tells us that reopening states, even in measured, phased plans, will not take care of the coronavirus before election day. Less testing where needed will not take care of the coronavirus before election day. Still, against the hopes of a desperate man, we are now in a battle of “I told you so” grim political narratives and calculations of collateral damage.

    For Trump, should the fatalities from coronavirus prove less than one million before election day—”I told you so.” He will go on to claim that the Dems and liberal media totally overreacted, that the Dems broke the economy in this overreaction that he alone can fix, and that his leadership actually saved so many more lives than what could have been millions more dead. He therefore will hold that he deserves to be re-elected.

    For others, no matter the number of fatalities that are or could have been prevented, the desire to allow for science-driven guidance, policymaking, and the further demonstration of this president’s exposed incompetence, lack of moral leadership, and dangerous blood-lust want to preserve power and prevent humiliating defeat at any costs, “I told you so.”

    Only a morally deficient, self-serving, desperate man muses on national television about injecting poisonous disinfectants into other human beings as a cure against COVID-19. Would he actually consume poisonous disinfectant himself? Of course not. Would he be okay if you or I did? Sure, we’re not going to vote for him anyway. He’s just spit-ballin’ for solutions to a nattering pandemic that is eating away at his chance for re-election. He’s not responsible for anything or anybody, including the security and well-being of the nation he purports to preside over.

    Perhaps in desperate times, a desperate majority of voters will relieve us all of the growing dangers of this president. There were very good reasons why he was impeached in the first place. The horrid consequences of not going all the way to remove him from office as he should have been? What can anyone really say but, I told you so.

    Andrea Shorter is a Commissioner and the former President of the historic San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. She is a longtime advocate for criminal and juvenile justice reform, voter rights and marriage equality. A Co-Founder of the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition, she was a 2009 David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

    Published on May 7, 2020