We have just passed the marker of 500,000 American deaths due to the coronavirus. That’s 500,000 lost souls since early 2020. Public health experts say that the vast majority of these deaths could have been prevented had the U.S. instituted safety health measures last January or February. Mask wearing, social distancing, and handwashing early on would have saved tens of thousands of lives.
President Donald Trump, a Republican, lied to the American people from the outset about the nature and severity of the pandemic. He wanted to pretend that our lives would be normal so that he could get re-elected on the carpet ride of a good economy. His lies and denials directly translated into deaths. His reliance on conspiracy theories and magical thinking was counterproductive to the actual saving of lives. His flat-out dismissal of Dr. Anthony Fauci and other public health experts was appalling. His refusal to protect the safety and well-being of the American public was antithetical to his sworn oath of office.
The Republican party and its members were complicit with Trump in his botched handling of the pandemic. They sat back idly, quietly, and submissively as the coronavirus raged and spread with a vengeance. They allowed Trump to do virtually nothing on a national scale that would contain and defeat the virus. They allowed him to speak falsely about conspiracy theories and magical thinking. They allowed thousands of Americans to die every day from a virus that could have been stamped out.
The Republican party has been clamoring for decades that they are pro-life. I beg to differ. The past year has proven that Republicans do not give a damn about life. They hide behind the issue of abortion, but in real life, they have chosen to allow 500,000 Americans to die.
Republicans—at the insistence of Donald Trump—made the pandemic a political rather than medical issue. If you supported Trump, you had to be a pandemic denier and refuse to engage in public health measures, such as mask-wearing and social distancing.
Republicans are hardly pro-life. They have allowed hundreds of thousands of Americans to die senselessly. These deaths could have been prevented. Lives could have been saved. If life really matters, this should have been the time for all Republicans to step up and speak out. But they did not.
The Republican party’s anti-life beliefs have been crystal clear during this pandemic. Members should have insisted that Trump develop a national plan to defeat the virus. They should have been concerned about even one loss of life. But they were not.
Republicans have been so consumed with being the followers of a cult leader that they have forgotten their conservative core beliefs. Trump has taken them down a winding road that is toxic and destructive. They are now the amoral party. They are the do-nothing party. They have become as cruel, callous, and disdainful as their pied piper.
It is time for the Republican party to take a bold and loud stand about this pandemic. They should join Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the Democrats in viewing this pandemic for what it is: a once-in-a-century public health emergency that Donald Trump and his followers allowed to spread and kill.
The vaccine is here. If Republicans truly care about life, they will make sure they get vaccinated as soon as possible and encourage all others to do the same. This is not a time for anti-vaccine rhetoric or political statements.
Do not tell me Republicans are pro-life. They need to show it. They need to prove it. They need to break with Donald Trump and proclaim their understanding of his atrocities regarding the pandemic.
500,000 deaths are inexcusable. Democrats understand that. Republicans do not.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR:
Alan D. Blotcky, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Birmingham, Alabama. He is also Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.