CAPE COD – So now, apparently, every news reporter in America is a war correspondent. It’s insane, and frankly I am pissed. I never wanted to be a “war” correspondent.
This reporter has never had the desire to be personally immersed in “History,” capital “H” as it happens where it happens.
That kind of history almost always happened somewhere else, which was just fine by me.
And as much of a political junkie as I am, I never wanted to feel personally connected to any President of the United States, much less this one. But let’s face it, our lives have all been very directly affected by decisions and statements made by President Donald J. Trump.
Start with the fact that there is a very contagious virus called Covid-19 running rampant in America right now. People on Cape Cod have it. People I know may have it. People you know may have it. The virus is here.
It is not a media hoax to bring down the President. It is real.
The virus is or has been being spread by people who do not or did not take it seriously. That is clear.
One person who long argued it was not serious was President Donald J. Trump, who by this argument has very directly affected all of our lives.
For whatever reason even three years and thousands of lies into his presidency, many people listen to the President and believe everything he says. It’s confounding, to say the least.
On January 22, President Trump said, “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s — going to be just fine.”
More than a month later on February 24, he tweeted this: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
On February 28, the President told a packed rally in South Carolina, “the press is in hysteria mode.”
On March 9, he tweeted that the “Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater!) to inflame the CoronaVirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant.”
On March 13, he said, “I don’t take any responsibility at all.”
On March 15, the first case was reported on Cape Cod. On that day, parties and gatherings, certainly not just this one, were still happening on Cape Cod.
On March 18, President Trump declared himself a “wartime president.”
As best as I can tell, the March 13 and March 18 Trump statements, taken together in context mean that he is a wartime president for whom the buck stops somewhere else. Somewhere like here.
Cape Cod already has one death, and, as of this writing, 67 positive cases.
Failed Presidential policy and an astonishing lack of Presidential leadership is, quite simply, in the air around here.
When Cape Cod Wave Magazine launched in May, 2013, I desperately needed this positive outlet for my own very fragile mental health. So we launched this magazine, and my dream had come true: I was writing about surfers and guitar players. Their passion inspired me.
But now there is this war, and I am confused on so many levels.
While this war is the scariest of my lifetime, it does not have the one horrible element of all other wars – humans killing other humans on purpose.
And yet some elected humans are very much claiming that some human life should be expendable in order to save the economy. It renders one breathless, which I suppose is the literal point.
Meanwhile, in reality, people are dying and will die. The federal government, rather than urgently working to meet a need, has created a marketplace in which states bid against each other and against the federal government for needed equipment.
There is too much to follow and so much of it is bad, but the truth is, this brand new war correspondent, like the rest of the media, has found amazing inspirational stories of community, kindness and dedication.
There are inspirational stories everywhere, and it warms what feels like my increasingly fragile heart.
And while the inspiration is wonderful, there are the already bitter reminders that in this war, we are all potential victims. Anytime I talk to anyone, if I get too close, I could get infected. Same for you. Everything I touch might kill me. Or someone I love. Same for you.
The world has not just been turned upside down beyond the Twilight Zone. The world we once lived in no longer exists. Not now anyway.
The astonishing amount of information and links one can follow (For instance, How To Shop For Food) is enough to make one feel that a trip to the grocery store is like waiting for the planes to arrive overhead in London while Winston Churchill is telling us all to “never give up, never ever give up.”
But we do not have Winston Churchill, or Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or anyone of that ilk with our lives in their hands.
We are led by Donald J. Trump, who wants the country opened by Easter. Meanwhile, there is that grotesque sentiment floating around that it’s not worth saving the lives of a couple million old people if it means crippling our economy.
I may not be the only person getting older on Cape Cod wondering which particular birthday makes me expendable for the sake of the economy.
When reporter Peter Alexander asked Donald Trump on March 20, “What do you say to Americans who are scared?,” Trump answered this most basic softball question with, “I say you’re a terrible reporter.”
If given a chance, I would have asked the same question of any president during a time of crisis like this. Therefore, by the definition of the President of the United States, I am also a terrible reporter. And now, apparently, I am a war reporter, which is terrible.
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For our other coverage see Cape Cod Covidispatch
–PLEASE SEE You Can’t Sell Right Field, a novel from Cape Cod Wave….A review from Goodreads:
“Brian Tarcy knows Cape Cod and captures the attitudes, quirks and idiosyncrasies of its diverse residents. Beneath the witty banter and self deprecating commentary is embedded the most serious issue of the peninsula of Cape Cod – Development. Cape Cod needs jobs and economic impetus, but at what cost? Will the drive to build houses destroy the very nature of the Cape? Will greed push environmental ruin and development obliterate the natural beauty that natives and tourists both crave? Tarcy builds his story around the lives of a softball team of life-long friends, townies who have taken different paths and have opposing visions for the town they love.”