COVID-19, America, and Donald Trump: The Fire This Time

Donald Trump. Dangrous POTUS in era of pandemic. Photo: Gage Skidmore  
Here’s how James Baldwin put it in Down At The Cross in 1963, “Time catches up with kingdoms and crushes them, gets its teeth into doctrines and rends them; time reveals the foundations on which any kingdom rests, and eats at those foundations, and it destroys doctrines by proving them to be untrue.”
The foundation of “America” and its “greatness” was built upon some interesting principles or precepts; “manifest destiny”, “American exceptionalism”, “white man’s burden” and “American internationalism” to name a few.
They have become the foundation and rationalization for a belief system. The basic tenet of that belief system is that the development and expansion of American empire was inevitable if not divine. Former President Reagan called America, “the shining city upon a hill”. Undergirding this is the cooptation of Christianity and the sickness known as “white supremacy”.
As children, Americans are indoctrinated into the mythology of America. We pledge allegiance to “…one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Baldwin dispelled that myth with “…the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too soon.” Jack “Jackie” Roosevelt Robinson told us long before “Kap” took a knee, “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.”
Former Senator John McCain (R-AZ) told us that “The United States is safer and more prosperous in a more democratic world and should take the lead in advancing this cause.” The problem with his logic is that you can neither foster nor promote democracy by causing innocent people to suffer through sanctioning their countries or through the barrel of a gun.
America can’t bring democracy to Venezuela by supporting coups to overthrow democratically elected presidents, first Chavez and now Maduro.  America cannot bring democracy to Boliva, Brazil and Honduras by supporting undemocratic right-wing governments that repress, threaten and jail their socialist opponents. This is not democracy, this is hypocrisy.
America cannot advance democracy around the world when it weaponizes the cause of the current global pandemic, COVID-19. How can a country that weaponizes a global pandemic be seen as a “shining city upon a hill”? It is immoral if not criminal for the U.S. to increase sanctions through its “maximum pressure campaigns” against Venezuela, Iran, Cuba and Palestine.  America’s maximum pressure is negatively impacting the flow of food, PPE, medicine and other supplies into these countries, making it exponentially more difficult for their governments to fight the pandemic.
As U.S. allies in Latin America are struggling to fight the novel coronavirus with limited financial and human resources, the U.S. is pressuring them to expel Cuban doctors. At the “request” of Donald Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has removed more than 8,000 Cuban doctors and other health professionals from Brazil.
Ecuadoran President Lenín Moreno has sent 400 doctors back to Cuba. Bolivia has sent 700 doctors back to Cuba after the US forced the resignation of socialist President Evo Morales in November. The health agreement between Cuba and El Salvador has also been cancelled at Trump’s “request”.  Even though the U.S. did not introduce the COVID-19 contagion into these countries, weaponizing it for political purposes to bring about regime change is the same as germ warfare and should be considered a crime against humanity.
America claims to be sanctioning these countries and others in the name of freedom, democracy and the American way. The families being destroyed by COVID-19 because the U.S. is applying it’s “maximum pressure campaign” on their governments for their “liberty” must, as Dr. King said, “… see Americans as strange liberators.”
The science to date tells us that this pandemic was detected in China in late 2019. Chinese health authorities warned the WHO of the pandemic on January 7, 2020.  It hit Europe before the CDC confirmed the first case in the US on January 20, 2020.  
The Trump administration ignored the warnings.  Trump largely disbanded the Global Health Security and Biodefense unit in the NSC in May 2018. This made it more difficult for the US to mount a coherent response.  Trump can’t get out of his own way to solve this problem and Republicans in Congress are afraid to challenge him. Party allegiance “trumps” loyalty to the American people.  All Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) can focus on is approving the next wave of conservative judges. Meanwhile, COVID-19 is exposing that the political system is broken.
Americans have been told that its health care system is the best in the world.  
People come from all over the world to avail themselves of its wonders and cures. That’s only true, if one can afford them. COVID-19 has exposed the fact that most Americans, even with health insurance, will be saddled with serious medical bills. According to Business Insider, “the total average charge per COVID-19 patient requiring an inpatient stay (6 days) is $73,300 and the total average estimated allowed amount per commercially insured patient is $38,221.”
There are 27 million Americans without insurance. Yet, democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said he would veto a “Medicare For All” bill if it crossed his desk as president. COVID-19 is exposing that our political process is broken.
The CDC cannot produce a trustworthy COVID-19 testing kit, so the U.S. government cannot test enough Americans to clearly understand the size of the problem. South Korea has identified 29 Korean manufacturers and exporters specializing in COVID-19 diagnostic devices and developed a robust testing regime.
Cases in South Korea are dropping. The U.S. cannot manufacture sufficient quantities of PPE since American companies have off-shored their manufacturing to China and Trump will not command the private sector to manufacture PPE through the Defense Production Act. The U.S. government no longer keeps an ample supply of PPE on hand since Americans have bought into the bad idea of “less government” and the private sector does not want to compete with a well-stocked government in times like this. COVID-19 is exposing that this manufacturing system is broken.
Tyson Foods executives have said that the closure of food-processing plants due to COVID-19 is “breaking” the supply chain.  American farmers are plowing under crops. Dairy farmers are dumping thousands of gallons of milk and millions of animals will be depopulated because of the closure of meat processing facilities while jobless claims increase by 4.4 million, 26 million Americans have lost their jobs to COVID-19 and food banks are going empty.  And you call this exceptional?
The U.S. can launch the $13 Billion USS Gerald Ford aircraft carrier with a $400K toilet problem but can’t get meat, milk and eggs to market in the midst of starving Americans, a crashing economy and a pandemic. COVID-19 has pulled the covers off of the entire charade called American exceptionalism.
Baldwin told us, time catches up with kingdoms and empires and crushes them. You better check your clocks and watches. God sent Noah the rainbow sign, no more water, COVID-19 this time.
Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the nationally broadcast talk radio program “Inside the Issues” on SiriusXM Satellite radio channel 126. Go to or email: [email protected]. and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at
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