The following are things we know:
• CNN reported that tens of millions of filthy, used nitrile gloves were imported into the U.S. from Thailand for use by medical personnel. The order was approved in August 2020 by Peter Navarro, former President Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” czar.
It was part of the poor decision-making at the Trump White House that also resulted in paying $15,000 each for respirators that the Obama Administration bought for $3,000. It is unknown whether any of the gloves were used. The purchase of the dirty gloves was reported to the Food and Drug Administration early this year by a hospital that received gloves with visible blood stains.
Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” also gave a $1.2 billion contract to Apiject to produce syringes for COVID-19. Apiject promised 100 million syringes by the end of 2020. To date, land has been cleared to build a plant, but no syringes have been produced.
• Rick Perlstein, author of multiple books about modern conservatism, says politically reactionary white supremacists who had always considered themselves on top socially had an ally in Trumpism. Those who had considered themselves culturally, socially and economically above the Blacks and the other of people of color were facing an onslaught of liberation movements that were all about giving others a fair slice of the pie. Angst over that happening is what Trump tapped into. It’s what the insurrection was really about. It’s why the insurrectionists and their ilk continue to support the twice-impeached, dictator-wannabe Donald Trump.
But now that some of those same insurrectionists have been arrested and tried for their participation in the attempted coup, they are recognizing — and admitting — that their faith in Trump was misplaced. They were duped by his rhetoric. He called them “patriots” and they believed that he would protect them for participating in the insurrection and their support of his “Big Lie.” Too late, they have learned that they are not patriots but instead patsies.
• The Centers for Disease Control has recognized racism as a “serious threat” to public health. The COVID-19 pandemic, like other serious diseases, has disproportionately affected communities of color. Members of Congress are also calling for racism to be recognized as a public health crisis. The CDC says lack of opportunity is the cause of higher infant mortality rates, higher maternal mortality rates, and higher rates of obesity. Lack of accessible and affordable medical facilities means that many expectant mothers have no access to pre-natal care. That translates into higher maternal death rates and higher infant mortality rates.
• So-called “Critical Race Theory” is not and has never been taught in American elementary schools or high schools. It is a theory discussed in law schools by law students considering a career in legal defense law. It has been used as a “dog whistle” to incite outrage, but it only means what we already know: that ongoing societal racism contributes to the anger that boils over into racial violence and might be considered by juries in their convictions and sentencing of Blacks held down for centuries, first by white slave owners, and later by white supremacists.
There is societal action supporting the teaching of truths about slavery in American history classes, because few children are taught about the depravities slaves endured and how that translates into the discrimination faced by Blacks even today. It is the truth behind Toni Morrison’s book, “Beloved,” which details the wrongful use and abuse of enslaved women.
• Amanda Marcotte, writing for Salon, marvels that, even though Trump’s presidency has been vanquished, he manages to hold onto his base of “deplorables.” Trump’s “sociopathic lack of regard for others. His towering narcissism. His utter ease with lying. His cruelty and sadism. The glee he took in cheating, and stomping on anything good and decent. His love of encouraging violence, equaled only by his personal cowardice. But of all the repulsive character traits in a man so wholly lacking in any redeemable qualities,” says Marcotte, “perhaps the most perplexing to his opponents was Trump’s incredible stupidity. A man who clearly could barely read still had the low cunning necessary to take over — and hold onto — the Republican Party.”
We’ve seen this over and over with Trump. He demanded absolute fealty. When anyone put the good of the country first or simply corrects an incorrect statement — No, Mr. President, that hurricane will not hit Alabama — Trump becomes incandescent with rage. He cannot be wrong: someone might realize his “big brain“ is not so big after all. It’s why he surrounds himself with incompetents and sycophants: they can be controlled with fear and intimidation. He operates like the Mafia. It’s all he knows.
• And, lastly, North Carolina Congressman Madison Cawthorn says he wants to return us to the way America used to be. Cawthorn was reared with privilege and all the advantages that carries with it. He has no idea what America used to be for most Americans. Few of us want to return to yesterday. Our challenge is to offer equal opportunity and a better life for all today.
Martha Johnson is a resident of Elizabeth City.