Sunday, March 29, 2020


The Epidemic Within the Pandemic

As the pandemic’s numbers double
on the tote board like the national debt,
the United States already was fighting
an infectious epidemic. A virulent strain

Where more citizens were susceptible
than estimated and were contaminated by
the xenophobia, racism, and distrust of science
spewed by patient zero, the president.
These strains have infected political discourse
with his toxic word salad sprinkled with
long-discounted narratives, a tortured
national mythology, to feed the fascist hunger.

He believes in the church of make-believe
where our lives and this country are mere
foils in his reality tv series with
the next episode now streaming:
“Desperate for an enemy: Pandemic.”
With the log line: Believing he is
worthy of being a wartime president,
DJT usurps more power, but fails to use it
and remains oblivious the military
has been engaged in a War on Terror,
since he took office.

With script and prompter, he stands in front
of the world with a wrecking ball of false hope,
lies and non-sequitur attacks.
Like Marie Antionette, he dismisses his charge
with a wave, “try getting them yourselves”
as though he were running late for a tee time
and Ivanka and Jarod asked him to buy a cake,
only to grudgingly offer assistance.

While not the first president to inherent
an unexpected flex point in history, he is
the first to adamantly declare
the buck stops elsewhere.
What war crimes await at the end
of your series, Mr. War President?
The very real responsibility of snuffing
more lives unnecessarily because
of his carelessness and antipathy
towards the suffering, like those
on the border before the pandemic,
Now it will be the soldiers
of medicine who battle without
enough personal protection
equipment, and other necessary
weapons to flatten the curve.

War should galvanize a nation
where citizens’ sacrifices work
in concert with federal power.
Instead, we are left singing
alone for crumbs of compassion
of a heartless wanna-be dictator.

Should we still be surprised?
Three years and a half years in?
Nearly 250 years in?
Our national health confronts
this epidemic every generation
when the established power is
threatened. It infects by with-
holding the healing medicine
and instead resorts to ramping
fear addled lies over truth.

Today, all of us are susceptible
with every cough, fever, sneeze
or runny nose. Today
we are the “other” for being
too something in the white, rich
man’s last heartless gasp of control.

Justice continues be fought for
by those willing to take a bullet,
to be beaten, and to not hide
behind daddy’s money.
People bravely working
shoulder to shoulder
to bridge the social distances
Mr. War President longs to torch.

Hunker down, citizen scientists
artists and entrepreneurs.
Get to work at home in your
garages, basements, and kitchen
tables. Build respirators, ventilators
or better yet vaccines to stop these viruses
and heal a country struggling for breath.

--Tom Lagasse

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