I need to catch my breath (and not because of the coronavirus). The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of news stories the likes of which I’ve never seen. 2020 is already in the record books as the worst year ever. October 2020 has ramped up the emotional carnage level.
This crazy train we’ve been riding began to go off the rails in the last few days of September. The must-see TV presidential debate didn’t disappoint. The long-awaited showdown between President Trump and Vice President Joe Biden was a cross between The Kardashians and the WWE. The mudslinging started early and didn’t stop. Moderator Chris Wallace did more ducking and covering than actual moderating. The American people deserve better than this.
Two days later, discussion about the debate was pushed out of the limelight when it was revealed President Trump tested positive for COVID-19. Wait a minute, wasn’t the President maskless during the debate? Wasn’t the President just hosting a huge political soiree in the White House Rose Garden to introduce his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett?
As doctors tried to answer questions from the press about the President’s health, contact tracing for the virus began. The political dominoes began falling as one by one the Rose Garden partygoers tested positive for the coronavirus. The Rose Garden gathering was deemed a “superspreader event”, although the source of the virus couldn’t be pin-pointed.
Meanwhile, President Trump was given super-cocktails of experimental drugs that seem to propel him into good health. A presidential motorcade snaked through the streets as a masked president waved to the onlookers lining the sidewalks. Trump detractors were horrified by this blatant display of recklessness, while his supporters called it a show of strength. I wondered if this was all really happening. I get that feeling a lot when I watch the news these days.
While all of this was unfolding, news broke about our new New England Patriot’s quarterback Cam Newton. Cam won’t be playing football for a few weeks as he tested positive for coronavirus. And just as he was working his way into our hearts. The familiar rhythm of Sunday afternoon football has been severely disrupted as fans are facing game postponements and third string quarterback appearances. Let’s hope Cam has a speedy recovery and that his post-game helmet-to-helmet love taps with superstar Patrick Mahomes didn’t spread the virus to more players. Football’s return to normalcy made it seem like things were moving in the right direction. Now even that stability has been taken down like a bad Brady quarterback sack.
The next day, President Trump made his triumphant return from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to the White House. He appeared to be in full virus-survivor mode. His balcony waving photo op drew comparisons to Kin Jong Un. Unmasked with arms in the air, it was reminiscent of a scene from the musical Evita (the Patti LuPone Broadway version, not the Madonna debacle of 1996). Trump’s sound bites reflected his mood. He said “I feel great!” He said his contraction of COVID-19 was a “blessing from God.” He said he has a better understanding of the virus. He said “Don’t be afraid of COVID…”. I’m taking all of this with a grain of salt because this was the same man who stared into the sun during the solar eclipse of 2017. Somehow the President is the only person to emerge from the shadow of the virus even stronger than he was before he contracted it. His recovery is a miracle of modern science, but who would expect anything less.
Even as these events were sinking in, the vice-presidential debate took center stage. The Thursday night debate was slightly more controlled than the recent presidential one, but there were still a few sparks flying. An eye-rolling Kamala Harris defended her average Joe, while a stoic Mike Pence revered The President. The big buzz was the fly that landed on the Vice-President’s head and sat there comfortably for a full two minutes before it flew off. Unfortunately, that was the most memorable moment of the night.
A second presidential debate appears to have been shelved for now. A re-energized Donald Trump wants an in-person event, while a safety-conscious Joe Biden prefers to go virtual. The president won’t commit to a remote debate, calling it a waste of time (even though everything is being done virtually these days – from school to doctor appointments to comedy clubs).
Maybe it’s best the second presidential debate has been cancelled. I need a break from breaking news. I’m sure something major will happen soon enough. I don’t even have room to mention Hillary Clinton’s resurfaced ties to Russia-gate, Donald Trump’s tax problems, Nancy Pelosi’s move to invoke the 25th Amendment, the unprecedented number of hurricanes this season or the microburst that toppled trees on the very street where I live. Whew. I’m exhausted from writing that last sentence.
There are still two and a half months to get through before 2020 finally comes to an end. For now, I’m hoping I make it through the next two weeks. My head is still spinning from the last two. Fasten your seat-belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!