Still Want to Build a Wall? Why Not a COVID Memorial?

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The victims of COVID-19 and the families left behind deserve what little solace we can offer them. They died by neglect, by ego-inflamed ignorance that amounts to domestic terrorism. Where’s their 9/11 memorial?

Help me out with my calculations here, math majors. If The Vietnam Wall is approximately 150 meters long and memorializes some 58,000 souls, how far would we have to build in order to commemmorate all of our fellow Americans who lost their lives to incompetence in service to an aspiring autocrat?

The Vietnam Wall varies in height from 10 feet at its peak down to just eight inches where it tapers at both ends. To honor the 500,000 we’ve lost a similar wall would have to be about 4,243 feet long.

At almost a mile that is about ten times longer than The Vietnam Wall. But Trump wouldn’t even offer thoughtsandprayers during televised press conferences. He wouldn’t even lower The White House flag to half-staff.

Instead of waving every American flag at half-staff and half-mast, all I see is flag swag — tacky clothes, silk-screened trucks and gaudy “patriotic” decor — most of which violates the U.S. Flag Code. But no matter. Real Americans™ don’t have to follow the rules — they’re ensconced for everyone else as both endless gauntlet to prove their Americanism and routine maintenance to demonstrate their worthiness.

Because that’s more important than admitting the pandemic is real. The danger is ongoing. It will not magically disappear.

While we’re careening down the ghost road to hell I understand the temptation to pretend like everything is fine. But that doesn’t make it so. We are fighting a historic crisis.

We can only walk through one portal, and Trump wanted us to believe The Gates of Hell are Paradise. It’s a vain hope, like the chocolate-covered child who hopes they won’t get in trouble for eating cake. But Trump is always childlike in his compulsions.

The Trump experiment that left half a million people dead was a panopticum of all that is rotten in us — the slow boil of looming fascism, the disdain for science so painfully lamented by Asimov, the conflation of Christianity with nationalism, the conflation of white supremacy with patriotism, male fragility, greed and ego — our seven deadly sins.

“One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear,” President Trump, February 27, 2020 at The White House.

Trump’s final days raged with legions of pasty white supremacists fueled by an inflated sense of prominence, entitlement and impunity — all championed by a pasty Christian nationalist pillow salesman and a pasty attorney-shaped humanoid we used to collectively respect and admire. It’s been surreal.

The MAGAts have long been spoiling for a fight, a crusade to preserve the caste system that artificially elevates their mediocrity. The desperate need of the mediocre to feel “better than” is the reason they have to believe the election was stolen and that COVID is a liberal conspiracy.

They fetishize the military and publicly mourn the KIA Veterans of Foreign Wars but not victims of mass shootings because we can only mourn Americans killed by outsiders, dangerous foreigners.

It seems Americans have a right to kill each other but the American psyche only allows for the binary — good guys and bad guys.

If we publicly mourned the loss of our COVID dead, (or mass shooting victims) we would have to admit that we let them die — that we could’ve saved them. And it is more important to uphold the illusion of blameless innocence and moral superiority than it is to offer solace to grieving families. It is more important to protect our freedom to not wear a mask (or to own guns) than it is to protect one another from dying.

So if you still want to build a wall using precious finite tax-payer dollars it shouldn’t be to keep people out — many of whom are fleeing crises caused or exacerbated by US foreign policy and the insatiable US demand for drugs.

I’d rather spend tax dollars on vaccine research than building The Covid Memorial Wall. But if the same contingent of insurrectionists who scaled a wall to infiltrate Congress still want a border wall I recommend we build it around The White House — so that no future president will ever forget the price Americans pay when despots put their cult of personality above their responsibility to serve the people.

twitter @h_m_edwards unsplash @heathermedwards

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