Dear Trump Supporters,
Yesterday, April 27 at 10:11 a.m., my father passed away from complications of COVID-19. He is one of the many who have died alone in a hospital bed with no one he loved close by. He was my dad. I loved him. He, like you, voted for the current president, Donald J. Trump, and followed him the way you do, taking the words that come out of his mouth as fact and transcendent truth, in the face of all contradictory evidence.
Like you, he believed COVID-19 was fake news, a hoax cooked up by Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats to try and ruin his presidency when impeachment failed. Like you, he was quelled by the president’s assurances that the virus would weaken and be gone by spring, that more people would commit suicide because of quarantine than by the virus, that everyone who wanted a test could get one, and on March 2, 2020, that pharmaceutical companies are “to have vaccines, I think, relatively soon.” Trump dismissed the urgent need for self-quarantine as soon as possible when he could easily have urged every citizen of the nation to quarantine and practice social distancing to help people save their own lives and the lives of those they love and of their communities. Because his words, attitudes and actions are your guide, my dad, like so so many of you, refused to quarantine in the crucial weeks that COVID-19 cases began infiltrating the US.
On March 20, I received a distressed call from my sister. “You won’t believe the conversation I just had with Dad. I called him and he was in Peter Pan Diner, having lunch! I said, Dad, you shouldn’t be in there. You don’t know who’s preparing the food or who sat at the table before you. They could be infected. His answer was, ‘It’s clean in here.’” Two weeks later, he was admitted to the hospital after growing weak and disoriented and then, testing positive for Covid-19. Now he is gone.
I have to say, I do not understand your mentality. I watch on the news how so many of you claim to be pro-life, even going so far as to protest abortion clinics. Yet, now, at a time when trying to preserve human life is crucial, you refuse to take the measures that would help prevent a life-destroying virus from spreading and killing untold numbers of people. Worse, there are those among you who are actually protesting the safety measures taken by state governments to slow the spread of the virus while they work on getting tests and, hopefully, a vaccine.
Do you really believe that somehow you who love and support Donald Trump are magically immune to the virus? Obviously that isn’t true. My father completely agreed with you that Donald Trump should be our president and supported him unfailingly and unquestioningly and now he is gone. He left behind people who loved him and now mourn him after not having had a chance to see him one last time and to be near him. There will be no memorial service because those of us left behind are doing what we can to protect our health and the health of those around us. It is our duty as human beings, to each other. It is what is decent and right and true. Apparently, you don’t feel this way and people who may not have gotten sick, are sick and dying from this pandemic.
Of course, everyone dies at some point. Death is a fixture of our existence and we all must face this passage. However, these past few weeks of my father’s deterioration chronicled only in phone conversations with a doctor and one video call in which I got to say good bye before his consciousness had waned to the point he couldn’t see me, have driven home the heartlessness of those who refuse to practice social distancing and self-quarantining. The heartlessness of those who protest the crucial safety measures in place with guns on the steps of government buildings. There are actual people affected by your attitudes and the actions resulting from those attitudes. People who are losing loved ones because they believe in someone whose words claim to have their interests and safety at heart but who, in the clinch, did not tell those he knows would have listened to him to get inside and social distance.
In all honesty, I don’t expect you to be moved by this letter or to change your viewpoints. I am not so naive. I am too well-versed in what it is like to have a family member who voted for Trump and I understand there is nothing anyone can say that elicits any other response than angry defensiveness of obvious stupidity. However, in the face of these facts, at least you can’t insist that somehow believing in Trump will magically protect you from the pandemic. This letter is a way of my processing my grief and utter frustration at the situation, not only my own frustration but that of so many who have protected themselves and the ones they love from the get go, as well as that of people in the same situation as myself: a loved one ill and dying in a hospital bed and unable to be near them and say good bye. If someone reads this letter and does have a spark of, “hey maybe I’m wrong and what I’m doing is hurting people and possibly causing people to get infected,” great. But I will not hold my breath. I will just continue to process this great loss and mourn someone who, while I totally disagreed with everything he stood for politically, was my dad and whom I loved and will miss.