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President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at Xtreme Manufacturing on Sept. 13, 2020 in Henderson, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

How many have heard of a virus deadlier than Covid-19 which has become virulent in recent years? If not destroyed or at least controlled, it will eat into the vitals of the U.S. It can inflict devastation worse than any calamity we have faced since the Civil War.

During the Civil War era, President Abraham Lincoln had warned that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” Unfortunately, the U.S. has started on this path without our realization. We are being divided into two groups by this unrecognized virus and President Donald Trump has become the major carrier and spreader of this deadly virus.

While the U.S. is fighting Covid-19 along with other nations, this peculiar divisive hatred (DH) virus has shaken the democratic foundations of the U.S. When Trump was elected president, most people, including Trump himself, were stunned. Unfortunately, no one diagnosed the actual problem.

A simplistic explanation was given for his victory. Many voters leaning towards the Democratic Party were very confident of Trump’s defeat and did not bother to vote. It was the fault of the Electoral College. If only more voters had taken the trouble to vote in the battle ground states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Trump would have lost. 

If the psephologists had diagnosed the disease caused by the fast spreading DH virus, we would not be where we are today. The 2018 mid-term election further delayed diagnosing the disease, identifying the DH virus and developing the vaccine. Democrats were able to get back the House of Representatives. Voters clipping the wings of Trump by giving a majority to Democrats in the House gave a false sense of confidence. However, the Republicans increasing their majority in the Senate should have been a red flag to go after the DH virus.

Recent polls also are not helpful in diagnosing the DH virus. All of them predict Joe Biden’s victory in the election. Hundreds of thoughtful articles by eminent writers have failed to analyze the worsening violent crimes in the cities and shocking killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky; and Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

While racism is certainly one of the obvious factors, there are many other underlying factors which are never discussed by the mainstream media. One significant factor is the DH virus, which has never been mentioned, though the worsening crisis has often been attributed to the leadership style of Trump. Some have suggested the pandemic and Trump referring to it as ‘Chinese virus’ as one of the factors. 

A recent New York Times article by Thomas Friedman, “Who can win America’s politics of humiliation?”, and a book, Rage by Bob Woodward, give some ideas on diagnosing the DH virus. 

According to Friedman, many supporters of Trump are not attracted by his policies. They still support Trump because he skewers the elite and liberals who have humiliated them. He quotes Nelson Mandela to argue that no one is more dangerous than the one who is humiliated. Trump has fully exploited this to spread the DH virus. During the Charlottesville riots, Trump saw “very fine people” on both the sides to proliferate DH virus. 

Most (but not his base) are shocked by Woodward’s revelation that Trump deliberately downplayed the pandemic not to create panic. He knew that the Covid-19 was deadly, airborne and extremely contagious. Because of the DH virus, his most damning conclusion that “Trump is the worst man for the job” will not have any impact on his base. 

The useful takeaway from Rage is that many who work with him were complicit in spreading the DH virus directly or indirectly. Some thought that by continuing to work with him, they could prevent him from doing the worst. Did they succeed? Like Trump, they threw away their moral compass, a direct effect of the DH virus.

To appreciate the deadly nature of the DH virus, it would be necessary to analyze the egregious concept of Trumpism. The Atlantic magazine has recently published an article in which Trump has referred to dead soldiers as “losers” and “suckers.” He also commented that he does not understand why anyone would join the army risking their life. It looks like for Trump, wealth is the only sensible goal and Kamala Harris becoming “the president is an insult to the U.S.”

With each passing day we hear the worst possible and damning statements from Trump and think it cannot get any worse. But it does. Such developments should disturb the conscience of any rational human being. However, the DH virus-infected minds are simply unable to appreciate how Trump is dangerous to the U.S. national security or responsible for the deaths of thousands by Covid-19 (soon exceeding 200,000).

Instead of attacking the base or those who continue to support Trump, we need to recognize they are under the spell of the DH virus. As wisely suggested by Friedman, we should not humiliate those who support Trump any further. 

Not only should we shun any violent attack involving burning of buildings or use of guns, we should also desist from verbal attack. It is most unfortunate that a Trump supporter was gunned down by an antifa member in Portland, Oregon. Such acts should be condemned by all. 

We need to appreciate the predicament of Trump supporters. Had they not been infected by DH, they would have acted differently. Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. have shown how we can win over our enemies and achieve our goal by peaceful means by implementing the true spirit of “the sermon on the mount.” Instead of criticizing the “other group,” we should try to build bridges of understanding and try to kill the DH virus. 

Protestors, instead of organizing protest marches, should take recourse to hold symbolic hunger strikes like Mahatma Gandhi did when British colonialists dealt violently with the peaceful freedom fighters.

Another effective way to kill the DH virus for all those who believe in simple human decency and social justice is to participate in the election in huge numbers and vote for the right candidates. Otherwise the future generation of Americans will wonder how their forefathers elected someone like Trump whose policies the majority did not like and most considered him to be unfit and even dangerous to be president.

Bhamy V. Shenoy

Via E-mail

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