By Tom Burke / Herald columnist
Early in Steven Spielberg’s movie “Schindler’s List” a couple’s home is confiscated and they are forced into a crowded Kraków-ghetto-one-bedroom with six other families. The wife steadfastly, hopefully, states, “It could be worse.” The husband snaps back, incredulously, “How on earth could it possibly be worse?”
The rest of the movie — illustrating the depravity of Hitler’s “Final Solution” — chronicles how.
Earlier this month I pondered, “How on earth could 2020 possibly be worse?”
Then Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg passed and I realized, again, how Donald Trump and his Republican cult can still make our world even worse than it’s been. I also began hearing from others growing numb to the cumulative impact of Trump and the other god-awful calamities besetting us. Consider:
• Trump knew — and did nothing about — the coronavirus pandemic with more than 200,000 dead. (Listen to him on Bob Woodward’s tape recordings.)
• Global warming’s fueling horrific fires in Washington, Oregon and California.
• A more intense and destructive hurricane season, again thanks to climate change.
• India and China are still shooting at each other.
• Trump and Postmaster Louis DeJoy are screwing up the U.S. Postal Service to cripple voting by mail.
• The Midwest suffered a devastating derecho wind storm.
• Trump is actively undermining confidence in the electoral process.
• 380 pilot whales died, beached in Australia.
• Systemic racism and a fatally-flawed criminal justice system are still destroying Black and Brown lives. Trump says, “So what?”
• The Beirut blast killed or wounded 6,690 people.
• A high-ranking Homeland Security official filed a whistle-blower complaint: Trump is censoring intelligence reports so Russia can keep helping his election effort. (And the newest CIA/FBI analysis confirms it.)
• People are still lining up for food banks.
• Another much-needed stimulus package is dead for now. (Thanks, Mitch.)
• The Amazon rainforest is burning up.
• Barr continues his role as Trump’s personal “fixer,” further discrediting the Department of Justice.
• Trump continues to lose the China trade war and we continue to pay his tariffs, as he simply lies and claims China pays.
• 13 million are still unemployed.
• Trump has called his own appointed military leaders “babies” and “losers.”
• Trump has called our honored war dead and veterans “suckers.”
• Mary Trump, a trained clinical psychologist, says her uncle, Donald Trump, is a, “petty, pathetic little man – ignorant, incapable, out of his depth, and lost to his own delusional spin.”
• Trump’s sister, Maryanne, simply says, “You can’t trust him.”
• Two hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast and there’s hardly a public ripple.
• Puerto Rico finally gets relief from a hurricane (three years late) and an earthquake because Trump needs votes.
• The Pentagon got caught spending Covid-19 money to “protect” defense contractors’ profits, not American lives.
• The Sturgis motorcycle rally will consume $12.2 billion in public health spending so a bunch of folks could play at being bad-ass bikers.
• There’s doubt about whether people will trust the “Operation Warp Speed” Covid vaccine. (Because Trump has destroyed trust in the CDC and FDA. Would you get the shot on Trump’s say-so?)
• Brexit continues to endanger the United Kingdom.
• Trump’s FBI has declared white supremacists our greatest terrorist threat.
• Census shenanigans dangerously continue.
• Birx may quit the White House’s coronavirus task force.
• Putin poisons opponent and Trump says nothing.
• Putin puts bounty on America soldiers and Trump says nothing.
• 23 states report increasing Covid cases.
• A Republican investigation into Biden “corruption” finds nothing.
• Alaska mining execs are caught selling out the environment. (Again)
• Trump continues no mask/no social distancing rallies, while he gets tested daily and stays far away from his “disgusting” (his word) supporters.
• QAnon gains believers. Of course everyone knows there’s a deep state of devil-worshiping, pedophilic, child-sex-trafficking, cannibalistic, blood-drinking government employees trying to overthrow Trump. (Scary stuff that; are they delivering your mail? Sending you your Social Security check? Inspecting your meat for the USDA?)
• There’s no Trump health plan yet. (It’s only been since 2017.)
• The coronavirus is mutating.
• No national testing plan. Yet.
• Trump refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.
• And Kraft is introducing a pumpkin-spice mac and cheese! (And I though pumpkin-flavored beer was the nadir of pumpkin patch.)
Tom Burke’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.