If, like me, your initial response upon waking up to the news today that Kimberly Guilfoyle, the former Fox News host and current paramour of Donald Trump Jr., had contracted a coronavirus infection was to smile gleefully for a second (or several minutes) before admonishing yourself for violating your own moral code that posits the value of wishing ill to no other living thing, you have reached peak Trump-era cognitive dissonance.
Guilfoyle tested positive yesterday after traveling to South Dakota in advance of the bund-like rally at Mt. Rushmore — dubbed Mt. Russia-more by social media wits who continue to be enraged by Donald Trump’s failure to react to the Kremlin bounty paid to the Taliban for each American soldier killed in Afghanistan — where the president delivered an address to a largely maskless crowd, ignoring social distancing recommendations, that was likely the most divisive of his elocutionary-challenged career.
If, like me, you were initially somewhat disappointed to learn that Ms. Guilfoyle is still asymptomatic and that she and the president’s eldest son had not traveled with Donald Trump on Air Force One to the celebration of faux mutant patriotism for an American status quo of inequality, don’t feel guilty for your momentary tinges of schadenfreude.
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The very fact that you questioned the legitimacy and the morality of your instinctual emotional response to the news of the misfortune of someone who represents all that you view as the root of the nation’s misdirection and maleficence means that you have already evolved to a higher state of consciousness than the objects of your gloating — who have exhibited not a shred of regret for the lives that they have cost as they continue to enable the most destructive president in our nation’s history.
Why should you feel the least bit of guilt over feeling intellectually superior to someone who ignored the advice of the nation’s best infectious disease experts and traveled to Donald Trump’s ill-fated Tulsa rally last month which turned into exactly the hotbed of disease that the scientists predicted it would, with multiple diagnoses of positive indications of COVID-19 among the campaign staff and Secret Service members who were obligated to work at the ill-conceived, and even more poorly-attended, event?
One could take the position that these people were exercising their much-vaunted “freedom” in deciding to voluntarily continue working at demonstrably dangerous jobs despite the known risks and therefore deserve whatever outcome befalls them.
The problem is that it is exactly that sort of thinking that progressives love to condemn when the logic of personal responsibility is used by those who refuse to accept any responsibility of their own for the welfare of the other people with whom they share this planet.
By celebrating the misfortune of others and placing the blame on their own actions and conscious decision-making, we risk turning into that which we rightfully condemn.
With Donald Trump’s prospects for re-election dwindling further every day due to his failures to contain the worst pandemic in. modern history, one realizes that as much as one may want to celebrate the day he leaves office, it would be a dangerous and dubious occasion in this plague era for mass public gatherings and parties to express relief, joy, and hope.
Perhaps then the most appropriate first response on the day that Trump is definitively defeated and removed from office would be a national day of mourning for all the unnecessary lives destroyed by the monster that we let occupy our nation’s highest office.
At least that way we could celebrate afterward with our moral superiority intact and begin the hard slog back to restoring America to the land of the free and the home of the compassionate.
And as much as it pains us to say it, we must hope that Kimberly Guilfoyle doesn’t infect anyone else who is close to her if we wish to retain the basic sense of humanity that often is the only thing distinguishing those on the left from the hard-hearted right-wingers.
With Guilfoyle and the president’s son now reportedly driving back to the East Coast from South Dakota out of a sense of caution over infecting any fellow passengers on a plane, she will have ample opportunity to reflect on her life choices and will have to suffer Don Jr.’s company during the entire trip — a form of penance, or karma, that many people would not want to endure themselves.
Original reporting by Maggie Haberman at The New York Times.
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