Trump's positive COVID test shines a light on the president's pandemic failures. It also shows Americans how we can make our country stronger.
- While we can acknowledge President Trump's failures to take the coronavirus seriously, we should all wish him well and hope for his recovery.
- Americans should aim to rise above the divisions created by the president and others and strive to create a more unified, stronger country.
- Michael Gordon is a longtime Democratic strategist, a former spokesman for the Justice Department, and the principal for the strategic-communications firm Group Gordon.
- This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
I want President Trump to feel better soon.
I expect that he will make a full recovery from COVID-19. And on that day he will almost certainly be back to his old self — full of bluster with no hint of humility or reflection. And we can expect that same attitude after he loses the election.
But despite Trump's historic lack of respect for the position he holds, most Americans respect the office and are ready to Make America Normal Again.
Despite the president's insufficient seriousness around the COVID response, most Americans recognize the threat and know it can't be spun away.
So while it's fair to be honest about Trump's failures — to take the virus seriously, to respond to the pandemic effectively, to set up effective safeguards at the White House — let's all wish the president well. Not because of the division he has sown — but despite it.
Our era of division
The morning after the President won his surprise election four years ago, my wife and I sat our young children down and told them we wanted Trump to succeed. They were old enough to recognize the hate he brought to the subject of immigrants, Gold Star families, the disabled, and so much more.
But we explained that if the president succeeds, the country succeeds. All of us succeed.
Little did we know then that Trump's campaign was merely a warm up act for the real reality show. But the point still holds: If we've learned nothing else this year, when the president fails, we all fail.
He has failed on the virus response, and the more than 200,000 lives lost is proof of that failure.
But imagine how many more lives would have been saved, how much more quickly we would get our economy back, if he led us like the leaders of countries that have quieted the virus.
Irony on steroids
It didn't take long for Twitter to explode upon hearing the news of the President's illness. Some memes write themselves.
My favorite singer Ben Platt elegantly posted a video from Chicago's "Cell Block Tango:" "He had it coming. He had it coming. He only had himself to blame."
A family member sent me her favorite tweet: "Looks like RBG successfully argued her first case before God."
There were instantly thousands of others.
The irony is obvious and does not need to be overstated — but also points to the fundamental weakness of our country. Our division — fueled by Trump and others — has left us the United States a weaker nation. So it's time to reject this disunity and make our country stronger.
The weakness was on display at Tuesday's presidential debate. The winners of the face-off were neither Trump nor Democratic nominee Joe Biden, but instead Russia and China. Chaos and division bring us down and are lifelines to our enemies.
If we want to face down our adversaries, we need to be more united. If we want to stomp out the virus as quickly as possible, we need to be more united. If we want to truly make a difference on racial injustice, we need to be more united. If we want to tackle the economic divisions of our time, we need to be more united.
As I heard someone say memorably in 2016, we are stronger together. Alas.
So we need to serve the president better than he has served us. We need to be better than he has been. We need to put our country first.
If the polls are right, in a short period of time, the Trump presidency will be just a bad memory. Then it will be up to us to unite. His game of distraction and division will be irrelevant. And we'll have no excuses left to move us forward again.
Get well soon, Mr. President. The rest of us have work to do.
This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author(s).
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