A bioethicist's pre-election 2016 blog post warns about Trump and a fictional pandemic
Generally, the subject of how a presidential candidate or newly elected one would handle a global pandemic once in office has not been a front burner issue for media types covering a crucial election. But Donald Trump's candidacy must have rattled the global health elites enough to cajole their medical experts and press pals to begin a fear-mongering campaign even before Trump beat Hillary Clinton on November 8, 2016.
Long before COVID-19 came ashore this past January, Trump's enemies began politicizing the possibility of a Trump-era pandemic. In 2017, a Clinton-supporting Dr Fauci warned of a "surprise outbreak" during the Trump administration.
Earlier, a month after Trump won in 2016, The Atlantic published an article entitled "How a Pandemic Might Play Out Under Trump." The Atlantic writer depicted Trump as a "flying off the handle, rambling" authoritarian isolationist with "zero experience” dealing with future pandemics.
In March of 2016, a New York University professor of bioethics, Arthur Caplan, wrote a futuristic, fictional blog piece titled "The End of Civilization and the Real Donald Trump." The obsession with Trump and a potential global infection was on the opposition’s minds, for sure.
Caplan’s foreboding narrative opens in the spring of 2017 with hundreds of dead chickens appearing in the markets of Hong Kong and other Chinese cities. An American businessman returning from Hong Kong to the U.S. becomes the first victim of a deadly avian virus sweeping the globe. Soon, Caplan is describing mandatory mask wearing, stay-at-home orders, a media in "full, panic-dispensing mode,” daily CDC briefings, references to the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918 and fast-tracked efforts to develop a vaccine. Sound familiar? The scenario quickly devolves into a future President Trump demanding governors and mayors send out the military to quarantine those breaking his executive lockdown orders and herd them all into makeshift detention camps.
There was no vaccine available but efforts were underway to make one since the genome of the mutated virus had been sequenced. People were urged to stay home, wear masks, cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing and to get the annual flu shot since that might confer some protection. Then President Trump decided to act.
Trump told every governor to get the state police involved to enforce quarantine but the numbers involved simply overwhelmed. Trump declared martial law and called out the military to enforce it supplemented by National Guard troops dispatched by cooperative governors.
Caplan's version reverses the authoritarian roles being played out today with COVID-19. Currently, it's the despotic mayors and governors of individual states using strong-armed tactics, suppressing dissent and forcing law-abiding citizens to comply with perverse and Kafkaesque guidelines, not President Trump.
What Caplan does get eerily right, as if he had a crystal ball, is the unprecedented reaction by our political representatives and medical technocrats to the current coronavirus. For us in 2020, what started out as commonsense recommendations to stop the spread of a new viral strain has rapidly turned into a model-driven hysteria pushed by CDC's Nancy Messonnier, and later, Drs. Fauci and Birx. As part of the COVID-19 Task Force, it was largely their expertise that had us adhering to the edicts of power-mad Democrat officials taking full advantage of their shot at winning the presidency in 2020. They have decimated Trump’s economy in record time; issued lockdown orders; encouraged surveillance; there is talk of mobilizing the military to enforce mandatory vaccinations; and finally, enlisting police to shut down church services, public parks, beaches and locally-owned businesses. No other outbreak in our history has prompted politicians to release hardened criminals from prison while arresting and jailing innocent gym members, mothers at the beach, salon owners and taxpaying Americans. The pandemic crisis, manufactured or not, has enabled the “resistance” radical Democrats to get us as close as we have ever been to a banana republic presidential election and a defunct Bill of Rights.
At the end of Caplan's not so far-fetched post, he predicts President Trump will have to answer for the overreaching government’s actions. As the disease begins "to fade,’ he writes, “many called for an assessment of what had gone wrong in battling the avian flu of 2017.” Fortunately, Trump has repeatedly put the onus for COVID-19 on local state leaders. The recent protests against unconstitutional mandates have been directed at governors and mayors threatening citizens who pay their salaries with prison time for sitting in dry sand.