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My social sabbatical has offered a welcomed reprieve from ruminative thinking. Maybe some other ways in which my mania manifests, but the decreased rumination is more than enough if I’m honest!

There’s no escaping some details deemed newsworthy, like the hot rolling shit-show that was the first presidential debate. I tuned in just long enough for Joe Biden to call Donald Trump “the worst president America has ever had.” Then I went to bed; confirmation bias is the best.

Then came the news on Friday of President Trump and those close to him testing positive for the coronavirus. And while the president has done visibly nothing to protect himself during the pandemic (failing to wear a mask and practicing safe social distancing) — and poo-pooing scientific data and medical experts, AND fueling the already-raging fires of conspiracy theorists — I still think it’s wrong to infer this is some form of “karmic justice.” That he somehow asked for it, or deserved it.

I don’t think anybody “asks” to get sick. They may increase the risk of illness in tandem with the choices they do (or don’t) make, sure. But I don’t know anyone who goes around licking water fountains to get laid up for a week or more with a debilitating illness (or worse, to straight up die).

Nevertheless: to regard President Trump hospitalized, on oxygen, pumped full of steroids and potentially on the brink of death as some beautiful thing is as bad as those who watched the Republican National Convention and were heartened by seeing the masses who refused to mask up or practice social distancing.

Where did we go wrong? When did living in service to God and neighbor take a backseat to political ideologies, agendas and conspiracies?

I know there are people in this world, people I know personally — even people I love — that don’t take this pandemic seriously. To them it’s not real. They haven’t been affected by it, and don’t know anyone who knows anyone who has or had it. To them, it’s just a big government scheme: the government just wants “to control me, control my bank accounts, control my guns, control my religion.”

If that’s how you feel, I have news: your first mistake is thinking that any of this is about you, or the control you have over this situation (spoiler alert: you have none). The whole mask-wearing, social-distancing, hand-washing song and dance? Yes, it protects you but it protects those around you, too. It creates safer environments for at-risk populations. Why wouldn’t you want to participate in that? Or are you so concerned that the government is trying to pull a fast one on you and you refuse to be fooled? What are you really trying to protect?

You’re already a fool if you don’t wear a mask or socially distance on principle alone, and you’re putting others (and yourself) at risk to contract the disease. I hope that’s a lesson we can learn from Friday’s news. Hopefully all affected parties will recover, and quickly — including the president himself.

And, I’ll be honest, it’s taken a couple days of reflection and prayer to reach this conclusion. To not hope this is some life-and-death conversion event for President Trump. To not relish in some semblance of schadenfreude in this supposed instance of “coronakarma.” But that kind of attitude is not good for the soul, and doesn’t serve God or my neighbor.

I’ll close with this: three weeks ago, my father-in-law David died. I didn’t really want to talk about his cause(s) of death because nobody should be paraded around in their death for some agenda. It is no different today.

But, he did die because of health complications caused by diabetes and COVID-induced pneumonia. His death has been recorded as one caused by COVID-19.

There isn’t a sweeter, kinder, more thoughtful man walking the earth today (that Dave hasn’t transferred his genes to, of course). He was the diametric opposite of our current president. He was everything President Trump isn’t.

COVID-19 obviously doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter how kind you are, how much political power you have or how wealthy you are. It is real, and it can kill you if you’re not careful.

So, as I appeal to you (again, and finally):

for the love of GOD

(and neighbor)

wear your damn mask,

wash your damn hands,

stay six-feet apart,

and take this seriously. Please.

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