The world we live in today is not one we anticipated on New Year’s Eve when Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen saw the ball come down in Times Square. Both appeared in South Florida together last November at the Broward Center in a giddy show they laughingly called “AC2.” 

Today, Andy Cohen is recovering from having the coronavirus. He is fortunate. There are over 130,000 Americans who have not. Every day, more of us die from this horrible disease. 

It is the middle of July and the South Florida beaches should be lined up with residents walking on warm sands and wading in cool waters. Instead, we have Intensive Care units at local hospitals packed, with few beds available. They are not dealing with a rash of sunburn cases. 

In a summer where we should be celebrating Pride, we are dealing instead with a global pandemic. The state of Florida has become a national epicenter for the coronavirus, and South Florida particularly.  Half of those suffering and dying from COVID-19 reside in Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach.  We are number one. 

As more get tested, the infection numbers will surge. All summer, it is going to get worse. We did not listen to the doctors. They presented inconvenient truths. Things like hand-washing and social distancing are not asking too much. It beats a ventilator.  

Our national leadership has woefully failed us. From the outset, the Trump administration’s conduct has been traitorous, their words deceitful.  

The President is still in denial. This pandemic is not going away magically.  

Donald Trump has delivered us chaos and calamity. Early in the pandemic, he declared himself a “wartime president.” He then put on his golf uniform and spent Memorial Day on the links.  We are lucky when he does. The world is a safer place when he is playing with himself then when he is governing the nation. 

If Florida is enduring this crisis worse than other states, it is because our own governor champions the president’s recklessness. We are knee-deep in the Big Muddy, and the fool tells us to move on. He wants to open the schools. He may have to. We won’t have enough beds in the hospitals. 

In some cities, like Houston, hospital administrators have begun wartime triage. Elderly patients are the first casualties of this crisis in our hospitals. They are being sent home to die. It happened in New York a few months ago. Why won’t it happen here? 

America has the military might carpet the world with bombs, but not enough protective medical equipment to fit and clothe our nurses and doctors. Two years ago, the president disbanded a task force to fight this very kind of  pandemic. This year, he ignored intelligence warning us of a virus that could spread. We elected a president who cheated on his SAT's and dodged the draft.  

We have more medical schools and research hospitals than anywhere else in the world, but this White House is more worried about confederate statues and which criminal will be getting next week’s pardon. And Hillary's emails. 

Last February, we should have organized a global task force to tame the pandemic. We should have initiated a nationwide program of testing and tracing. Instead, the president is holding rallies in June and July which are  defying all the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control. We truly have a madman in the White House and an absence of moral leadership from his Republican colleagues in the United States Senate. 

Just as the president ignored the warnings from the World Health Organization to recognize the dangers of this virus, just as he ignores his daily briefings from intelligence experts, he is oblivious to the realities around him. He questions the patriotism of those who challenge him, fires those who defy him, and pardons those who commit crimes for him. 

Discord and division are the air Donald Trump breathes. If we see Americans fighting each other over wearing masks, opening schools or closing beaches, it is because the president seeded discord and division, instead of harmony and hope. Meanwhile, the Red Plague of Death is spreading. Hold him accountable. This is happening under his watch. The buck stops in the golden toilets of Mara Lago. 

We can’t mask the number of lives this pandemic has taken. On Nov. 3, the debate will not be about who is wearing a mask at Walmart. It will be about who we want to lead our nation going forward. In 2016, we elected a snake oil salesman to the highest office in the land.  

What did we have to lose? Apparently, everything. Florida is a state in play in 2020. Register. Vote. The life you save may be your own.


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