LeDuff: Our Political Choices -- A Red Trucker Cap or a Pink Pussy Hat

October 07, 2020, 11:00 PM by  Charlie LeDuff

I sit here thinking about too many friends dead from Covid, a bank account on life support, a glove box full of soiled masks.

I think about the 17-year-old boy I met last week, out of jail on a tether for attempted murder. And I think about those attempting to murder him for the attempt.

I'm thinking about the mother of two working at a senior center in Detroit who just took a $2-an-hour pay cut; her reward for working through the pandemic.

In America, we're clinging to a rope stretched over a gorge filled with dung. The political choices between a red trucker cap and a pink pussy hat -- the uniforms of the two major American political parties who seem to have no real answers.


If you view politics from a basis of facts, then you know the economy was a house of cards even before the pandemic. The U.S. economy grew by $500 billion in 2019 but it took the government running a $1 trillion deficit to make it happen. That's bad math. Debt is at all-time highs: household, corporate, federal. More bad math. Interrupt those debt payments, and the house of cards collapses.


And here I sit.

It was not the greatest economy in American history, despite what Trump says. In Michigan, trade-related job losses doubled over the last three years and that was before the pandemic.

We lost nearly 20,000 automotive jobs since Trump took office -- including 2,000 before Covid. Again, facts. Point them out, and people say unsociable things about your mother.

On the left, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer takes to friendly interviewers to crow about a dubious economic comeback thanks to her handling of the pandemic. Michigan is in the top 10 of economic rebound, she says.

Perhaps, but Michigan is 11th for unemployment. And now unemployment checks for more than 800,000 people could be cut off because the Michigan Supreme Court ruled last week that her executive-ordered state of emergency was unconstitutional, making her nearly 200 emergency declarations null and void. That includes those unemployment checks. But bank notes are still due. Property taxes must be paid. Kids need to eat.

If one thing's for certain in America, it's that less money means more crime.

Now, with her power stripped, Gov. Whitmer is finally calling for bipartisan cooperation with the Republican controlled legislature. If she'd done that from the beginning, maybe millions of citizens wouldn't be worried where the Thanksgiving turkey will come from. Never mind Christmas.



Trump's response to Covid has been abysmal. Anybody whose eyes aren't obscured by a red hat can see that. A lack of a coherent national response, a lack of testing, and downplaying what he knew to be a world health emergency. And it shows in America. Not only did Maskless Don catch the bug himself, but the United States has a higher death rate that most other rich countries.

And then you hear Whitmer claim her response “has been largely a success?”

How? By what measure? Michigan has the second highest death rate for a state with at least 10 million people, and 9th overall. Michigan – home to 3 percent of the nation's population – claims the dubious distinction of having 12 percent of the country's excess mortalities – a fancy term for saying that an extra 9,000 people have died so far this year as compared to the average of recent years, without explanation.

And remember, the governor did not require nursing homes to keep track of their COVID dead.


So what can you do? You can vote. Remember, there are alternative parties. And any party that receives 5 percent of the national total will get federal matching funds for the next cycle. You can volunteer at your local clerk's office to count absentee ballots on Election Day. You can go down to Detroit Police headquarters and apply for the job. 

They're hiring. Most of all, you can think for yourself.

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