Have you tried to buy toilet paper? Good luck with that. There isn't any available.
Here in Salem, Oregon, a friend reported there's none at Costco today. The shelves were bare at several grocery stores I went to this week. Amazon has none, aside from a bunch of ripoffs trying to get people to buy masqueraded paper towels with a cautionary notice: "Don't worry if this product doesn't fit on your usual toilet paper dispenser."
Of course it won't! It's a freaking paper towel! That's the free market at work. Or rather, not working.
Sure, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these are unusual times. But what we're seeing are fundamental conservative principles being tossed aside because... they don't work. If conservatism is the answer to making societies function well, then why are progressive policies being embraced by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress these days?
Massive government spending to stimulate the economy
Reliance on government public health experts
Government mandated paid sick leave for workers
Government loans for small businesses
Direct government cash payments to every family
More examples could be given, but you get the picture. Government is the common denominator in almost all of the policies being used to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep the United States economy from sinking into a depression.
Problem is, Trump has spent the past three years decimating government programs that now are key to keeping Americans alive and well. And his instinctual distrust of international collaboration made him refuse the World Health Organization COVID-19 test kits that were ready to go early on in the coronavirus outbreak.
That delay in testing is the main reason the United States now faces a massive increase in COVID-19 cases. A Democratic president would have been eager to accept the help of the World Health Organization, which is-- horror of horrors, to conservatives -- a United Nations organization.
What's been painfully apparent is that Trump hates the government that he is the head of. He's spent three-plus years denigrating the "deep state," which is nothing other than skilled government employees. Now he needs them to fight the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.
Totally unsurprisingly, the mismatch has led to a horribly bungled response that will lead to many lives being lost that could have been saved if we'd had a progressive president in the White House.
Americans aren't happy with how the Trump administration has been handling the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent poll found that 53% aren't satisfied with the U.S. government's current response to the coronavirus outbreak, with 39% not satisfied at all and 14% not very satisfied.
Only Republicans are satisfied with the federal government's response, with most Democrats and Independents decidedly unsatisfied. This bodes well for progressive victories in the 2020 election. A majority of Americans realize how important it is for the federal government to be firing on all cylinders in the war against COVID-19, and are unhappy that this isn't happening.
My fear, though, is that Trump will use this national public health emergency as a reason to delay the November election, especially if, as is likely, it looks like he will lose to Joe Biden. That could, and should, lead to massive protests.
Sure, we aren't supposed to congregate in large groups, and are supposed to stay at least six feet apart from other people. But if Trump tries to subvert our democracy by cancelling the 2020 election, I'd be pleased to risk getting COVID-19 by taking to the streets with fellow outraged citizens.
I'm confident that voters will choose progressives over conservatives in a fair and open election. Hopefully that's what will happen this fall. Trump's dream of a second term will be deflated with a resounding POP!