I'm deeply political, so naturally I find opinions about how Trump coming down with COVID-19 will affect the November 3 election highly interesting. My bet is that this increases Biden's odds, but no bet is absolutely certain, including mine.
When I first heard the news about this last night, my snap reaction was This will really help the fight against the coronavirus.
I thought this because Trump has been the biggest super spreader of covid misinformation about masks, social distancing, hand washing, and other public health measures called for by scientific experts. He also has touted unproven remedies, none of which, I'm pretty sure, he will be taking now that he's come down with COVID-19.
So hopefully the many Americans who have scoffed at the need to wear masks and socially distance will reconsider their irrational reluctance to do what needs to be done to fight this pandemic.
After all, if Trump can come down with the coronavirus given the special protective measures afforded to the President of the United States, anyone can. Of course, White House staff and other Trump cronies have been especially resistant to simple ways to prevent infection, so arguably ordinary people are at less risk if they follow the advice of experts.
Being as deeply philosophical as I am deeply political, I now want to broaden my take on the meaning of Trump coming down with COVID-19. It's a big win for reality!
Not that reality needs any help. Reality always comes out on top in the end, because, well, reality is the only thing that is truly real.
A short blog post isn't the place to discuss what I mean by "truly" and "real." So here's my brief take on those words. Everything that exists is real, or it wouldn't exist. Thus dreams are real, as are hallucinations. Fantasies are real, as are lies. Those things exist, but not truly.
To exist truly, something has to posses a certain substance and objective nature. As I said in "The best one-sentence metaphysics ever written," I love Phillip K. Dick's definition of reality.
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
Donald Trump didn't believe in the seriousness of the coronavirus. He thought it would go away when the United States had just 15 cases. He thought it would go away in warmer weather. He thought this country had turned the corner on the pandemic. Those beliefs, and many more, were spectacularly wrong.
No matter. Whatever Trump or anyone else believes about COVID-19 has no bearing on the coronavirus. It just keeps on doing what viruses are so good at: spreading. We humans have learned a lot about how to slow or stop that spread. Those measures work whether or not anyone believes in them.
Trump and others in his administration have a strong bias against reality. They believe that if a lie is repeated often enough and strongly enough, many people will believe it. Sadly, this is true. But I'm optimistic that most people won't.
Presidential election polling bears this out.
More Americans favor Biden than Trump. Biden has a vastly stronger truthfulness rating on PolitiFact than Trump does. Biden accepts the science of global warming; Trump doesn't. And Biden has been following public health guidelines in his campaigning, including wearing a mask, while Trump hasn't.
Now Trump has COVID-19. He's been admitted to the Walter Reed Medical Center. He faces a potentially lengthy recovery period, though there is a chance that even at the age of 74 and with underlying conditions such as obesity, Trump will get well fairly quickly. Time will tell.
What won't change with time is the primacy of reality. It always wins out in the end. Always.
So it's fitting that in the month before the election where, hopefully, Trump is tossed out of office by voters, the Liar-in-Chief is suffering from the disease that he has been downplaying for many months. To adapt a familiar phrase, the wheels of reality turn slowly but grind exceedingly fine.