By Gene Griessman, PhD

Republicans now call themselves the States’ Rights Party.

With no sense of irony, Mitch McConnell, who’s Trump’s apparatchik in the Senate, says it’s quite all right for states to go bankrupt.

At least the blue states.

But what happens if they do?

The economy will fall off the cliff.

Teachers, police, firefighters, court clerks, healthcare workers will join tens of millions already idled.

Unemployment numbers will drop to lows not seen since Hoover’s Great Depression.

If state pension funds go bust, millions of elderly teachers, police, firefighters, judges, clerks, healthcare workers won’t be able to pay their bills.

During this crisis, Trump has let the states do the lifting. He’s done the easy stuff.

How hard is it to issue a travel ban?

How much effort does it take to sign an executive order that requires meat processing plants to stay open—even if the plants are wracked by wave upon wave of infected workers?

Hardly any physical work, and
he certainly didn’t burn up any mental calories.

Trump says the states are responsible for dealing with the virus. They should do the logistics and pay the bills. The White House will be a backup, whatever the hell that means.

Unfortunately many of the states are broke.

Because we are a nation, not a confederacy, states don’t have mints, can’t print money. At least not since the Civil War.

But the Confederacy is showing signs of new life in, of all places, the White House. In fact Confederates have taken over the Republican Party.

Trump’s present chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who’s the former head of the Freedom Caucus, comes from North Carolina.

Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s previous chief of staff, represented South Carolina in the House prior to moving up to run the OMB. And let us not forget that Mitch is from Kentucky

Mark Meadows avoids the spotlight. But he has Trump’s ear.

Trump’s seemingly inexplicable lack of leadership during the pandemic becomes explicable if you know how Confederates think.

I was born in South Carolina. In grade school, whenever we studied state history, I pulled for the Confederates, not the Union.

But the Civil Rights Movement changed me forever. It did not change everyone down here.

What’s happening is more than geography. I’m a Southern liberal. Not a Confederate. There’s a big difference.

Confederates hate federal power. See it as usurping states’ rights. That’s certainly what Strom Thurmon and George Wallace thought.

(I did exclusive interviews with both men.)

A few years ago a sea change occurred. Republican white Confederates joined forces with libertarians and small government ideologues to take over the Republican Party.

They signed pledges to cut government spending and made Ayn Rand required reading,

Starve government. Drown it in the bathtub one zealot advised.

They elected people to Congress and state legislatures who hated government, they appointed cronies to the Cabinet, and chose outrageously unqualified officials for key posts and lifetime judgeships.

What mattered most was ideology and loyalty.

The government was unappreciated understaffed, underfunded, and unprepared for an emergency

But it seemed like no big deal at the time. What a great way to save money.

Government is bad, so who cares if government is badly run?

Reagan infamously put it, “The most terrifying words in the English language are I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

That was then. This is now.

Chickens do come home to roost, or to dress the cliche in 21st century clothes, visitor number 19 is paying his respects at our chicken coop.

These days untold thousands of Americans are discovering that it’s a good thing if someone from the government is coming to help.

Someone like a public health nurse or a firefighter or a police officer or a worker at the employment office, or an EMS driver or a subway operator, or a researcher working on a vaccine at the Centers for Disease Control.

What do you get when Confederates and small government zealots and a Mad King confront the biggest virus outbreak on earth?

Confusion, cronyism, incompetence, coverups, corruption. Tens of thousands dead.

So whaddaya think? You wouldn’t ask somebody who hates children to care for your child.

Why on earth would you ask the government haters to run your city, state, or nation?

These days it’s not so terrifying to hear someone say “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Not if you or a loved one can barely breathe.

“The wheels of God grind slowly/yet they grind exceeding small.” Longfellow

Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and communication strategist. His book “TheWords Lincoln Lived By” is in its 23rd printing and “Time Tactics of Very Successful People” is in its 43rd printing. His training video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions and annual meetings all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, call 404-435-2225. Learn more at Atlanta Speakers Bureau or at his website. His latest book “Lincoln and Obama” has just been released by Audible.
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