Chaos, confusion, contradiction and karma

Men in white coats: Couldn’t put Donald Trump’s campaign together again. © AP

Is it right to say that Donald Trump’s Covid infection is “karma”? Did the truth-defying, science-mocking leader of the free world get what he deserves? Or is this just shallow moralising?

Ever since Covid-19 emerged as a significant threat to global health, Trump has consistently denounced its seriousness.

He has frequently been seen without a mask in public, and has ridiculed others for doing so. During the recent presidential debate, Trump mocked his opponent, Joe Biden, remarking “I don’t wear masks like him.”

Trump has also promoted proven scientific falsehoods about Covid-19. A major study last week found that the president himself has been the “single largest driver” of coronavirus misinformation.

This morning the USA retains its record as the nation with the highest number of cases of Covid-19 (7.3m) and the highest number of deaths (207,000) in the world (according to the World Health Organization).

Since the news of Trump’s positive test actor Dominic West said that he “jumped for joy” when he heard the news. Columnist Susie Boniface reflected many thousands on Twitter when she proclaimed it was “karma, at last”.

What is karma? It is the belief that good actions result in good fortunes and bad actions result in bad fortunes.

Because it is a religious, not scientific, idea, many sceptics consider it a superstition.

So, Is it right to say that Donald Trump’s Covid infection is “karma”?

Tempting fate

No, goes one argument. This is a just a way of making yourself feel superior. Trump may have been arrogant, reckless and emotional in his approach to Covid-19, but his illness is no more “karma” than anyone else’s.

Yes, goes the opposite view. Trump may not resemble the tragic heroes familiar from Aeschylus or Shakespeare. But he is a person who was given opportunities to do something important in spite of his flaws, placed at a crucial turning point in history. He had a chance at greatness, but he chose badly and fate took its revenge.

You Decide

  1. Do you think that Donald Trump deserved to catch Covid-19?

Activities

  1. Imagine you are picked to give a get well card to President Trump in hospital. What message will you write inside it?

Some People Say...

“If corruption is a disease, transparency is a central part of its treatment.”

Kofi Annan (1938–2018), Ghanaian diplomat and Secretary General of the United Nations

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
It is generally agreed that Donald Trump’s illness struck at a crucial point for his re-election campaign. He had recently started campaigning more in swing states as he tried to reel in Joe Biden, his Democratic rival who is increasing his poll lead. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll last night gave Biden a 14-point lead, up six points from several weeks ago. Biden also leads in every swing state, underscoring the tough battle the president faces over the next 30 days.
What do we not know?
One main area of debate is how the news that President Trump has Covid will affect the presidential campaign — experts say this is simply an unprecedented situation so close to an election. In the UK, support for Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party held steady at 51% for weeks following Johnson’s own bout with the virus. However, it may have caused a small uptick in his approval rating – 62% of Britons approved of Johnson on the day of his diagnosis; shortly after he was hospitalised, it reached a peak of 66%.

Word Watch

Presidential debate
In the lead up to every American election, the two candidates debate one another on policy and current affairs.
Sceptics
People who tend to doubt or question claims of knowledge.

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