There is no simple way to say this: our administration sucks! OK, full disclosure, I knew this years ago, but after watching Hulu’s documentary film Totally Under Control, a detailed account of how this administration has failed us on so many levels — from the lying to the mishandling of information and of the pandemic — it’s even more clear that we’ve been fed spoonful after spoonful of lies.
The title of the documentary says it all. The phrase “totally under control,” quickly became Trump’s crutch, a failed attempt to quell the fears of thousands of Americans who feared they’d be a casualty in a battle against incompetence. What has become a global pandemic, seeping into every corner of the globe, killing millions, has had very different outcomes in every country based on who is leading the country and who is advising the leadership.
Our country is failing, and the deaths of 225,000+ Americans is the fault of President Donald Trump’s incompetence. He tells himself that everything is under control, believes it, and expects us to believe it too. I do not. You shouldn’t either.
What this documentary does well is provide us with a detailed account of the opportunities this president had to course-correct his errors. It shows us that when presented with the opportunity to do the right thing, President Donald Trump will always choose wrong. And then, like he’s playing some preschool game, he tosses the hot potato to someone else, or tattletales like a toddler and wrongly blames the Obama Administration for not doing their job. Again, this is fake news.
With each administration, there is something called a playbook. The playbook is a guide, a map of sorts for the incoming administration to use as it makes the transition into the White House, a book for the Commander-in-Chief to take seriously, a passing of the baton.
In May, PBS reported about the pandemic playbook the Obama Administration left for the incoming president: “The document, originally unearthed in March by Politico, is a 69-page National Security Council guidebook developed in 2016 to assist leaders ‘in coordinating a complex U.S. Government response to a high-consequence emerging disease threat anywhere in the world.’ It outlined questions to ask, who should be asked to get the answers, and what key decisions should be made.”
What more could the Obama Administration have done to inform the Trump Administration about how to handle this pandemic? Two years before the pandemic outbreak, President Trump’s administration cut funding to the very programs designed to protect Americans from a pandemic such as COVID-19. Not to mention, two years after taking office, the Trump Administration began to eliminate funds to agencies created by the Obama Administration geared at disease security. Trump’s decision making is one of a toddler who is walking around with an exploded diaper — rash, misdirected, and irrational.
So, what do you do with a president and an administration who refuse to follow science or the lead of successful administrations, or at least take the good parts from previous administrations — you know, people who have had experience in leadership for years? You make a documentary like Totally Under Control which reminds us that our president will cover up and hide the realities of dire situations (to attempt) to make himself look good.
He is not interested in saving American lives. He’s only interested in keeping his ass clean, not saving anyone else’s. Admitting the truth (that your shit stinks too) means that you’d have to do something to rectify the problem, to do something other than try to improve the stock market, or tell Americans that everything will be okay. The only way everything would be all right were if we had a leader who ran towards the problem, listened to the guidance of experts, and tried to solve it before 228,000+ Americans lost their lives.
As my television screen played a film meant to educate me, I found myself asking questions. Why do people continue to support this president? Why don’t they see the destruction he’s caused? Why are they blinded by his insanity?
New York Times contributor Ben Kenigsberg says it best in his review of the movie: “[T]otally Under Control has another, implicit goal: It elevates voices who sounded early alarms about the virus and whose warnings were lost in a din of complacency, incompetence, and political calculation. Not all of these interviewees or their messages have broken through to the public consciousness.”
This may be the most worrisome part of all of Trump’s legacy — he silences the voices who can save lives, people who know more than him, who understand science (and have basic common sense,) and yet thousands of American people will believe Donald Trump over legitimate experts.
I cannot fathom how different it would be if President Barack Obama had the deaths of over 228,000 American people as a blemish in his legacy as president. If it were President Obama encouraging people to use bleach to cure themselves of the coronavirus, or grabbing a woman by the pussy, or telling women in congress to go back to their countries, or telling us that everything was “totally under control” during a raging pandemic … how many people would believe him?
This is not how President Barack Obama would have handled the pandemic. This is not how the H1N1 virus, which began in the United States and spread globally, was handled. One year into President Obama’s presidency, over 12,000 Americans had died from the H1N1 virus, a number so low due to his administration’s swift action to slow and stop the spread. At the writing of this article, 227,000 Americans have died in the last nine months because we have a president who continues to prove that he is not the right person for this job and he is way out of his league.
President Trump has shown us what he is capable of (nothing — especially not protecting the American people), and Totally Under Control highlights how much louder his actions speak than his even his loudest, most blustering words.