Donald Trump’s October Surprise

Donald Trump, the President of the United States, has Covid-19. That this happened on a full moon was weird, almost spooky and very Octoberish.

I noticed no other omens however.  Last night, we watched Stella Dallas on tv and then checked news wherein we saw that Trump was on a short list to have Covid-19.  In one of those “this changes everything” ways, that news instantly blew up all conventional thinking about everything.  Not that it was unexpectable — but definitely unexpected.  We were expecting him to try to keep the White House by force, not catch Covid and potentially die.  Like I said, Octoberish.

The Lord works in mysterious ways, they say. To the religious, this probably feels like a sign from God (or the Goddess or the gods, depending on your belief system). It certainly had the ring of divine intervention. Although I’ve become quite inured to terrible, crazy bad news lately, even I was a little surprised to hear an Atlantic Monthly writer seriously and gravely discussing the likelihood that Trump would try to thwart the will of the voters to stay in the White House. That this topic was germane seemed dramatic, even for these times. But none of that matters now.

My theory is that this is what happens when humans get themselves into an unsolvable mess. Something occurs that no one sees coming, and it completely changes the dynamic. In the case of Donald Trump, there was, as Arlo Guthrie put it, a “third possibility that we hadn’t even counted upon” — his positive diagnosis for Covid-19. Whether it’s God’s punishment or the natural and predictable result of a certain pattern of behavior, these third possibilities don’t mess around.

Trump has been widely accused of costing lives with his response to the Coronavirus pandemic. That he should catch the virus himself has a certain poetic justice to it, especially after all the derision he cast on those who took the virus seriously. It seems almost Shakespearean. Nevertheless, for his sake and ours, it would have been well if earlier in his career, he had learned this lesson from the Bard: Beware of hubris and don’t tempt fate.

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