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Trump poisoned the well, and we continue to die from its contents.

Remember when Donald Trump was president?

Remember when we dismissed everything he said as the rantings of an irredeemably aberrant sociopath?

Remember how we were right?

But remember also, that within the circle around him there stood, at times, people of some wisdom and grace, people whose viewpoints and intentions could be trusted or at least considered. Most of these appointees endured very short stints in the Trump White House, leaving quickly to maintain some credibility and, probably, some self-respect.

These days in the miasma of misinformation and the daily gaslighting following 1/6/21, trusting any Republican to adhere to a moral or ethical code is a fool's errand. But go back a year or so, and recall the beginnings of the pandemic. In the earliest days, there were legitimate differences of opinion as to how the novel coronavirus was loosed upon the world. The early belief that someone in Wuhan, China, either handled or ate a diseased bat seemed the most logical; and the only people who wanted to "blame" the Chinese were those who thought they could score a few jingoistic points for Trump's bigotry team.

But now it appears that a lab in Wuhan might very well have been the culprit. Although very few believe that the Covid-19 pandemic evolved from a biological warfare attempt gone awry, there is increasing proof that something did escape from the lab in the late autumn of 2019. It was not "created" there, but evolved from something natural—like yogurt, like oat milk, like other coronaviruses. (Natural is not always good.) And now Democrat officials are in the awkward position of having to It's not bat, but it could be equally problematic.

Still, Democrats must remember that it wasn't Trump who was right: that one-term president was never right about anything. Still, some good people worked in Washington, many of them far downwind from presidential tweets and diatribes. There were people like Anthony Fauci whom we trusted to be honest with us, and even the haplessly dubious Deborah Birx who couldn't please her president and tell the truth at the same time and too often chose the former.

Now it appears there are avenues unexplored and data unexamined. It's entirely possible that some of Trump's staff were on the right track and might even have steered us all correctly had not their boss turned everything into a name-calling tweet.

The damage, of course, has already been done: nearly a million dead Americans and millions more sickened. Worldwide deaths will forever be estimates, but eight to ten million seems plausible. How many of those losses could have been prevented, we don't know; but if no other lesson comes from this, let's learn one: stop electing clowns to high positions. Marjorie Taylor Green, Louie Gohmert, Ted Cruz—they don't provide leadership, merely insights into their own vacuousness which they parade around like an award. Let's at least elect people with integrity to fill our political positions. They may still play favorites, give in to lobbyists, vote for the occasional pork-ish bill, and spend too much time campaigning, but if they don't lie to us during the next pandemic, the next election, or the next assault on our government, we'll have made up some lost ground.

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