• Jerry L. Burrell

Dear Donald - April 5, 2020

Updated: Apr 27

Dear Donald,


Today is Sunday April 5, 2020 and I know I’m a week late but thank you for signing into law the $2Trillion stimulus package. Something had to be done and I hope that the things you and Congress are doing will be enough.


I’m still angry though. We did not have to be here. This is America brah and here we are with our deficiencies on full display not only for the world to see but for us to suffer through. It is inexcusable and I hold you responsible for it.


As I mentioned in my last letter, in addition to pulling weeds, writing is my therapy during these crazy times. I know you’ll never read these letters but expressing my anger at you through writing helps me navigate this war in a better frame of mind.


I have been thinking about your decision to not wear a mask during this crisis. The more I think about it, I agree with you. Why would it be necessary for you to wear a mask? From what I understand, anyone that comes close to you and Mike is required to undergo a coronavirus test that provides results in 15 minutes. You are not really "out and about" and when you are, only people who are certified negative come near you. You have armed guards to keep everyone away from you. You don’t have to go out to get groceries, medicine, gas or anything else for that matter. You don’t even have to leave your house to go to work.


It makes no sense for you to wear a mask. For the most part you are not in any danger. In fact the more I think about it, the only danger you are in is being critiqued for your performance. I’ll chat more about your performance in another letter. But let’s be clear, it would be foolish for you to wear a mask when your entire world is a safe space. It would be like me wearing a seat belt while I am sitting on my couch watching TV. Oh, and about kings and queens and dictators visiting you during this time, I doubt that is going to happen, they all have their own countries to lead and safe spaces to not wear masks in.


I’ll tell you what isn’t a safe space though.

The real world!

My sister going to the emergency room in the middle of March was an act full of danger. Not only that, when she was told she couldn’t get a test for coronavirus and to just “act as if she had it”, that made her a danger to be around. Our family experienced a lot of fear as a result of this. My sister already has occasional challenges breathing and I shudder when I imagine what it felt like for her to think she might have been infected with the novel coronavirus.

I think what got her through was acting like she had it but believing that she didn’t.


Not sure if you know what I mean by that but let me break it down for you. At some point between leaving the hospital and the conversation she had with me the following day, she decided that she had the flu. Even though the doctors told her it could be the flu, it could be coronavirus or it could be something else, she created certainty where there wasn’t any. This is a sort of Jedi mind trick that many faithful people employ when they are faced with the kind of uncertainty that my sister found herself facing. It goes like this: You don’t know how things are going to unfold, so you claim that it will unfold the way you want it to unfold and you tell yourself that is the truth. Some would say this is just being optimistic. Those who employ this act of faith effectively would argue that calling it optimism falls way short of describing the power it provides them. I must say also that prayer is a big part of this process for my sister.


I think you use this Jedi mind trick quite a bit. I have witnessed you creating certainty when faced with what you yourself have presented as unprecedented uncertainty. I am not sure if prayer is part of the process for you as it is for my sister but you sure seem to walk in certainty. In early March, I heard you say with the utmost certainty that “anyone that needs a test, gets a test!” Some might call that optimism, some might call it wishful thinking, some might call it “White-House Privelege”.


You don’t live in the real world, and while I don’t know your struggle, a lot of people are saying that you never have lived in the real world. It only makes sense that you would believe on March 6, 2020 that any American in this war we find ourselves in who “needs a test, gets a test.” Knowing where the enemy is and where the enemy isn’t is a fundamental advantage in any war and since we Americans are the ones fighting this war we “need” to know where the enemy is and getting tested is how we find that out. So of course, every American who needs to be tested should be able to be tested but even as I write this, that is not the case. I think you actually believed it was then and still might believe that now. Jedi-mind trick!


Maybe my sister only had the good ‘ol flu after all instead of coronavirus. Maybe she had coronavirus but a mild case of it and that’s why she recovered (there is research exploring the idea of the intensity of viral transmission and how it might impact how sick a person gets). Or maybe the intensity of the viral transmission doesn’t matter and she was infected just like those with confirmed cases of novel coronavirus and her believing it was the flu made all the difference.


Either way, she is feeling better for now but we all know the danger still lurks and it would be nice to have real ammunition to fight this thing with instead of employing mind-tricks to get us through.


In case you are not aware, please note that as of April 5 at 9:07pm EST under your leadership there are over 9600 Americans killed by Covid-19 and just under 337,000 CONFIRMED cases with over 17,000 recovered.


US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Information




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