Is this really how I die? 2.0

Charlie Gstalder is a first-year English and philosophy double major. He is a staff writer for the Newswire from Westchester, N.Y.

I wrote my first “Is this really how I die” opinion piece in September. It was an exaggerated, at times hypocritical, series of rhetorical questions about the vaping epidemic. This is not that type of opinion piece. 

I am writing this from Westchester, New York — the county where New York and much of the country’s outbreak began. I am OK, but things are bad here. 

My childhood friends, their families and many of the people I love have fallen ill and while they are doing all right, many people are not. Every day in New York another 10,000 get sick, 500 die and more people demonstrate they hate us and want us to die. 

Donald Trump hates you and wants you to die. In New York we need ventilators right now. Study after study reports the same result: at the current pace, New York will need 30,000-40,000 ventilators, or 30,000-40,000 people will die. We have begged and pleaded with the federal government to provide them and the president has in turned mocked us, telling Sean Hannity, “I don’t believe we need 30,000-40,000 ventilators.”

 Sure, he’s since “ordered” major corporations to manufacture ventilators, but little has come out of those orders. The most substantial action Trump and his advisors have taken is to save what truly matters to them: the economy. 

For the past month Trump and Jared Kushner have been using federal money to bail out the fossil fuel industries, filling our oil reserves instead of selling the oil to help our citizens, or perhaps even to purchase ventilators. On the bright side, over the weekend, 1,000 ventilators arrived from China. 

Fox News hates you and wants you to die. During late February and early March, as cases and deaths were rapidly growing, Fox attempted to downplay the severity of the virus. Sean Hannity is on record stating: “They’re scaring the hell out of people and I see it again as like ‘Oh, lets bludgeon Trump with this new hoax.’” 

I do not care that Hannity claims he never called the virus a hoax (which is objectively a lie), nor do I care that Fox has since begun covering the pandemic truthfully. Many of Fox’s viewers are older Americans. COVID-19 is disproportionately deadly towards older people. Fox News knew this and ran their content regardless, demonstrating a clear and utter disregard for the health, safety and wellbeing of their viewers and the American public in general. For Fox, ratings are more important than lives. 

I almost wrote that Rhode Island’s governor, Gina Raimondo, hates you and wants you to die, but such is not the case. Governor Raimondo stated that she would order her officers to stop all cars with New York license plates and order the National Guard to search door-to-door for New Yorkers fleeing the pandemic, plans she has since walked back. 

When my great-grandfather fled Nazi-controlled Austria for the United States, he also bought land in Canada in case he needed to escape again. He felt that after his own government persecuted him, no country would ever truly keep him safe. 

Governor Raimondo, while I understand you only wanted to keep your residents safe, my great-grandfather’s belief that his government could always turn on him only made sense to me after hearing what you wanted to do. 

I know that good opinion pieces propose solutions but the only viable solution to a public health emergency exacerbated by monsters that would rather rain golden showers on your caskets than lose their personal wealth, is an end to moral evil. 

Unfortunately, my philosophy 200 course hasn’t gotten that far yet. So all I can say is this: Wherever you are right now, hug the person next to you, listen to your local health authorities and then get up and get angry. Because if this hits your state the way it hit mine, and I pray to any and all Gods that it does not, you will soon find that the president and his peers hate you and want you to die. 

To everyone at Xavier and beyond: Stay safe, I love you.