A man got coronavirus and, like most who get it, he did not die. After a few days in the hospital, he emerged and told his people something shocking: that they can beat it too, and that while they should be cautious, they shouldn't let fear control their lives.
"Don't be afraid of COVID," he said when he got back to work. "Don't let it dominate your life."
As you know by now, the man is President Donald Trump.
What he said seemed reasonable, a leader telling his country not to be dominated by fear at a time when fear, and fear porn, have become staples of the news and of political efforts to defeat him.
The numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention back him up. Estimates released in September show a death rate that is low across the board, especially among the young and healthy, but the drumbeat in politics and media has been all about fear.
The high priests of the Washington establishment media who have thrown their lot in with the Democratic Party and Joe Biden for the 2020 campaign were outraged by Trump. They denounced him as a heretical blasphemer for rejecting their absolute moral authority.
That is what the media meltdown was all about. Whether they all grasp it or not, I can't say.
Yet it was obvious, and positively medieval in tone, right out of the days of the Black Death, when the berobed holy men, some mouthing Latin prayers they didn't understand, insisted the plague was retribution for sin. These days, the media priests don't speak of sin. They speak of karma and see Trump's illness as just payment for his not masking up.
How will Americans vote? I don't know. I do wear a mask at the grocery store, out of concern for the feelings and health of others and for my own sake because as a diabetic I have a comorbidity. Yet I know that many who've been far more meticulous about their precautions got the virus anyway.
What followed since Trump was diagnosed and upon his return was a meltdown on many of the news networks, on CNN and MSNBC, and on many social media sites.
The New York Times questioned whether Trump could be taken off the ballot, perhaps forgetting that voting has already begun.
CNN's Jake Tapper said Trump "has become a symbol of his own failures." And others argued that Walter Reed hospital should be defunded. Conspiracy theories flourished, from leftist filmmaker Michael Moore to the tinfoil hat-wearing Joy Reid of MSNBC, who tweeted questions about whether Trump really had the virus at all, or was merely faking it to get out of more debates.
Perhaps my favorite reaction was CBS reporter Ben Tracy breathlessly and absurdly tweeting that he felt safer covering Kim Jong Un's North Korea than the White House.
Yes, the coronavirus is indeed frightening. Some 210,000 Americans have died of it already. I am not mocking it, nor do I want others to die. My mother is in a nursing home, and her roommate was just diagnosed as positive, though Mom tested negative. Still, like so many Americans, we wait and worry.
Yet even so, it should be obvious by now that the virus has become weaponized politically by Democrats and their media allies. And Trump's handling of the pandemic was the last arrow in their quiver. It may work. It may not.
But whether or not Trump is reelected, whether the liberals regain power, something irrevocable has happened. The liberal elites, the so-called "best and the brightest" in our foreign and domestic policy, seem to have lost their moral authority over the people. This is why the media high priests are so angry with Trump, why they've always been angry since 2016 and why they cannot forgive.
You need an example of how moral authority is lost?
Americans were told by lockdown governors that they couldn't attend their church, synagogue or mosque for fear of spreading COVID-19. But then lockdown politicians and a number of medical experts relying on "the science" supported and advocated protests in the streets that were attended by tens of thousands, many not wearing masks.
And the media pundits, doing their duty, went along.
Some of the protests devolved into looting and violence, and still the political consensus of the left was that, well, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. But Americans who protested the coronavirus lockdowns as arbitrary, harmful and antithetical to their constitutional rights were demeaned as threats, as deplorably vulgar, stupid, and hateful.
This is how liberal elites began to irrevocably lose moral authority. And for Trump to come out of the hospital to tell America not to be afraid is unbearable for some.
Many Americans have borne the psychological costs of fear and isolation. There has been untold damage done to children who've been kept out of schools, even though lockdown mayors and governors with means can, and do, send their own kids to private schools that remain open.
And there is a toll on entrepreneurs, the small business owners who aren't plugged into the big government-big business matrix like Amazon's Jeff Bezos and his class of woke billionaire capitalists. Small-business owners lose their livelihoods every day, and their workers' jobs are lost as well. But big-government types who've never owned a business -- and risked all their savings -- just don't get it.
And a toll on the fiber of Americanism itself, the willingness of people to take risk and not fear, which I warned about months ago.
We're actually dealing with two viruses now.
The one came from China.
And the other is our own homegrown variety: politics.