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Report From the Self-Quarantine Front

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

When my daughter and I helped coordinate Salem Radio Network talk shows broadcasting from CPAC 2020, we had no idea we’d be in the vanguard of “self-quarantining” which now has most of America in its grip. But a week or so after CPAC, as news broke that one—one—out of the 17,000 attendees had tested positive for the Wuhan Coronavirus, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) placed himself in quarantine for 14 days after a brief encounter with the person, and…well, you know the rest.


Happily, both of us were (and remain) asymptomatic, but “sheltering at home” did produce unexpected benefits: My wife organized a number of deliveries to shut-ins from our church who needed food or other essentials…blessing everyone in the process. Our twenty-something children were drafted to paint our upstairs bedrooms. And our family rediscovered board games and—gasp—the art of conversation.

Of course, for Americans unable to perform their occupations remotely there’s no minimizing the nightmare of cities and states imposing mandatory “stay at home” restrictions. Not to mention crashing the best economy on decades by forcing restaurants and schools and businesses to close and transforming many otherwise sane citizens into frenzied characters from Nathaniel West’s 1939 novel Day Of The Locust as they scrambled to locate and buy up every roll of Charmin toilet paper or Bounty towels available.

But—for me—the worst was yet to come:  total immersion in cable TV news.

From early morning to late at night, these “news” networks offer non-stop parades of vapid, anti-Trump personalities and multi-screen panels of “experts,” each of whom seems more dour and unhinged than the last. Stock market booming? Here’s a panel predicting the bottom is bound to fall out any day now.  Stock market crashing? More experts to say “we told you so” and Trump caused it.


It is easy to dismiss or just turn off most of them when they simply exceed the bounds of common decency much less “journalism” (for example, if MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell isn’t literally Satan, in my book he’ll do until the real guy materializes.)  But tucked among the carnival geeks are once-revered newspeople whose abhorrence of Donald Trump apparently offsets their need to maintain professionalism or personal integrity. Watching NBC’s veteran Andrea Mitchell seriously profess to being dumbfounded that—in her words—“No matter what [Trump] says, people seem to be seeing him as a leader,” makes me a little sad.  When a recent Gallup poll showed 60-percent of Americans approve  how President Trump is handling the pandemic, the MSNBC discussion quickly segued to the need for“a healthy skepticism of public polling.”  Ostrich theory of news.

The Beltway media crowd—which has never recovered from Donald J. Trump beating their hero Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election—pinned its hope of making Trump a one-term president on (a) James Comey (b) the Russian “collusion” fantasy (c) the absurd Ukraine “bullying” phone call and (d) the baseless and ultimately unsuccessful Impeachment effort. 


But like little kids scarfing down bowls of sugary breakfast cereals to get to the prize at the bottom of the box, they are now throwing everything but the kitchen sink at President Trump…hoping THIS time something will stick, even if they have to use a global virus pandemic to smear the president and terrify viewers with scary headlines 24/7 to do it. 

They simply cannot fathom that normal (code: non Beltway, non Manhattan) Americans see through their bread and circuses. They just can’t get it through their thick skulls that Donald Trump has tapped into the mood of what they consider us “rubes” in flyover country.  Again.

The Wuhan Coronavirus will not last forever. America’s world class medical experts and common sense sacrifices by all of us will defeat it, and normal life will again resume…if not by President Trump’s hoped-for Easter, then eventually.

We will all leave our Family Rooms and return to offices, restaurants and universities. Broadway shows and movie theaters will reopen. The economy will start roaring again.

And long after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily televised rants on how Congress’s mammoth $2-trillion emergency package of economic aid was “terrible” and “not enough for my state” have faded from memory, the 45th president of the United States will remain the solid rock who once more proves the  American public is not nearly as stupid as the elite media bosses in New York and D.C. think we are.


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