- The Washington Times - Friday, October 23, 2020

President Donald Trump, in one of his finer moments during the final race-for-the-White House debate, made clear that America would not, could not afford to “lock ourselves up in a basement” in fear of the coronavirus. Compare that to Joe Biden, who wouldn’t rule out another widespread shutdown.

And the takeaway is this: A vote for Trump is a vote for an America open for business. A vote for Biden is a vote for a vulnerable and uncertain national future.

One is a message of strength; the other, of fear and weakness.

“We’re learning to live with [the coronavirus],” Trump said during the debate. “We cannot lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does. He has the ability to lock himself up. I don’t know, he’s obviously made a lot of money some place.”

There is a deeper truth in those words — one that exposes the hypocrisy and elitism of calls for complete economic shutdowns. And it’s a truth that goes like this: There are some who can oh-so-cavalierly call for U.S. citizens to stay at home, stay off the job, stay by the mailbox awaiting the government stimulus check — because they don’t know what it means to live paycheck to paycheck. They don’t know what it means to fall behind bills when two weeks’ of work are missed — to face eviction when a month’s worth of work is missed. They don’t know that feeling because they have savings and investments and padded accounts that can keep them safe and secure and financially solvent for, well, full lifetimes.

Trump’s snark — “he’s obviously made a lot of money someplace” — actually goes to the root of the fears of many, many Americans who are living in insecurity due to the government’s forced shutdowns of businesses, a root that reveals the wide disparities between the wealthy elites in politics and the citizen taxpayers who pay these politicians their cushy salaries and benefits.

Trump recognizes that disparity, at least, and fights for the core, basic right of the individual to provide for self and family, by saying hey — this is a bad virus, yes, but it’s high time to stop the cowering in fear and get back to economic recovery.

Biden plays on the virus fear and ducks and dodges on whether he will shut down the economy, whether he won’t shut down the economy. He tosses it to the scientists to field; he hands off the decision to the health bureaucrats. And in so doing, he basically seals America’s fate as one of economic disaster. It’s the health bureaucrats and scientists, after all, who’ve called for shutdown after shutdown, stay-at-home order after stay-at-home order, based on their overinflated fears and protect-at-all-costs mindsets over COVID-19. On the cusp of flu season, what would possibly change these bureaucrats’ minds to loosen restrictions? Right. Nothing.

And that’s the crowd that has Biden’s ear.

It’s a blatant admission of weakness.

What America doesn’t need right now is a White House leader who tiptoes gently around COVID-19 solutions, falling forever and ever on the side of caution — which means, in medical speak, forever and ever to stay at home, social distance, stick with the mask-wearing. Stay out of work when possible.

What America does need is a president who has the courage to say enough is enough, time to get back into the game of life, time to recharge the business sector and rev up the public schools and recharge the entrepreneurial spirit of the nation.

On the coronavirus, Trump’s messaging is one of strength. Biden‘s? One of fear. America just doesn’t want to stay in the basement any longer.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.

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