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Social distancing because of COVID-19 has many downsides, including a sense of social isolation.

On the upside, it may be providing us some time to think about important issues, and I am inviting you to join me in using that time in a specific way over the next several blogs.

I believe with a renewed sense of urgency that this health crisis we are in is exposing a problem that stems from and at the same time exceeds the danger that Donald Trump’s presidency represents.

I am talking about Trump supporters who are not simply exercising the right as Americans to support him, but are because of that support part of an attack on our nation unlike anything we have ever seen or even imagined could happen.

Donald Trump is, of course, the original source of the threat the nation is facing, his inept leadership in the current crisis serving as the most recent example of why.

Instead of providing a steady hand to calm the nation and assure us that we will get through this crisis together, Trump is once again in his predictably inimical way using the situation to sow division among us.

This time he is pitting those who are trying to save lives against those who are concerned about the economy (or in his case his own political fortunes).

It’s not as if governors and mayors decided to use COVID-19 as an excuse to shut down businesses and wreck the economy, but Trump is making it sound that way.

This completely ignores the dilemma healthcare and government leaders face in trying to determine what exactly they should do.

The evidence is clear that social distancing helps to slow down the spread of COVID 19. It is too soon to know, but there are signs that it may even stop it altogether.

We also know that without social distancing, the virus spreads like wildfire. New Orleans is the latest example, with the fastest growth rate of the virus in the world experts say is rooted in the Mardi Gras festival that brought thousands to the city four weeks ago.

The choice our leaders have to make is whether we risk economic hardship and financial pain for millions of people or risk the lives of those same millions with the spread of the virus that could kill many of them and at the same time overwhelm our entire healthcare system.

They are having to decide whether to protect people’s jobs or protect people’s lives.

What would you do if the decision were yours? I know what I would do. I would err on the side of caution by following the best advice health experts can provide.

But what Trump has done is to create a false choice and then exploit it for political gain. In reality, the economy and the spread of the virus inevitably and unavoidably affects each other.

Focus on stopping COVID-19 and the economy suffers. Focus on the economy and thousands more get sick and that also threatens the economy. In short, this pandemic threatens people’s health which in turn threatens their ability to work which in turn threatens the economy.

It’s a catch-22, but not for Donald Trump. I wouldn’t accuse him of wanting people to get sick. He simply chooses to ignore that they will. How convenient for him, if fatal for people like me.

That is how devious and destructive Trump is in the way he uses the power of his office. He divides us, pits us against one another because he prefers to serve the interests of the few rather than all.

And he does it when there is no reason at all for doing it. He could have easily said he would work with governors, mayors, business and labor leaders, and health officials to reopen the economy at the earliest possible time.

He didn’t do that. Instead, he set up a choice that divides people rather than uniting us because that is who he is.

But as bad as Trump is for the country, the people who support him are just as bad, and it is time we started talking about it openly.

Leaders like Trump cannot lead without a following, and that is the real danger. The degree of support he is getting for the way he is handling the COVID-19 pandemic shows the damage such support causes.

Instead of being universally condemned for his lack of helpful and effective leadership, his self-centered, divisive, and incompetent leadership is being rewarded with almost half the country saying they approve of what he is doing.

These are not normal times with Donald Trump as President. Now that he has been in office three years we are tempted to let a sense of normalcy creep in. That is very dangerous.

In normal times people can support a president as a right of citizenship, but in this instance, the responsibility that goes with that right demands more from them than they are willing to give. It is as if they don’t care what Trump says and does because they don’t care about what kind of man he truly is.

It is, I believe, a serious and potentially tragic mistake for those of us who understand how bad Trump is for the country not to hold his supporters accountable for their actions just as Trump should be for his. They are a dual-threat we cannot ignore.

This is why the November election is not just about defeating Donald Trump. It is also about defeating Trump-like Americans who put him in office and want to keep him there.

They will still be around when he is gone, and they will continue to pose the threat they do now.

I realize I may be talking about a family member, a friend, a co-worker, someone you go to church with or have as a neighbor, but none of that changes the danger they are to the nation.

They may not want to be a threat, they certainly don’t believe they are, they may even be hurt that you would see them that way, but doing what is right is never easy or everyone would do it.

So I invite you to join with me in the coming days to think about how dangerous Trump supporters have become by virtue of that support and what, if anything, we can do about it.