If you’re a notable public figure, you don’t get murdered- you get assassinated.
No one will come to your funeral to comfort your family- they’ll go to your funeral to make some kind of social or political statement.
Your eulogy won’t be about your personality or your personal connections- it’ll be about your accomplishments and your impact on the world.
We all understand this to be the price of becoming an Important Person.
That’s why we roll our eyes when celebrities complain about being stalked by the paparazzi or asked invasive personal questions in interviews. When you decide to go out and become Someone, you’re willingly and knowingly giving up the expectation that you’ll ever again be afforded basic human courtesies like privacy, dignity, or our collective empathy.
It might be a raw deal, but it’s the price we all agree is to be paid.
And that’s just the price of being a person who does unimportant stuff like making movies or recording music. It goes double, maybe even triple, for political or religious figures.
People whose lives actually impact the rest of us in tangible and significant ways, people who make the big decisions that shape the world and decide everyone else’s place in it, people with real, actual power- those people don’t get to hide behind the idea that “we’re all just human beings”. That is not how the social contract works.
It’s completely acceptable, per the agreed-upon social contract, to hope that Donald Trump dies of COVID-19.
It’s totally fine to plan a party in celebration on the day his funeral is held. Hell, you could go piss on his grave if you want to. It’s fine.
It might still be petty and meanspirited and un-Christian, but it’s certainly not the same as doing all this in response to hearing that an ordinary person had a potentially life-threatening virus.
Donald Trump is not an ordinary person.
He is, first and foremost, the President of the United States of America. None of us look at Donald Trump and see just a man, nor should we be expected to. We look at him and we see the embodiment and representation of either American ideals, or their total destruction. Either way, there’s a lot tied up in the idea of Donald Trump, and none of it meshes with the notion that he’s “just a human being” like the rest of us.
It doesn’t matter if he has a wife and children and friends that care about him, because he’s not our husband or our father or our friend.
He’s our most important political figure, and in wishing for his death, we’re merely treating him as such. He knew what he was getting into when he decided he wanted to run the country. He knew he was opening himself up to our scrutiny, our derision, our harsh judgment, and even our ill-wishes.
We’re allowed to want him to die.
Go on with your tut-tutting and your finger wagging, if it makes you feel like a better person. But just know that the rest of aren’t going to feel shamed, because we know we’re well within our rights. You’re allowed to think we’re awful, and to pull out that old “so much for the tolerant left” soundbite.
But at the end of the day, to quote the man himself, “It is what it is.”