A New Normal

By Connie Schultz

April 16, 2020 5 min read

This morning, the first email that caught my eye had this in its subject line: World Class Hater.

"Miss Schultz," it began.

Oh, good. An angry man who refuses to use Ms. How I've missed them in this pandemic.

As we enter week 72, or maybe it's week four, of the stay-at-home order here in Ohio, even our dogs are starting to act weird. There's a plastic bag flapping from the top branch of an elm tree out front that has inspired them, for eight days now, to bark out the front window like coonhounds at a feral pig. When they're not defending the homefront, they're head-butting our hands off of keyboards and then looking away as if searching for the miscreant who dared to do that. After bathroom breaks in the back yard, they droop their heads and slowly inch their way back into the house as if we just ordered them to walk the green mile.

We're not even going to talk about how my husband walks around the house sharing his views on conference calls like a troubadour — except he's not talking about romance and no one can slam the window shut. That I'm writing this on the top of the pingpong table in the basement should give you a good idea of my mood.

Hate mail from a Trump supporter? Hello, Life As I Used to Know It.

This "Miss Schultz" letter came from Jeff, in Iowa. I've redacted his last name because that's exactly the kind of attention he wants:

Miss Schultz, (I can't get enough of that.)

Your hate is so obvious. You can't even write an article on face masks without involving your president.

You just can't help yourself. However, there are professionals that can help you. Go see one. They could even help you become a better human being.

So sick of the constant attacks toward our president. And you wonder why he punches back at reporters and writers all the time. You love it don't you.

I wrote Jeff and asked him the obvious question: Does the award come with a trophy or is "world-class hater" just another title I get to claim on a resume? At my high-risk age, you care about these things.

I did thank Jeff for reading to the end of last week's column, which was about the need for all of us to wear face masks when we're out in public with other people. You can see the controversy.

After mentioning some of the elected officials who are modeling best practices by wearing face masks in public — this includes Ohio's Republican governor, Mike DeWine — I noted that Donald Trump has publicly refused to do so. This was in the fourth sentence from the bottom of my column — again, thank you, Jeff, for reading — and I recommended that we ignore the president and follow the advice of the medical professionals.

I don't hate Donald Trump. I hate what he's done to our country, which now includes costing too many Americans their lives by waiting too long to take this crisis seriously. If my outrage offends you more than what he did, I accept that you are lost to us. I won't waste a inch of column copy trying to convince you of what most of us already know: Donald Trump is the most dangerous man ever to inhabit the White House.

Speaking of abnormal behavior, on Monday the president of the United States dimmed the lights during a White House briefing that was supposed to be a progress report about the coronavirus and aired a Trump campaign video prepared by his government staff.

This propaganda, made at taxpayers' expense and riddled with misrepresentations and lies, is Trump's only response to The New York Times' investigation published with this headline: He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump's Failure On The Virus.

If you are OK with how Donald Trump endangered lives, then you have to be as invisible to me as the countless people who needlessly died are to this president.

That's my new normal.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University's school of journalism. She is the author of two non-fiction books, including "...and His Lovely Wife," which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. Her novel, "The Daughters of Erietown," will be published by Random House in Spring 2020. To find out more about Connie Schultz ([email protected]) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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