Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Viruses don’t care if you’re lying or not

The Angel of Death striking a door during the plague of Rome. (Wellcome Collection)

     Reality intrudes.
     You can crumple up the X-ray, cover your ears and hum.
     Yet if a tumor is there, it remains, growing.
     You can refuse to believe your house is on fire. Call the person who tells you a liar.
     Yet your house still burns.
     That’s why I don’t yet despair about Donald Trump, his funhouse of lies, and the Americans who choose to believe him.
     Because while anyone can ignore truth, truth doesn’t ignore anyone. Declaring yourself great and actually being great are very different things. Greatness isn’t a state achieved by declaring it on your hat. Sorry to be the one to tell you.
     Not to underestimate the danger of what Republicans are doing, trying to establish a new American system built on the whim of one powerful individual, supported by a web of lies, where loyalty is the ultimate value — not honor, not honesty, not law.
     Nothing new here. We see this in lots of other places. Xi Jinping, the supreme leader of China, stands atop a pyramid of state suppression and genuflecting loyalty. Everyone must obey. The free speech guaranteed in their constitution is just another lie. Propaganda and news are the same thing.
     Yet reality intrudes.
     In late December, a new coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, China and began to spread. A Chinese ophthalmologist named Li Wenliang went on social media and tried to sound the alarm. The local medical authority warned him that “any organizations or individuals are not allowed to release treatment information to the public without authorization.” In early January he was called to a police station, accused of “spreading rumors online” and “severely disrupting social order” and forced to sign a statement confessing his crime and promising to refrain from “unlawful acts.”
     But the virus was still spreading. 

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  1. Up until the last month or so, I truly believed that Orange Julius would be "undone by a treacherous conspiracy of voters." And I scoffed at those who proclaimed that he stood a good chance of winning a second term. I am scoffing no more. His opposition now appears to be much too factionalized and divided to ever unite behind a viable candidate, or to organize in numbers large enough to send the Orange One back to New York. Both Crazy Uncle Bernie and Young Pete have their fanatics, but they aren't nearly numerous enough to win if the rest of the Blue Team refuses to get on the bus.

    Four more years could easily become eight or twelve or twenty or forever. Pence could easily follow in '24. Pence would be worse. Much worse. He's been quietly waiting in the wings, hoping to stride onto the stage in '24 and make America white and Christian and straight and God-fearing again. A Crusader with nuclear-tipped lances who'll thump his Bible, protect marriage, and save the unborn.

    If Forty-and-Sixpence succeeds Dolt 45, we will definitely have reason to miss the Current Occupant. Sixteen years of Trump-Pence? Think about THAT. I try not to, but I do, more so every day. Would America still be America?

    Perhaps I'm actually fortunate to be an early Boomer. My time is becoming relatively short. I feel very, very sorry for the young. They appear to be facing miles and miles of bad road. And that road will be mined.

  2. Republicans want to live this way because they are frightened. They,mostly older white people fear the other. Couple that with having the progressive views of the liberal establishment shoved down their throats for a few years this is the backlash.
    Hopefully there are more of us than there are of them.

  3. Good column, NS but frightening closing comments. Let's hope that doesn't come true.

    Interesting point, FME.

  4. One thinks our President was early schooled in this amplification of a line by Sir Walter Scot:
    "Oh what a tangled web we weave
    When first we practice to deceive.
    But when we practice quite a while,
    How vastly we improve our style."
    About the seeming confusion of candidates, I take comfort in recalling a very similar process in the last Presidential election, with a profusion of Republican candidates and Jed Bush the seeming heir apparent. It always happens when there is an incumbent candidate in the other party.


  5. I hate to say it, but right now the Democratic Party needs a more or less centrist candidate. Even Trump haters unfortunately are swayed by his rhetoric. A friend who claims to be a never Trumper, agrees with the orange man that we've got too many Mexicans in the country, that section 8 women are breeding criminals, that Muslims don't belong here, and that Jussie Smollett should be sentenced to death. Just kidding about Jussie. Any candidate that would appeal to me would be anathema to her. And her ilk. Question is whether the Democratic Party can afford to lose her and her ilk. If it's Bernie or Elizabeth, they probably stay home on election day.


    1. Agree. I watch a lot of MSNBC. There are a lot of lapsed Republicans making it clear they will never support Trump. Someday in the future, there will be a normal Republican running for president, and they will gladly return to their fold. There have to be many/some? moderate Republicans out there who want to vote against Trump. The Democrats have to give them someone they can hold their collective noses and grudgingly vote for. If I could appoint the president, I'd go with Warren or Mayor Pete but I'm voting for the most moderate choice - Klobuchar if she's still in. On the other hand, it might be good if dissatisfied Republicans don't vote at all. A vote not for Trump is a vote for the Democrats?

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  7. I never thought I'd see the day when we'd compete with China in ignoring and suppressing truth.

  8. The Republicans believe if they can get just four more years they'll be able to completely gerrymander large portions of this country; then with the inequalities brought to us by the Electoral College, they will be able to permanently assign the Democratic party to minority status and remain in charge in perpetuity.

  9. We are in a new Civil War against a cunning adversary whose actions are mostly unknown to the majority of citizens. Enabled by a flawed Constitution, the Radical Right has been silently grabbing political power. Yes, I just insulted the Constitution. During the Impeachment trial Chief Justice Roberts scolded the opponents about disrespecting the "world's greatest deliberative body". He must be rigidly adhering to the Separation of Powers concept by not watching Congress, as the only superlative apropos of the Senate is 'most partisan'. The body designed to soften the power of populous states over their smaller neighbors has devolved into a siege against the majority of common Americans. We are in danger of reelecting the most unqualified and despicable president because our outdated founding document gives 100,000 ignorant bigots power over 65+ million educated and reasonable people. Even if we endure this president, and even another of similar ability, it may be too late to forestall the existential threat of global warming.


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