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