Thank God we didn’t have the Internet during the Black Plague, or the Spanish Flu. I don’t think we would have survived. This relatively mild (by historical, not personal, standards) pandemic is exposing every fault line in our society. The notion of Two Americas has never been more explicit to me than now. We have the odd schism of Non-Essential People, who “work from home” and have Zoom Conference Happy Hours, and Essential People, for whom life is exactly the same except now it completely sucks. In-between we have the millions of people who are now unemployed with no end in sight. Other divisions: New Mexico is using this as an opportunity to close all gun stores, while Colorado is insisting that they remain open. You can infer a lot about what the rulers of these individual states think is going to happen in the near future by this difference in action.
The Uniparty knows this is Trump’s fault — they just haven’t settled on the cohesive narrative yet. You can watch it coming together in real time, like some sort of congealing grease. Trump’s China travel ban was widely panned as racist, criticism that is now being argued in retrospect with a lawyerly approach to reasonable doubt. as to what Biden et al. meant at the time.
(If you want to truly understand how our media works to skew public perception, compare the “fine people” situation with the a kid-gloves treatment given to Elizabeth Warren’s self-identification as Native American.)
It’s not just Trump’s fault, of course: it is also the fault of “Trumptards”. The Atlantic released a breathless piece eight days ago about how red-state types were ignoring the obvious threat of COVID-19 while the decent blue-state people were sheltering in place. Not discussed: the fact that people with guaranteed government, union, and investment income lean overwhelmingly blue, while self-employed people tend to be red. Also not discussed: the fact that the current Ground Zero for COVID-19 infection is the delightfully diverse and progressive city formerly known as New Amsterdam.
The plain fact is this: Paid quarantine is a luxury, one that much of the chattering class (including your occasionally left-of-center author) enjoys. Therefore we are being browbeaten with what amounts to Wuhan Porn. One wonders what Hemingway would do in a situation like this. Wait a minute: turns out we know what he would do. He’d go three ways with it.