Andrew Sullivan: Reality Arrives to the Trump Era

Andrew Sullivan finds similarities between the initial public reactions to the coronavirus, the gay community’s initial reaction initial to the AIDS epidemic – which, as a gay man, Sullivan lived through – and the 1918 Spanish flu.

In all three cases, the initial reaction was denial and complacency. Even people who accepted the reality of the situation failed to gauge its seriousness and react appropriately.

Ira Glass, at this American Life, compared the current period to waiting for biopsy results from the doctor.…

Julie and I have been through biopsies a few times and the metaphor is perfect. You walk around living your life as usual – eating, working, watching TV, etc. – and not even feeling particularly scared most of the time. But in the back of your head is this little bubble of fear. You know that everything could turn awful very soon. Or it could all be … nothing.

Also, this from Sullivan:

With Trump, we have a deeper crisis, of course. Trump is incapable of admitting error, numb to any form of empathy, narcissistic even in a communal crisis, and immune to any kind of realism. He simply cannot tell anyone bad news. And he cannot keep a story straight, which is essential for public health. His only means of communication is deceptive salesmanship.

(Emphasis mine.)

At the end of this weekend’s This American Life, Glass announced that he’d been exposed to the virus and was going into self-quarantine.

Mitch W @MitchW