Clarity for November

Our side is corrupt, but the other side is more corrupt.

Peter Baker (NYT, 5/7/2020) reported that Trump said this about our lockdown:

“We can’t have our whole country out. We can’t do it. The country won’t take it. It won’t stand it. It’s not sustainable.”

Trump’s statement connects our pandemic situation with his view of human nature. Everything about this is clear, if you see that the meaning of the words is the same as the reason for uttering them. The meaning is that Americans feel no responsibility for the well-being of other Americans. Trump is describing what he sees in himself and his followers, and he envisions them nodding in agreement, which is why he said it.

A different president might say other things about how Americans will respond to a lockdown. That person might weigh our selfish, uneducated human nature against our generous, educated human nature; and say something like, “In this time of difficulty, Americans will make the sacrifices needed to get back to normal as soon as possible.”

Trump could never say that because he knows it would sound ridiculous coming from him. And his followers would not be nodding in agreement.

I love the irony of proclaiming that opening the economy enriches us for later, when doing so may impoverish us for a long time. Is that irony, or just stupidity?


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