...we're doing this today: We've just skimmed George Packer's piece from the June Atlantic. It appeared beneath these headlines:
We Are Living in a Failed StateThe essay ends with these paragraphs. They may not be worth reading:
The coronavirus didn’t break America. It revealed what was already broken.
PACKER (6/20): The fight to overcome the pandemic must also be a fight to recover the health of our country, and build it anew, or the hardship and grief we’re now enduring will never be redeemed. Under our current leadership, nothing will change. If 9/11 and 2008 wore out trust in the old political establishment, 2020 should kill off the idea that anti-politics is our salvation. But putting an end to this regime, so necessary and deserved, is only the beginning.That's the way the essay ends. Our take?
We’re faced with a choice that the crisis makes inescapably clear. We can stay hunkered down in self-isolation, fearing and shunning one another, letting our common bond wear away to nothing. Or we can use this pause in our normal lives to pay attention to the hospital workers holding up cellphones so their patients can say goodbye to loved ones; the planeload of medical workers flying from Atlanta to help in New York; the aerospace workers in Massachusetts demanding that their factory be converted to ventilator production; the Floridians standing in long lines because they couldn’t get through by phone to the skeletal unemployment office; the residents of Milwaukee braving endless waits, hail, and contagion to vote in an election forced on them by partisan justices. We can learn from these dreadful days that stupidity and injustice are lethal; that, in a democracy, being a citizen is essential work; that the alternative to solidarity is death. After we’ve come out of hiding and taken off our masks, we should not forget what it was like to be alone.
We can't recover the health of our country because we no longer live in a country.
In a similar vein, we can't emerge from our self-isolation to pay attention to hospital workers, aerospace workers and Floridians standing in long lines (and the like) because there are no hospital workers, aerospace workers or Floridians standing in long lines (and the like) to pay attention to.
We can't pay attention to such people because there no such people exist. In fact, there are no people at all at this point. There are only members of various tiny self-impressed tribes, with the number of (self-isolated) tribes constantly being increased by the logic of us self-impressed dimwits Over Here in our tents on the left.
There's a constantly growing number of tribes, each proudly separate from each. You simply can't run a continental nation this way. When you're committed to the ultimate beauty of ten million tiny small self-impressed tribes, you've ceased to believe in the possibility of having a nation at all.
This article in Sunday's Washington Post strikes us as jaw-droppingly stupid. On the other hand, in a world built of nothing but the propaganda of small groups, it's a portrait of an age.
That age is perfect for those who want to end the very idea of having a nation. We associate that desire with Ron Paul, and we'd say that he's getting his way.
Protest propaganda (and fashion looks) from out Portland way! So it went at the Washington Post. At Slate, meanwhile, Daniel Politi says we should be excited because Biden is up by 6 points in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Under the devolving circumstances, those margins strike us as amazingly slender. Slate treats those margins like they're good news. Can't anyone here play this game?
Fashion looks for the days of rage! It's Clueless for a new generation and for a remarkable age.