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Rocket to Russia


It’s the end, the end of the century:

The country’s international humiliation is total; historians may argue about when the American century began, but I doubt they’ll disagree about when it ended.

The psychological consequences alone will be incalculable. Even before the coronavirus, researchers spoke of loneliness as its own epidemic in America. A March article in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry attributed 162,000 deaths a year to the fallout of social isolation. Now people are being told that they can socialize only under the most stringent conditions. Much of what makes life sweet is lost to us, not for days or weeks, but months or years.

“We’re going to stagger out of it; we’re not going to snap back,” Gostin said of the pandemic. He added, “It’s going to take several years for us to be able to come out of all of the trauma that we’ve had.”

Yet somehow there’s no drumbeat of calls for the president’s resignation. People seem to feel too helpless. Protesters can make demands of governors and mayors, especially Democratic ones, because at the local level small-d democratic accountability still exists. Nationally such responsiveness is gone; no one expects the president to do his job, or to be held to account when he doesn’t. That’s how you know the country was broken before coronavirus ever arrived.

This suffering, your suffering, wasn’t inevitable. The coronavirus is a natural disaster. The Republican Party’s death-cult fealty to Trump is wholly man-made.

I really like Michelle Goldberg, and like her even more on the day her worse than worthless colleague Bari Weiss flounced off into the lucrative sunset provided by the wingnut welfare circuit for collaborators of her ilk, but still there’s a kind of ingenuous naivete about her puzzling over why there are no calls for Donald Trump’s resignation.

People feel helpless in the face of Trump’s malevolence and incompetence because they are helpless, for now at least. The system doesn’t work. In this political culture impeachment and the 25th amendment are both dead letters, and calling for Trump’s resignation is about as meaningful as calling for him to start acting presidential.

The exquisitely thoughtful institutionalists and the chin-scratching elite journalists are all just pissing in the wind. The don’t know it, but they are.

At least Goldberg, unlike them, understands what the Republican party is: that it can’t be reasoned with, it can’t be bargained with, it doesn’t feel remorse or pity or fear, and it absolutely will not stop, ever, until either it or this country is completely destroyed.

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