Is It Possible Not to Politicize Coronavirus?

Now is not the time for politics. This is a health crisis and we’ve all got to come together to — shhh, the president is talking!

Coronavirus is a health crisis. The response to a health crisis is necessarily a government endeavor and in a democracy government is political. What do we talk about when we talk about coronavirus? We talk about federal response efforts, statewide shutdowns, medical supply chains, Congressional bailouts and Presidential guidelines. We listen to Anthony Fauci by choice. We listen to Trump and Cuomo and now — WTF??? — Kushner whether we like it or not.

We talk about what our leaders have done, what they’re doing now and what they might do next. We wonder what they ought to do that they won’t. We wonder, usually without saying so, whether they’re actually doing too much. We wait to hear from our leaders, those political scoundrels that they are, and we talk about which one’s should be in fear for their jobs come November. And why shouldn’t we? An elected official’s response to a crisis is among the most fair criteria you can judge them on. That and how relatable their tweets are, of course.

The only countries that don’t have to talk about politics when they talk about the response to a crisis are the countries that don’t elect their leaders. Of course, I’m sure citizens in those countries still THINK about politics. They just don’t talk, probably because they know what can happen to a person who’s overheard saying the wrong things. So I think we’ve got the better end of the bargain here in our mostly-still-free-and-democratic-though-not-quite-as-much-as-before nation, frustrating as the politics of this whole mess can be. I guess I still wouldn’t trade our mess for anybody else’s.

So when we talk about coronavirus, we talk politics. Oh, and toilet paper. Lots of talk about toilet paper.

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