An uneasy suspicion gathers

March 28, 2020 at 10:20 am (By Amba) (, , )

like an unformed storm.

I’m posting this tweet mainly so you can see the thread below it—a lot of “die, New York, die, LA” sentiment.

In the absence of an early smart response, bluer states are generally hit sooner, harder, faster (is this a new Olympics?) by the virus than redder states because of large cities with high population density.

And, the MAGAs would be sure to point out, diversity. Queens is full of working-class people who are being hard hit, but that very population is also, I think, the most diverse in the U.S. Immigrants and their descendants from all over the world—Romania, Thailand, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, you name it.

It’s almost as if . . . well, you can see where I’m going. Maybe better than I can. I’m not sure where I’m going.

The more thinly populated and less-diverse red states that preponderate in the Electoral College are also being hit later and less intensively by the virus. If nothing else, they will use this to tout the superiority of their way of life.

But they are not invulnerable either; the virus, unlike the species it infects, doesn’t discriminate. What will happen when MAGA communities begin to lose loved ones?

“Others” will be blamed, for sure. That’s one of the things that will happen. Blamed and possibly attacked.

Trump’s delayed and addled response will not. Wasn’t that really a smart chess move, or a lucky break, or an act of God, to decapitate and depopulate blue (and multicolored) America?


  1. wj said,

    The more rural areas (both in red states and elsewhere) will get hit later. But “less intensively”? I suspect rather the reverse. Having embraced the word from their political leaders** that the whole thing was either a hoax or overblown, they have continued to gather in large groups. Which means, when (not if) the virus hits them, it will hit lots of people at once. In areas which typically are underserved, even by American standards, by hospitals and medical personnel generally. It will get ugly. Even more so than in places like NYC currently.

    No doubt there will be lots of blame casting. But when your own grandparents and parents and aunts and uncles are in the hospital (if there’s even any room) and dying, blaming “those others” may be reflexive and necessary, but it won’t be sufficient. There will be plenty of blame left for the leaders who should have kept them safe. But didn’t.

    And, as a side note, the people most likely to die of this are the old and infirm. That is, precisely the demographic most likely to turn out and vote for those downplaying its seriousness. But not if they’ve died. Talk about shortsighted!

    ** Would “gurus” be inaccurate? Because their devotion seems more religious than political/ideological.

  2. wj said,

  3. amba12 said,

    Thank you for this link. I suppose I’m wondering and worrying whether this is going to break down the wall or heighten it.

  4. amba12 said,

    Well, then there’s this— coronavirus CAN attack the heart, it turns out, at least indirectly, perhaps directly.

    (I’m fine.)

  5. tom strong said,

    Anyone thinking that living in rural, homogeneous places will save them better read up quick about Albany, GA.

  6. tom strong said,

    (which is also a reminder that the urban-rural divide in this country is far more rich and complex than hackneyed thinkpieces make it out to be. in this case, tragically so).

  7. amba12 said,


    But it will have to happen to white people before they will relate.

    I talked with a slightly older friend last night, a doctor’s wife (he is much older, and ailing). She and her husband were Foxwashed a couple of decades ago through one of their sons (their other son is progressive). They’re Christian, Episcopal, personally generous, kind, and smart. But a sector of their brain has been embalmed in Limbaugh.

    She said cases in Chicago are concentrated on the South Side (code for “black”—but not true at all about cases in Chicago, apparently) because “people there are careless . . . [in a sneering simper] ‘The government will take care of me.'” And then she got that mean-mouthed, thin-lipped shriek in her voice and said “I’M SO SICK OF SOCIALISM!”

    I said, what about the people who are running around defiantly socializing because they think the virus is a Democrat hoax.

    “Oh, I think that’s incredibly stupid,” she said, “but I’m not hearing much about it.”

  8. tom strong said,

    But it will have to happen to white people before they will relate.

    They probably won’t relate even then. But their lack of empathy won’t save them, either.

    “Personally generous, kind, smart” but says something like that in private REALLY calls the first part into question.

  9. amba12 said,

    There seems to be a stark disconnect between actual behavior in human situations and attitude.

  10. wj said,

    Sometimes, people are personally generous to those they know, and to those who are “like them:. While showing no such behavior towards members of other groups.

    The only explanation I can come up with is that perhaps they just do not see members of those other groups as really human. Not even as human as they see, for example, their pets. Seems very odd, but I can’t come up with an alternative.

  11. tom strong said,

    Sometimes, people are personally generous to those they know, and to those who are “like them:. While showing no such behavior towards members of other groups.

    Just so.

    I’m not saying that your friends are horrible people unworthy of any affection. Whether or not there is a God, I am sure that we are all sinners. But I’ve become wary of this tendency (in me as much as in you) to credit people as good based on their visible & public actions, rather than their private actions and beliefs.

    It seems to me a miniature version of the problem identified in “Winners Take All” – how we excuse and even empower philanthropists in hoarding their billions, because they deign to give a tiny fraction of that money away.

  12. amba12 said,

    Well, yes. It’s in those private recesses that racism lingers and harbors like shadows at high noon, like . . . tartar around the roots of teeth. It’s like they call pangolins and deer mice, a “reservoir” of infection from which it can come roaring forth reborn when conditions are right.

  13. amba12 said,

    Here’s another story of a rural outbreak, but this one wasn’t what I’m looking for either. This one can be blamed on the seasonal influx of wealthy coastal blue-staters.

    Tangentially, I read the sentence “The coronavirus ‘tore through this valley like a wildfire,’ said . . . one of the emergency room doctors,” and that description of how a new disease colonizes(!) a defenseless, immunologically naïve population made an association flash through me like a shooting star. What was it? On delay, I realized that it was smallpox decimating Native Americans.

    Or chickens coming home to roost.

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