And in this moment, we have, disastrously, discovered the final answer to whether or not it is a good idea to destroy the activist government that has protected us since 1933. In their zeal for reducing government, the Trump team undercut our ability to respond to a pandemic, and tried to deal with the deadly coronavirus through private enterprise or by ignoring it and calling for people to go back to work in service to the economy, willing to accept huge numbers of dead. They have carried individualism to an extreme, insisting that simple public health measures designed to save lives infringe on their liberty.
I’ve been reading Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American since last fall, when the Ukraine scandal was breaking. I’ve grown to really appreciate her daily breakdown of current events from a the perspective of a historian, even when it’s unsettling to read over your morning cup of coffee.
For this post, however, she was asked to recap her thoughts about the first 20 years of this century. Being a historian, she reaches back further than that, but shows how things lead to where we are today. It’s an amazing read, one I think that everyone in this country should read.
I had never thought about how the conservative worship of the individual over the group could be the reason why people are refusing to do something as simple as wearing a mask. Living in Iowa this year has been frustrating as our governor has refused to do anything short of encouraging people to wear masks while our numbers climb, our friends and families die, businesses go under, and parents agonize over what’s the best thing to do for our children. The lack of leadership has made a bad situation so much worse, and while I do believe things are going to get better, I think the worst thing we could do would be to forget 2020, even if we could.