28 votes

Do Americans understand how badly they’re doing?

20 comments

  1. [2]
    Omnicrola
    Link
    Some of us do. It is so infuriating, and so heart wrenching. It is the nebulous unnamed nightmare scenario that some of us feared at the end of 2016 when we elected a TV reality show host with the...

    Some of us do.

    It is so infuriating, and so heart wrenching. It is the nebulous unnamed nightmare scenario that some of us feared at the end of 2016 when we elected a TV reality show host with the reasoning skills of a toddler and an unchecked ego. And it is playing out almost exactly like we feared it would.

    33 votes
  2. [11]
    emdash
    Link
    Watching the United States from afar—supposedly a world leader in all aspects of existence—descend into a public health crisis of unseen proportions by a million cuts, is incredibly disheartening....

    Watching the United States from afar—supposedly a world leader in all aspects of existence—descend into a public health crisis of unseen proportions by a million cuts, is incredibly disheartening. It's just sad really. Somehow, this is the one country that managed to turn wearing masks into a political issue.

    23 votes
    1. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      If I could give everyone in the US one gift, I would give us all 1 day living in almost any other country on earth, at random. Not a vacation, just 1 day living life among other people, and just...

      If I could give everyone in the US one gift, I would give us all 1 day living in almost any other country on earth, at random. Not a vacation, just 1 day living life among other people, and just listening. Then when everyone came back from this magical journey they would all compare notes and realize yea, every other country thinks we've gone insane, we need to get our shit together.

      18 votes
    2. [9]
      Amarok
      Link Parent
      As an American, frankly I feel like this country desperately needs to have its ass kicked by reality - hard. It is the only thing that could possibly snap people living here out of their idiocy...

      As an American, frankly I feel like this country desperately needs to have its ass kicked by reality - hard. It is the only thing that could possibly snap people living here out of their idiocy and complacency.

      16 votes
      1. [8]
        joelthelion
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Well, isn't that what's happening right now? Or is that not even enough?

        Well, isn't that what's happening right now? Or is that not even enough?

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          Loire
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          American conservatives have an incredible capacity for not acknowledging anything that doesn't personally and directly affect them. I'd like to think even they might start considering it at some...

          American conservatives have an incredible capacity for not acknowledging anything that doesn't personally and directly affect them.

          I'd like to think even they might start considering it at some major marker like half a million dead but deep down I know even that won't jar them from their stupor. Until every single American gets infected with the resultant symptomatic toll, there will be snapping out of it.

          13 votes
          1. [2]
            SunSpotter
            Link Parent
            My parents aren't full blown COVID skeptics, but have found their own way to politicize it anyways. They're convinced the US death rate is only high because counties are reporting whatever deaths...

            My parents aren't full blown COVID skeptics, but have found their own way to politicize it anyways. They're convinced the US death rate is only high because counties are reporting whatever deaths they feel like as being COVID related. Something to do with counties getting more federal aid if they have higher related death rates.

            I recently pointed out that the number of US deaths for any reason shot up by an additional 122k, basically a 1/6th increase during the quarantine. A number higher than the reported number dead from COVID in the US to begin with. Without skipping a beat they just moved the goalposts and said "Oh well, I heard around 50k people have died in hospice care due to COVID, and that's close to half of what you're saying. So that means it must not really be that bad, it's just the old people dying".

            I honestly don't understand them. They're worried about getting it on a personal level, always wondering if I'm at risk of exposing myself (and therefore them). But seem to think the national response (which is already a disaster) is somehow overblown? Maybe if a Democrat were in office, they'd feel differently because then they could get whipped up about how poorly the president were handling things. But like yourself, I really don't know what it will take to reach these people as the situation stands currently.

            5 votes
            1. Omnicrola
              Link Parent
              Honestly, it could just be a mental defense. It's a fairly hefty mental burden to worry about yourself and family, think about how to keep them safe during the pandemic, etc etc. It's a whole...

              But seem to think the national response (which is already a disaster) is somehow overblown?

              Honestly, it could just be a mental defense. It's a fairly hefty mental burden to worry about yourself and family, think about how to keep them safe during the pandemic, etc etc. It's a whole other thing to try and grok the existential horror of watching your entire country fumble it's response, thousands die, and know that you as an individual are nearly helpless to do anything about it.

              So ya, downplaying and denying the severity (or even existence) of the pandemic outside your immediate sphere just to unconsciously try and preserve your own mental health? Ya I can understand that.

              2 votes
        2. [3]
          Amarok
          Link Parent
          I'd say it's just beginning. Covid is about to get completely out of control, and the coming economic shocks aren't even on most people's radar yet. When everyone is sick, stuck at home, out of...

          I'd say it's just beginning. Covid is about to get completely out of control, and the coming economic shocks aren't even on most people's radar yet. When everyone is sick, stuck at home, out of work, and staring down the barrel of a great depression unable to pay their bills, that's when they'll start to snap out of it.

          I'd worry more about it except the solutions to the entire mess are simple and well known. It's a set of problems we can literally turn off like a light switch any time we decide to stop fucking around. Covid lasts until people wear masks, and the depression lasts until the day after we implement UBI.

          8 votes
          1. [2]
            Loire
            Link Parent
            At this point, as worried as I am about it, I do wonder about how likely a full blown depression is. The rest of the developed world has the disease relatively under control and the vast majority...

            At this point, as worried as I am about it, I do wonder about how likely a full blown depression is. The rest of the developed world has the disease relatively under control and the vast majority of the population is asymptomatic. The job numbers, although I am vaguely suspicious of number fudging, are also promising. As important as the US is to the global economy, if everyone else is back to relative business as usual, and with the US ignoring the problem and forcing people in into work anyways, I don't see a full blown depression forming. Especially since the markets have become completely detached from reality. Likewise most of the people that do get seriously ill are unlikely to be employed due to age, nor in important jobs anyways.

            I am by no means an expert in this but the threat of a depression seems to have passed for now.

            5 votes
            1. Amarok
              Link Parent
              The depression isn't caused by the covid exactly... covid is the trigger that starts the avalanche. We're up to our eyeballs in debt (student, credit, property) and constantly bailing out failing...

              The depression isn't caused by the covid exactly... covid is the trigger that starts the avalanche.

              We're up to our eyeballs in debt (student, credit, property) and constantly bailing out failing market sectors. The automation wave has greatly accelerated. Businesses on the margin are falling off and closing. New business starting up have come to a near standstill, and those that do start up (especially in tech) are meant more to bilk VC and get bought by major corps than provide beneficial services.

              Most 'jobs' being created are minimum wage contract work as a faceless number for large corporations - nothing like a real career with actual satisfaction. Couple that with most of our institutions being bankrupt or so corrupt they no longer serve their purpose.

              There's just no way for most people to pay off their debts and secure a home, health care, education for their kids, or start a business under the umbrella of this mess. Barely treading water is the new normal.

              Historically this is an old story and it ends with the collapse of the host country's currency, markets, and government. Today's hyper-connected economic world has now tied the fates of major world economic regions together in this mess, too. If we go, they go, and if they go, we go. I'd wager there isn't one single country out there that's truly self-sufficient at producing everything it needs internally anymore.

              How much more stress and willful neglect can this global economic system take before one part of it breaks and starts the rest falling down like dominoes? If covid keeps causing shutdowns, that's going to contribute and continue to exacerbate all of these other problems.

              It's interesting how the Hollywood distraction engine collapsed. Americans are without their usual bread and circuses for at least the next year, possibly two. No new shows, movies, sports, concerts, etc. There's just you, your home, your work, and your family. Youtubers have higher ratings than television shows now.

              There's a major, major shift in American civil discourse happening. I see that as the real wildcard in this mess, and in the end it'll probably be what saves us and snaps us out of the mess before it becomes unrecoverable.

              14 votes
  3. [4]
    Akir
    Link
    Just yesterday I had some idiot come into the store and tell me that they thought COVID-19 was a hoax because more people die from influenza. And I'm just sitting here relieved that maybe a few...

    Just yesterday I had some idiot come into the store and tell me that they thought COVID-19 was a hoax because more people die from influenza.

    And I'm just sitting here relieved that maybe a few more hundred thousand people dying might just change this guy's mind. Because for most of them they will not take any kind of evidence to convince them that what they are saying is insane.

    I didn't say anything to that gentleman, but I wonder if I made the world a worse place by my inaction.

    18 votes
    1. teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      I don’t know if it’s any consolation, but at worst you left the world in as poor of a state as it was.

      I don’t know if it’s any consolation, but at worst you left the world in as poor of a state as it was.

      5 votes
    2. [2]
      Nivlak
      Link Parent
      I saw a man walk into a store with no mask and try to sneak in with his tshirt over his face. I was walking in behind him and noticed he stopped at a redbox machine and was hanging there for a...

      I saw a man walk into a store with no mask and try to sneak in with his tshirt over his face. I was walking in behind him and noticed he stopped at a redbox machine and was hanging there for a while. I questioned the man as to where his mask was and he gave me something close to “fuck you”. I pretty much snapped on him and unleashed a pretty intense tirade on him right in the middle of the store. He follows up with “ you want me to kick your ass?” I gave him a hearty “fuck you” And went on my way.

      And I’m asking myself the same question you are. Did I make things worse by my overreaction?

      1 vote
      1. Qis
        Link Parent
        Yes, definitely do not give yourself the responsibility to individually check mask compliance. You won't change any minds and you won't feel better afterward either!

        Yes, definitely do not give yourself the responsibility to individually check mask compliance. You won't change any minds and you won't feel better afterward either!

        8 votes
  4. [3]
    Silbern
    Link
    Not to take away from Trump's mismanagement, but the coronavirus situation varies dramatically across the country. France had 918 new cases on July 1st, Hawaii's had 870 cases total throughout the...

    Not to take away from Trump's mismanagement, but the coronavirus situation varies dramatically across the country. France had 918 new cases on July 1st, Hawaii's had 870 cases total throughout the entire crisis, despite us being one of the most at risk states early on due to our high elderly population and numerous travelers from China and Japan. And while our geographic isolation prevents transmission through driving, it doesn't help as much as you'd think - unlike New Zealand, we can't just close our borders to all visitors until the situations get under control. While I understand the author is generalizing, it's a pretty substantial one, and it does ruffle my feathers a bit that we're (and several other states that've done a good job) a "pariah state".

    I also really don't like this line

    the EU believes that the United States is no better than Russia and Brazil—autocrat-run public-health disasters—and that American tourists would pose a dire threat to the hard-won stability our lockdown has earned us.

    The list blocks pretty much the entire world, including Taiwan, Chile, Costa Rica, etc. are they "autocratic-run public health disasters"? Furthermore, the list is not legally binding, and Hungary for example has already announced that it's only going to accept people from Serbia, not Canada, New Zealand, or any other country on the list. The list also includes a reciprocity agreement (which shows it's clearly not just about public health concerns as they keep saying), and some of the EU's own members - especially Sweden, with almost 3,000 new cases per day last I checked a week ago - likely wouldn't have been allowed if they weren't in the EU.

    9 votes
    1. Tygrak
      Link Parent
      Well Hungary is a autocratic-run hellhole right now so that's not the best example.

      Well Hungary is a autocratic-run hellhole right now so that's not the best example.

      9 votes
    2. Saigot
      Link Parent
      It's disingenuous to compare your best states (especially ones so distant) to an entire country at large, as any sufficiently large country also has a large amount of local variability. the French...

      It's disingenuous to compare your best states (especially ones so distant) to an entire country at large, as any sufficiently large country also has a large amount of local variability.

      the French colony La Réunion has had 165 (19/million) cases of covid and has a similar problem closing it's border to french citizens, although I think you overstate that as both La Réunion and Hawaii have indeed greatly restricted travel to and from their mainlands.

      But even within mainland france, Bretagne has, per cpaita, about 2 thirds the number of cases (689/million vs 470/million, in terms of total numbers that's 975 vs 1,620 total cases as of July 4). From the perspective of reopening, I don't think it's useful to separate places that maintain open borders. If Paris is still a hot zone it is still dangerous to reopen travel to France regardless of how good Bretagne is doing. One can clearly see how if we allowed the people of Bretagne to travel outside france people would simply travel to Bretagne and then on to their next destination increasing the risk of transmission in Bretagne and the destination country. Likewise it's America's well-being as a whole, not any specific state that dictates when international partners choose to allow travel.

      however, I agree with your second paragraph except for this point :

      The list also includes a reciprocity agreement (which shows it's clearly not just about public health concerns as they keep saying)

      while obviously there is a political element to any decision a political body makes I don't think reciprocity is a sign of this. It is safe for an Englishmen to visit Canada if and only if it is safe for a Canadian to visit England, no?

      8 votes