Stop Saying the Virus Doesn’t Care

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S1: The following recording may contain explicit language I can’t get more explicit than May with literal say it may.

S2: It’s Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 from Slate, it’s the gist. I’m Mike PESCA. Donald Trump was asked today about a memo that his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, put together warning of the dangers of the Corona virus. Would it have changed his mind? Trump stated confidently, teasing out his thought process for the assembled press corps.

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S3: The memo, as you know, the memo is pretty good memo from the standpoint that he took a guess. I didn’t see it yet.

S4: I. I’m satisfied. Good memo from the standpoint of I guess I haven’t read it yet.

S5: I have watched, I would say 30 governors press conferences. Some haven’t been great. But even the ones who I’ve criticized have been more or less coherent. Ron DeSantis made bad choices in Florida, but explain those choices coherently.

S4: I disagree with his thinking, but I can follow it. Kay Ivey of Alabama would be to the ears of VATTEN Alabaman, I think, uplifting to some degree. Donald Trump is the worst communicator in America on this issue. I mean, like I said, I haven’t seen every governor, but I have seen most of them. And I have seen dozens of mayors talk to a few, seen local officials, literally. No one is worse than Trump at putting words and thoughts and reasons together. And I don’t mean words and thoughts and reasons where I say, oh, that convinced me. That won me over or even that was a thought provoking argument. That’s not my standard. I mean, he is the worst at putting words and thoughts and reasons together that are recognizable as words and thoughts and reasons. Now, Jim Justice of West Virginia, I’m going to say he’s the second worst. Here he was today talking about a former politician in this state, Jeff Kessler.

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S6: Jeff called me on the phone. I think it was it was it was maybe Friday or Saturday. I can’t recall. Think Saturday. And he called me to tell me that he knew of a person that could help us with some additional supplies. Now you get a lot of calls and some army running the ground, run ground and they come up with who knows what.

S4: Long story short, Jeff helped West Virginia procure a million items of PPE.

S6: Jeff, we really appreciate your call. And Jeff asked me, said, well, who’s going to get these people on their thing? I said, I am. And so I called the first brought front, first line. And then they gave me to another and I called him and everything. And off we ran. We got with our people, the guard and everybody. And I did great work and everything, OK?

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S4: So not every executive address will be we shall fight them on the beaches, which I’ll fight them in the hills. But the reason I put Jim justice above Trump is that Jim Justice can at least give some other people credit sometimes. And Jim, justice doesn’t seem like he loves a fight, like he’s spoiling for a fight, like he draws energy from a fight with the press corps and he doesn’t run away from responsibility. When I say that Donald Trump is the worst public official on the issue, I don’t mean that as hyperbole. I don’t mean that as a strategic insult to draw maximum damage because you’re an anti-Trump audience and I give you the anti-Trump red meat. I say that having watched dozens and dozens of officials of all stripe and in some cases some who have worst policies. I think the governor of Mississippi has worst policies. I think Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas actually has worst policies than Trump does on the national level as regards the pandemic. But I judge them all to be superior to Trump in terms of communicating his ideas with the public or her ideas telling them, telling us really what we need to hear. Yesterday, Trump came out against the idea of voting by mail. So today, they’re horrible lines in Wisconsin and Trump, the democratically elected president of a country dealing with a pandemic, was asked about carrying out the basic fundamentals of democracy during a pandemic.

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S3: Look, all I did was endorse a candidate. I don’t know anything about deadlines. I don’t know anything about their voting. I love the state. I want a state which is rare for a Republican to do. But I won the state of Wisconsin. I’m going to win it again.

S7: That was his answer. He doesn’t know about that. Why are you asking him? Literally the worst communicator in the time of pandemic.

S8: Out of every governor and every mayor who I’ve seen when asked to communicate to a constituency and deliver them information that they could use either psychically or practically, Trump is in last place. And unfortunately, he is asked to communicate with the largest constituency of all, and he doesn’t know anything about it on the show today. The virus, what’s its motive? Does it discriminate? I want to step on the answer, but it’s pretty interesting.

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S7: It’s when you and your family will want. Here, because a virus is bad, but a discriminatory virus is not right. But first, with Joe Biden as the presumptive Democratic nominee. I love that the present is so passive voice. I will say it. I presume Joe Biden will be the nominee. But a lot of people did not presume that. Among them, most African American pundits just say most pundits, but African-American pundits were in that group. And when you look at how popular he is with African American voters, you might ask why? Why were those tasked with analyzing and explaining the African-American electorate to the broader public? Wrong. So often wrong. It is not a question of who correctly got the Biden nomination. Presumably. So it is it’s not a question of who got it right. But it’s a question of who accurately assessed and explained Biden’s appeal. Clarence Page was such a person. The longtime columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

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S9: And by the way, that comes into play that he’s a longtime columnist. He got it mostly right. So Clarence comes on and we discuss Biden’s, the electorate and the generational shift among voters and pundits. That’s up next.

S1: So this week, when we just speak to smart people about things that we need to know from them, I have invited on Clarence Page, the great columnist for the Chicago Tribune. One of the original and just the most soulful and temperate member of the McGlaughlin Group, I guess is not saying much, but he was my favorite. And we’re going to talk about Joe Biden and the black community and Bernie Sanders and Democrats. Hello, Clarence. Thanks for joining me. Thank you so much for having me on again. Absolutely. So as I look at the black vote, as we all look at the black vote overwhelmingly for Joe Biden. And yet, as I remember, the conversations I had on this show on air, just read about it does seem to me that most of the black intelligentsia was very suspicious of Joe Biden. Do you agree with this assessment?

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S10: Do you have an explanation as to why you’re the all black smart people, too, on point? That’s right. And I say that with a great deal of experience haven’t been black all my life. I’ve first got interest in politics as a kid, just hearing my dad and uncles talk about it. I tell you, I’ve had colleagues say that black folks are the most politically pragmatic and Machiavellian and sensible forward thinking of any particular voting bloc.

S1: And a compliment, a pejorative and a compliment.

S10: Oh, yeah, yeah. You know, certainly strategic thinking has always been very important for African-Americans. And when you have a history like ours in this country, you become very aware of who has the power and what games are being played. I’m old enough to remember back when being a black Republican was not an oddity and quite the opposite. People forget people like Ed Brooks, for example, the first black senator from Massachusetts was a Republican from Massachusetts. So it’s like that was not extraordinary these days. Certainly there is a sense among black folks that as one of my friends says, I’m my white man’s better than your white man. A contest sometimes, because even if you don’t have power in the particular election, you look and see which side are you on or are more important who’s on your side. That was something Congressman Jim Clyburn in South Carolina said when he endorsed Biden in that primary, which was such an important endorsement. Right.

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S1: Which to me echoed FDR. Did you know him, as they said to the guy who was watching the funeral? No, but he knew us. I think that was supposed to be an exact representation, of course. That’s right. FDR before him, the black vote always went to the Republican. He was the first Democrat to win the black vote. And Democrats have never lost it. But if we were to explain why this shift, the people who are talking and saying where the black vote should go or would go and all the fault they found with Biden, find an explanation for it. I think it’s age. I think it’s a generational thing. But I think that there are several aspects to that that I know you’ve been thinking about because you wrote that column to your son.

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S10: You know, he, too, has a strong political sense. And we’re calling our podcast Generation Fringe, because it’s, as I call it, the baby boomer versus the millennial. And we are classic voting father and son these days for African-American fathers and sons. I’m the Biden supporter and he is the Bernie bro, although I’m not allowed to say Bernie bro at home. If you know about all of the negative connotations that go with that label, but no one’s be called the bro. Yeah, but but you know, I’m old enough to remember George McGovern 72 election in which there was a brutal divide in the Democratic Party between generations. There again, we never forget how the Jesse Jackson delegation or sub delegation led the Illinois delegation into a protest that led to Mayor Richard J. Daley dubosc his delegation being unseated and Jackson’s delegation being seated. And that was a big victory for those who remember four years earlier, the Chicago 68 convention, where the younger generation was. Well, there was a real clash there, mainly over the Vietnam War. That year, you saw the baby boomers starting to get real political power. And of course, partly as a result of that, George McGovern lost 49 states because it’s very hard to go into an election with the party divided. The party was deeply divided at that time. And I remind my son of this as the Democrats argue over the what do we do if Bernie gets nominated? And my son says, well, you ought to support him as well. Well, the BIRDEE people support Biden if he gets the nomination. And he says he’s not so sure about that, huh? Certainly, Biden is viewed as part of the old corrupt establishment, which amuses me because that’s what we should say about Mayor Daley. But, you know, my son doesn’t remember all the times that Joe Biden was on our side as African-Americans. He were. He remembers. Though talk of the Anita Hill hearings, the crime bill of 1994, which led to more mass incarceration of African-Americans, also his working with Strom Thurmond on the Judiciary Committee. And I told my son, you can get anything done in those days on Judiciary and the other committee if you weren’t cozy with the Southern political establishment.

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S11: But let’s not talk about the crime bill, because I’m where you are. I read your column on it, which is maybe it’s not politically the right move or the WOAK move, but he should. Biden should say, I’m proud of what we did in the crime bill. I should say we brought crime down. And he should also say in all the studies show that incarceration, while a bad problem had crested and maybe the crime bill added a little to it. But there are so many other opportunities afterwards to have undone that you can’t blame it all on the 94 crime bill, which was, by the way, a federal bill. And so wouldn’t have affected really affected state incarceration rates unless you look at some some initiatives in terms of mandatory minimums bias. Right. My point is, it seems to me that some of these are differences of opinions based on tactics or the ideal world. But on the crime bill, it does seem to me that there is a little bit of misinformation among all the people who are your son’s age or cohort or the people who are Bernie backers who just see that as purely a negative. I don’t know. I mean, I hate to seem patronizing and saying, oh, you don’t know the facts, but it does seem to be the case.

S10: Well, hindsight is 20/20, too, right? If Joe Biden, I’m sure and a lot of other Democrats who back the bill back then had known the consequences that would come because of excesses, of course, the same arguments made about stop and frisk. Now, you know, this is very similar with the crime bill. It was passed with the support not just of Joe Biden, but most of the Black Caucus back then. Now, a number of Black Caucus members wanted some other reforms that were not included because of opposition from conservative Republicans. But they did get a deal because black Americans were especially black urban Americans in the north, especially were so fed up with the surge in violent crime that they wanted some strong measures as well. And so the atmosphere at that time was very much in favor of it. But I think what really made the difference for Biden is simply that he was there for us, if you will. That’s the sort of thing you’ll hear from older black folks. And I think a lot of younger ones, too.

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S1: But let me ask you this, because to this moment, Bernie’s backers are still making the case that we can’t nominate Biden. He is unexciting in the same way that Hillary was unexciting. And this will affect turnout. And they seem to be ignoring that. That theory has not worked at all for Bernie in the primary. I guess you can assert Bernie will be the more exciting one. You don’t have to back it up, but there seems to be no evidence to back it up. And the lesson of 16 might be that Hillary was unexciting. But how does that really map out to 2020?

S10: Interesting question. I think that the excitement level that Bernie had in 2016 was quite profound. But as I mentioned, he was not accustomed to bringing out a black turnout, Hispanic turnout and a number of other voting groups. And when you consider all of that, the man from Vermont did darn well nationwide. And in getting a movement going now, folks say, well, he hasn’t turned out as many as he did before. Yeah. But look at what he’s done as far as Democratic thinking. And I say Democratic with a uppercase D. All the candidates, all the major candidates, favorite Medicare for all or something like it. Medicare for all is an important issue. That’s just how much the party’s changed, partly from pressure from the voters. And this has benefited, Bernie. But the same time, there’s closer scrutiny now of, well, he may get the nomination. Will people turn out for a Democrat who is a known socialist who doesn’t run away from that label? And that became the big issue. And frankly, if there is any big issue with Democrats this year, it is beating Donald Trump. Everything else, health care and everything else is secondary because there’s this new pragmatism now, very much like back when McGovern lost and Nixon won. There’s new pragmatism that says, look, you can have the most wonderful social service program you want if you don’t get elected. Nothing’s going to happen with it. That’s the kind of pragmatism that has helped. Joe Biden actually cause folks now have that hard choice to make about who can most effectively get elected so that some kind of reform can happen on health care and other similar issues.

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S12: I do want to go back to this question. It’s intriguing question to me of the. And I haven’t quantified it, but it. Certainly seems true that before the voting happened, the message that we got from most pundits who claim to speak about or knowledgeably if not for the African-American community was that Joe Biden was going to have a big problem with the African-American community, mainly because of things like the crime bill. And they even went back to 1972 and busing and so forth. And that turned out not to pass. Now we’ve analyzed what drove most black voters, which is that they never said that they weren’t voting for Biden. They always told pollsters they favorite Biden. It just the smart people who were said to analyze this. And I have a few explanations, but one seems to be that those people are pulled from the more progressive side of the Democratic Party than most black voters are. So that’s one phenomenon that black public intellectuals are perhaps more progressive than black voters. But another one is age. And I do wonder how to analyze this. I have a couple of other theories. But maybe there was a time when there were just so few black pundits in the media, right? You and maybe William Raspberry, Carl Rowan.

S10: We were it for a while there, right.

S1: We weren’t getting a big sampling of African-American thought. So that’s been corrected. But maybe the kind of sampling that we’ve gotten, the kind of people who are booked on television shows and so forth are just much more progressive than the average black person. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it does add up to giving a misimpression is how I experience a misimpression of Bernie’s chances with actual black voters.

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S10: I think you’re on to something, Mike. I have learned the hard way not to think that everybody who votes is as passionate about the issues as me and my son. You know, most folks have other things to do in their lives besides politics. I have no idea what things might be. But in the black community in general, the past associations mean a lot. Just like any other human relations have, who knows about it for a long time? It was a Molly Ivens, as was, say, a dance with the one that brung. You remember the folks who helped you in the past and you helped them out now. That’s such a fundamental part of politics or the story. Every politician tells about their neighbor that they’ve known all their lives who didn’t vote for them and they. So. So what happened? I said, well, you didn’t ask me something. You all my life. I said, Yeah, but you didn’t. By and asked me for my vote. That is really there’s a real, very important real politic to that story. Now days, you know what’s happened to the Bushes. Now they’re out in the wilderness. The folks who who have moderate views in the party have been elbowed aside by the new Trump era. And here again, Joe Biden is the kind of guy who can reach those Republicans out in the wilderness, those moderately disposed folks who may have voted Republican for the last 20, 30 years, whatever. But they don’t like a lot of things about Donald Trump. He gives them a more attractive alternative. They’ll be willing to come halfway for you. That’s another thing. US older folks appreciate that. But.

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S1: So in your conversations with your WOAK son, as per the title of that column and your current or ongoing or planned podcast with him, have either of you changed each other’s minds about anything?

S10: What’s important here is that whether or not we’ve changed each other’s minds, that we understand more where each of us is coming from. And that makes a difference. We don’t we don’t yell at each other as loudly.

S1: Now, Clarence Page is a Pulitzer winning columnist, primarily with The Chicago Tribune. His most recent book of columns is called Culture Warrior, where he was on the show talking about that. And it’s always a pleasure to talk to you. Clarence, take care. You, too. Thank you.

S7: And now the schpiel. Hi, it’s me, Mike PESCA, and I’m here with an important public health reminder. You know, there’s been a lot of talk about the Corona virus, a lot of loose talk, misinformation. I’m here to clear some of it up. You know, over the last week, we’ve come to learn a lot about the Corona virus, how it is acquired, how it is transmitted, how long it lasts. What’s the. Not. No. How viral load affects symptoms. And our knowledge in all these areas is growing. But there is one aspect of the virus that surprisingly to me at least, has been the course of a lot of speculation. It’s not what’s the viruses is origin bats or how easily is the virus transmitted or not between 2 and 3 or what’s the viruses incubation period mean, a five point two days? No, the speculation has been what’s the virus is motivation. Namely, is this a discriminatory virus?

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S13: Well, a panel of experts agree the Corona virus does not have a political affiliation. It will not discriminate based on the virus does not discriminate.

S14: This virus does not discriminate. This virus doesn’t discriminate. The coronavirus does not discriminate.

S1: That said, over and over again, desirous doesn’t discriminate.

S7: There you see the virus doesn’t discriminate. This is indeed a job for the CDC, not the EEOC. Thank goodness. Now, if you’re wondering, OK, but just how ecumenical is this virus really? Well, different experts have been studying this and they’re here to offer their findings to start us off. Here is a she’s Jaar, the director of the Global Health Institute at Harvard University. The virus doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat or Republican. The virus is going to run rampant. OK. That’s understandable. But he did leave out independents. And I was wondering about independents. Can anyone address the very live issue? Is the virus attacking? Maybe those who are conservative on fiscal matters, but liberal on social issues.

S13: What say you, Joe Biden should be crystal clear. The Corona virus does not have a political affiliation. In fact, the Republicans, independents and Democrats alike will not discriminate based on national origin, race, gender or zip code.

S7: It’s true. Contrary to some early reports, you may have read out of a small sample size in France, the best science indicates that the Corona virus is not a Democrat, not a Republican, and not even an independent. Also, the virus will attack yellow dog. Democrats will target Log Cabin Republicans. We’ll go after a Mugwump, a doe face or a free spoiler. All in good stead. Will being hashtag resistance offer hashtag resistance from the virus? Hashtag will not. So the money doesn’t care about ideology.

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S15: And according to former representative Trey Gowdy, this virus does not care what your political ideation is. This virus doesn’t care what your nationality.

S7: Yup. It also doesn’t care about political ideation. So loose synonyms for political ideology. The virus does have a thesaurus, doesn’t care about dictionaries, but whatever synonym you could find for what the virus doesn’t care about, realized this. It doesn’t care about the synonym for that either. What I’m saying is this really does not seem to be some kind of linguistic ploy. The virus really and truly seems not to have hate in its heart or possibly looked at another way, has only hate in its heart, but an equal hate for everyone. Kind of refreshing. It’s a very, very important way to look at the virus. We must regard the virus in this manner. Other politicians, like Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, take this analysis a step further.

S16: It doesn’t discriminate based on city line. State line. Party line.

S7: Don’t care about fishing lines or pickup lines. It doesn’t discriminate among any of the original cast members of whose line is it anyway? Another elected official, Colorado Representative Joe Magoo’s, added a wrinkle.

S14: This virus does not discriminate. It does not matter what state you live in, what you look like, doesn’t matter what you look like.

S7: Virus, not look. That must be what’s behind so many people I used to think of as well-groomed showing up in Xoom chats looking like hell, but apparently I’m wrong. The virus does not discriminate on looks unlike the infamous beady eye infestation of all five and that weak chin parasite that just tore through the royal families of Europe. It doesn’t discriminate. It’s not all about looks. That’s right. Getting the correct Instagram filter, not a vaccine. And neither is a really cute outfit.

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S17: The virus does not discriminate against us because of our skin tone, because of our political beliefs or what brands of clothes that we wear.

S7: That was Lily Yang. She’s a fashion designer. I found out. So if anything, regard what she said as a statement against self-interest. You can believe her. So we have leaders from the world of science, politics and dressmaking all in agreement. The virus. Doesn’t care. The virus has pretty much embodied the ideal of non-discrimination while at the same time getting no credit for its open heartedness. But the best analysis of the virus exhibiting honey badger levels of not caring. Is brought to us by, as is often the case. Madonna in a bathtub.

S18: That’s the thing about at 19 and doesn’t care about how rich you are now, famous you are, how funny you are, how smart you are.

S19: Where you lived.

S20: How old you are.

S21: What amazing stories you can tell.

S22: It’s the great equalizer.

S21: And what’s terrible about it is what’s great about it. It’s terrible, as it seems in many ways.

S8: Now, let’s just step back from the tone I had been taking and say this about what Madonna just told us about many of the statements you’ve heard. The virus not discriminating is an uninteresting point because it is so obvious, it is so clichéd as to not bear mentioning. But there is an exception, occasionally an exception to the cliche, and that is when the statement isn’t cliched, but actually wholly un accurate because the virus may not care about its effects.

S7: It doesn’t have cognition. I think you knew that, but it certainly seems to have been affecting certain populations much worse than others. So it doesn’t care if you’re black and white. I don’t know. It’s killing more black people at disproportionate rates at least. It doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, except the rich can distance and don’t rely on mass transit as much and have more square footage and a better access to health care. As far as the first thing Madonna said, they’re not caring about your age. I mean, again, it doesn’t care, but it very, very much affects people of different ages much differently. I think Madonna doesn’t want you to care about how old she is. That’s what I think is going on. But while it’s true, I wasn’t actually leaning towards taking epidemiological cues from anyone in the bathtub before this. Now, I’m really, really wary. Mama, don’t preach. You know what I’m saying? The virus lacking a metabolic system isn’t living, it doesn’t think. But it does affect people who are mostly affected by harmful natural phenomena more than it affects people who largely are better off in dealing with health crises. Meaning like with so many things in our society, the poor get it worse. Minorities in America being poor have it worse. Also, minorities, especially African-Americans, are in worse health. If you’re in worse health to begin with, the virus affects you in a worse way. The old get it worse, the young blessedly don’t. But it’s not because of a virus not caring or discriminating. I personally don’t care to hear anymore about how the virus doesn’t care. I care about if our leaders sufficiently care about us. That’s disturbing. But I find that to be true, that that is a legitimate live question. But mostly I care how we are going about caring for each other.

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S9: That’s it for today’s show. Pricella Lobby doesn’t discriminate between rich, poor black, white Rockit or rubella. The first bheki or later back, he’s doesn’t discriminate. Margaret Kelly doesn’t discriminate between dusk and twilight. She cares not a whit for the crepuscular. Just producer Daniel Schrader’s favorite Tiger is flying tiger. Copenhagen for their broad array of items that sell for only two or three dollars, but are clearly worth like two seventy five or 350. The gist did Madonna just say the virus doesn’t care about how rich, famous or funny you are? Oh my God. Gallagher is effed Deborah de Perun. Thanks for listening.