S1: This ad free podcast is part of your slate plus membership. Enjoy.
S2: Hello and welcome to the Slate Political Gabfest for March 26, 2020. The two trillion dollars edition. I am David Plotz of My Closet. Emily Bazelon of Yale University of New York Times Magazine.
S3: And her attic joins me from New Haven. Hello, Emily. Hello. Nice to see you on Xoom. And John DICKERSON of CBS 60 Minutes and his bookshelf.
S4: Hello, John.
S5: And you have always of your book to do and I would show people, but this is not a visual medium, as I’ve been led to believe. And I just enlarge this screen and I’m looking at myself. All I can say is I apologize.
S1: You look great. What do you mean? What could you. It’s not really me.
S4: It’s so nice to see you guys. It’s just nice to see you guys and to see Jonathan, Bridget. So it’s great to see you again. Regardless of how how unshaven or dirty any of this looks on today’s gabfest, the tug of war over how long the shutdown should last. And why will the president abet a public health catastrophe by encouraging Americans to get back to normal life too soon? And do we have even the remotest sense that this pandemic is beginning to change, that we are beginning to get any of it under control, even as New York sinks into what appears to be an absolutely disastrous situation? We will talk to an epidemiologist, Greg Gonzalez, about all of that. Then, the largest stimulus bill in world history. Attempts to forestall an economic collapse here in the U.S. but is two trillion dollars enough? We’ll talk about that. And then we will hear from civil war historian David Blight about what history can teach us about living through catastrophe. David is one of my favorite people to talk to about anything. I can’t wait to hear his historical perspective on this. Plus, of course, we will have cocktail chatter.
S6: There is a raging debate going on in this country stoked by President Trump over how long the corona freeze should last. The president said this week idiotically that he wants people in stores and churches by Easter, which is just a couple of weeks away. Meanwhile, there are a couple of other people, there’s a group of other people who are arguing in a similar vein that social distancing be damned. Let’s let the disease run its course through the young and healthy. Keep the economy humming. Try to protect the old during that great. Gonzalez is an assistant professor at Yale University School of Public Health. He’s an epidemiologist. He has a somewhat different perspective on this. So, Greg, can you start with the what do you think are the major fallacies of the let’s get back to business? We’ve done enough already proposals that we’re hearing from the president and others.
S7: So, first of all, let’s start off with where we are, where in the midst of a raging pandemic and national public health response that nobody thought could be this bad. And so we’re in a situation where I see use all over the country, particularly New York and the Northeast, but slowly across the country are going to be filled to capacity. And people are doing making choices about who lives and who dies. So the projections are maybe want between 1 and 2 million deaths if we relax social distancing.
S8: In the absence of a vaccine or a treatment for Kovac, 19, we are stuck with social distancing is the main way of protecting herself. Now, public health experts and epidemiologists all realize the ask is a big one and we’re all doing the same thing as people are doing all over the world following these guidelines. We also realize we have to think of a way out.
S7: This can’t go on forever. The more weeks we accumulate of this sort of social isolation, people will be chomping to get out of their houses, meet their friends and family. Resume normal life. So these discussions are happening in the world of public health, not just sort of in the greater sort of public discourse. What we don’t need awful false choices, the idea that we have to pick the economy versus protecting the public health. I’ve been speaking to both my public health colleagues and colleagues in economics. People like Zach, Cooper-Hewitt, Yale and others who don’t see a conflict in this at all.
S8: The way to save the economy, the way to save our friends and family’s lives is to beat this virus.
S6: Gregg, one way you came to our attention was a Twitter thread that was in particular response to a piece in The New York Times by David Katz. I think his name is which argued we can let the let the young get this disease, protect the olds, and that’ll be fine. Talk about why it is, why it’s not possible for that model to work, which I think Emily and I both played with and were tempted by and wanted to believe in. And Emily, I don’t I shouldn’t be.
S9: You can speak for me, at least. I just want to I just want you to explain to our audience why that’s a fallacy.
S10: Well, it’s interesting, too, because it was very appealing to Jim Dow and James Bennett, The New York Times. There is an easy out there is a way to get through this without the pain that I think many are contemplating over a long period. Creative social isolation.
S8: We are the dean of our School of Public Health Standard. Man myself started Olmer, who runs the utility for Global Health, and Becca Levy, another professor here at Yale, wrote a piece in The Times, a short letter saying why this is impossible, why this is not a credible plan for addressing the epidemic. One is the idea that we can sort of sequester all the elderly in the United States and their caregivers in some sort of safety over the course of months while life goes on outside of outside of their sort of sequestered existences.
S11: It’s not credible. We don’t have a safety net that’s going to be able to sort of sustain this for the elderly in isolation over time. The other pieces that we don’t know, you know, many of you probably know people in your social circles or one or two degrees of separation who are in the ICU or have been sick, who are not 75, 85 years old. So as many of us know, David Latt, founder of Above the Law, a lawyer in New York City, who is he has been in you’ve been in the ICU as a marathon runner, physically fit by all other standard, who has the disease.
S8: If you let younger people out to go to work with the idea that let them just get exposed and they’ll get a mild illness or they won’t get anything, all discount the fact that a certain percentage of young people will get serious disease and die.
S11: And you just have to do the math, right. If there’s a big difference between a one, let’s say 1 percent chance, this serious illness, when you have 100 people, one person out of 100 will get it. But if there are 10000 people, a million people, 10 million people, and you multiply it by 1 percent, we’re talking about a huge absolute number of young people ending up in the ICU.
S8: The other thing is that this could be a seasonal coronavirus infection and seeding it across the American landscape by sort of letting everybody get it except a small group of people doesn’t bode well for trying to eradicate this.
S11: A recurring infection that comes up and we have flu enterovirus season, which means hundreds and hundreds of thousand, that’s on an annual basis. Those are the main reasons why the Cats editorial with wishful thinking sort of wrapped in the incident has been NERA of science.
S1: I just wanna say you brought up my friend David Latt, who I’m really worried about. He is on a ventilator and I think sedated, according to the latest news that I heard and just been thinking about him a lot.
S12: And there are other people like that as well. So I think the way in which this virus is starting to touch us, especially in the Northeast star, I don’t know, maybe that’s not even true.
S5: Star It’s starting to feel very real, at least to me, if we’re looking for an evidence based approach to this. What are the next things we should be watching for and what are some of the time horizons that we can be paying attention to as we determine how to go forward?
S1: Markers maybe.
S8: You know, there’s a rational case being made for going forward and it’s coming from both public health and economists. People at Gabriels, at Ben Emanuel says from Berkeley. Paul Romer, the Nobel Prize winning economist. A bunch of people are saying we can stem the economic damage that this this crisis caused by undergirding some of the economy from the bottom up, not to any having 50 billion dollars worth of corporate subsidies, but really figure out how those who support you, all the four of us, the five of us in our daily lives in terms of social, socialistic income support, all the social services we need to make sure that people are less fortunate in the nascent able to do this. And then we watch and we continue the social distancing and we’ll see the peak of cases start to lessen. Hopefully we’ll have millions and millions of tests in a few months so that we can understand the extent of the epidemic that still lingers in the United States and have antibody tests. We can understand who’s been exposed and who’s not been exposed. If one of us has antibodies to the virus, they’ve never had symptoms. Maybe we can go back to work or be part of the volunteer effort. And so this is gonna be a very step by step process to get people back to work. It’s not like one day we’re gonna flip a switch and it’s all going to be over. It’s gonna be a gradual, gradual scale down of social distancing interventions over the course of months. And it’s going to take a massive investment of public health resources in order to do it. We’re not prepared to do it based on the status quo as it exists today. And that’s what the scary thing is, because there’s an absolute failure in leadership from the top, which is interested in denial and sort of misinformation. So we have people up and down the chain of management not really willing to do the wrong thing, but it’s doing the wrong thing. Needs telling your boss something that he doesn’t want to hear.
S13: Greg, I wonder if you have any sense about whether New York is which is now the epicenter of the pandemic in the world, whether it is a harbinger for the United States or it’s a uniquely bad place and in death that question a different way. One of the things I’ve been wondering about and I’m interested in your professional take on is for the most part, Americans live pretty far apart from each other. We’re big country. We’re not that densely populated. And except for a few cities, we aren’t we don’t have places where people really live cheek by jowl. New York is one of them. And are we likely to have some protection from the fact that that many Americans actually are socially distant and how they live to begin with?
S10: So New York is not a bad place. I think as a New Yorker, I think it’s a fine place to live. I think the population density is one reason why we might be seeing a more severe epidemic there. But it’s also just going to be luck of the draw, right? It’s a major transportation hub. The future for the country, if you start to look at the maps like The New York Times, you’re going to see this sort of start to rise up in urban area. Think of Miami. Ron DeSantis, the governor there, said, you know, I’m not ready to sort of tell people to stay home from work.
S14: He he dilly dally in terms of closing the beaches.
S8: So you’re going to see other cities around the U.S. start to have their cases mount, particularly in states where governors who basically follow the lead of the White House and downplaying the risk for their communities. But also think of it not as a function of density, but as social networks think of communities that are tightly woven together. I’m sure the Mennonites in rural Pennsylvania and others who depend on lots of social contacts may not be about population density. It could be about the density of social networks.
S12: One thing I’ve been wondering about is how heartened to be by the drop in rising cases in Italy. So I’ve been hearing for weeks that Italy was like a couple of weeks ahead of us and they seemed like us too. You know, initially resisted or struggled with social distancing, but then really gone on much more of a national shutdown. And now it seems like a couple of weeks after that, there is starting to be a fall in the rise in case rate there. Is that something that suggests that if we can really do this social distancing for two or three weeks, we can expect a similar achievement? Or am I kind of exaggerating here and grasping at straws?
S10: So, look, I mean, I think what happened in Italy is that once they saw the rising death tolls, they they sort of went into lockdown. And, you know, if we look at what happened in London and other places, South Korea, a mixture of testing and social distancing. Been a way to sort of flatten the curve, but also to sort of start to control the epidemic. We have not taken the route that Spain or Italy or other sort of country that have been hard-hit in Europe have done. We don’t have a national lockdown. We have a lockdown in New York state. We have orders in Connecticut and other states around the country, like California, to institute strong social distancing measures. But it’s not all 50 states and it’s not even across the country.
S8: The bad thing is we we we sink or swim together. And, you know, viruses don’t understand the borders between New York and New Jersey or Mississippi. You know, Mississippi and its neighbors. And so unless we sort of figure out a way to sort of do more rigorous social distancing across the country for a sustained period of time, we’re just piling infections upon infections where we’re building new chains of infection across the United States. And it’s not going to be two or three weeks. I wouldn’t be two or three months of hardship. And you don’t have to figure out a way through this. You know, staying in our own houses, not seeing it, but we know for a long time is very hard to do. We’re gonna have to think of ways to sort of build social connections, maybe isolate ourselves for a couple of weeks alone, and then maybe try to figure out ways we can we can widen our social circles where we’re not at that point yet at all.
S5: Gregg, to endure that couple of months process, it seems to me that people will need some evidence of places where social distancing is working. If, for example, in New York, where the streets are almost empty, how how soon would do you think we should look for or when might we have some inkling that it’s working? If we do these things and those things so that people might be able to say, oh, OK, here’s proof that the social distancing is actually working, will now engage in it for a longer period so that we can get to Nirvana. And then the second question is on antibodies. What do we actually know about what happens after you get it? Antibodies building up because as you were saying earlier, that seems to be to be part of the case for this future world. But what do we really know about how it behaves?
S10: So epidemiologists can predict the future. They have models to do it. And I think people are trying to think through some of these issues. But you’ll see it in the public health data.
S11: Your Department of Health, the New York City, will see it and start to see increasing cases heading to the emergency room, heading to the ICU as we scale up testing.
S8: We’ll get a better sense of what the sort of infection rate are in the city and across the five boroughs and into the suburbs. We don’t know what antibody responses to rotavirus mean. Maybe it means through your immune, maybe it doesn’t. The hope is that an antibody response can mean you’ve been exposed. You’re protected against the virus and that you’re likely not infectious. But, you know, these are all sort of assumptions and and then speculation at this point. This is a new disease. The natural history is not well-defined. And so I wish I had better things to say with more certainty. But that’s sort of the world we live in right now.
S12: You have a long record of fighting the AIDS pandemic. I think beginning in the 80s. And so in a sense, I feel like you’ve been through this before in a way that maybe some other people have not. And I wonder, when you look back on that era, what is resonant for you? I’m less curious about the science, I guess, than I am about the stories we tell ourselves about the disease, the way in which we respond to the role that government and that leaders play at these moments. And I wonder what you’re thinking about from that time.
S10: I mean, you know, first of all, people who went to the AIDS epidemic are having a little bit of living nightmares over the past two or three weeks in terms of their arrival of covered 19, the sort of discussion of hydroxy chloroquine and the sort of these cures that are around the corner.
S11: We waited for 15 years until we had drugs that the drop outbreaks with HIV. And so people were looking at a lipid concoctions and blood thinners and other sort of grasping at straws in terms of looking for treatments that we’re seeing now peddled by the White House. The interesting thing is, is that, you know, the AIDS epidemic. President Reagan didn’t say the word AIDS until seven years into his two terms as president. And that was sort of a. Malign neglect worn by sort of his homophobia and the fact that the disease was was targeting gay men. People use drugs and other sort of vulnerable population to the United States. Now we have sort of another sort of crisis of a mind neglect and sort of malevolence and incompetence, which is reminiscent of that era. But the strange thing which I find baffling beyond belief is that this White House is willing to sacrifice, you know, as the lieutenant governor of Texas said, entire classes of people to sort of uphold their denial about the seriousness epidemic. So it’s just if Ronald Reagan could be blamed for letting the AIDS epidemic sort of run out of control in a small it can be very important group of Americans afflicted by the disease. Here we have a White House that’s willing to let it run rampant across the entire sort of American demographic.
S5: And the lieutenant governor of Texas was not only making a morally frightening argument, but also based on what you’ve said was making one based on assumptions about the 19 that we don’t even know are the actual case, which is he was saying let the grandparents die and everybody else will be in the protected population and they’ll be OK. What you’re saying is we don’t really know if even that could be possible or even wise.
S10: I mean, the scary thing to me is that there is such a denigration of expertise in this moment and an elevation of sort of pseudoscience and pseudo economics. It’s interesting.
S11: No love for Larry Summers, but he tweeted out a little admonition to Lloyd Blankfein from Goldman Sachs saying, hey, when did you turn out to be an epidemiologist? Did you like public health experts talking to you about the role of derivatives in the financial industry? So the point is, is that it’s not just that kind of governor of Texas. We’re susceptible to this. You have you have people in industries that, you know, are going to take a hit by this group indulging in of fantasy, magical thinking. Even though they should know better.
S5: And can I just follow up on that? What then would you advise for people to Purdue to to behave in epistemic hygiene in a way which is, you know, to practice intelligently taking in information and who should they listen to and what should they discard?
S11: So let’s put it this way. I’m very interested in what the economic impact of this is going to be. And I’m not going to prognosticate with you about what I think we should do. But I start triangulating. I think reasonable sources in economics from the PROSIT ideological spectrum. Right. To see what they’re saying. And you’re seeing conservative and liberal economists basically saying, let’s deal with the virus and then we’ll figure out how to deal with sort of rebooting the economy when we need to kind of back on again. And so I think the thing is to triangulate and look for reasonable sources. Check your sources. This is this isn’t a journalistic practice. If you’re a good reporter, you don’t sort of take the first sort of crazy thing that rolls across your desk and put it in your kind of and you start to ask, who is this person who is telling you things that you want to hear? Let’s talk to some other epidemiologists, some other economists, and start to sort of build a case that that that makes the information you have in your hand a reasonable assumption to make.
S15: Greg Enns, all of us is an assistant professor at the Yale University School of Public Health and epidemiologist. And he didn’t say this, but Emily points out he’s a MacArthur winner, so certified genius. So you should definitely listen to him. Greg, thank you for joining us. We hope to talk to you again soon. Under better circumstances, anytime Greg has left us, I’m interested. Emily, how you and I both. I think last week had the sense like, oh, maybe, maybe there’s quick shortcuts. I’ve certainly had been disabused of that this week. And I’m now Andy, whatever takes mode. But how did what Greg said strike you?
S12: I think because I tend to want to look ahead constantly. I was skipping over the short term and heading right to the medium or long term. And then the notion that President Trump was ready to jettison the shutdown before, in a sense, it’s even really become a complete and national. As Greg was saying, made it feel irresponsible and way premature to be having conversations that I think we still need to have. But later and right now, it just seems really clear that we are trying to prevent what could be, you know, a catastrophic number of deaths, a rush on our hospital system that will be just incredibly traumatic for everyone involved, patients, health care workers, loved ones. And that’s just seems really urgent and like it’s the business at hand. And then what happens after that? Yeah, I think there are tradeoffs, as Greg was acknowledging. But we’re not at a point where it’s time to like it feels like putting the cart before the horse to try to figure that out in the short.
S16: You know, what really unsettles me is there was a Tyler COWAN piece last week, which was that the short term American response to this will be the way it will be bad that all America America is really bad at short term responses to everything and never prepared. The just-in-time economy has compounded that. But once we get going. It’ll be great. We’ll be so innovative. And just look at how we responded to World War 2. And what worries me is that I certainly see the slowness and the incompetence that we have now.
S13: But what I don’t have a good sense of is whether, in fact we’re being super innovative, whether great things are happening, whether the world is improving in the way that that we talked about, whether we’re coming up with innovation.
S12: Well, while we can see is tremendous disorganization in the logistics piece of this from the government. I mean, this is the thing that’s making me the maddest right now is the idea that like for lack of enix, relatively inexpensive math’s or expensive but possible to create ventilators, people are going to die and that there is no centralized way of moving them around the country, that governors are competing with each other. And I don’t understand why we’re not just using in a strong way the Defense Production Act to make sure that that happens.
S17: Just to your point, David, about where the innovation can come from. I’m holding on to the idea. I, too, have been struck. We have all of these billionaires running around shooting rockets up into the air as vanity projects to do all kinds of wonderful things. I’m down with that. And I agree with shooting stuff into the air because I think you could learn all kinds of cool stuff. But why there isn’t a foot race among the billionaire class to come up with solutions to a build a sustainable economy for those people getting creamed by this in the short term so that you can build economic strength to get through the social distancing. B why there isn’t some great race to find some of the solutions that would take care of the medical problem. That all seems super confusing to me. But then what?
S1: I have serious.
S17: What I hold on to it. The final thing is it is a quote I saw somewhere actually on a Twitter account that was attacking me for something once. Was that great to be great? You have to disappear, which is my hope is that there is somebody somewhere who isn’t offering a thousand hot takes on Twitter, who is quietly doing the diligent, focused work that we all know is responsible to get actual achievements in life and that they are coming up with the solution and that the fact we haven’t heard from them is actually proof that they are on the way to the promised land.
S3: Slate Plus members get bonus segments on the gab fest and other Slate podcast. Today, we’re going to just talk about the weirdest insider realization that we’ve had during social distancing. And I don’t even know. And we’ll see. Maybe it’ll work. Maybe it won’t go to slate.com. Sized Gap has plus to become a member today.
S18: The Senate passed last night by a unanimous vote, I believe a mammoth stimulus bill, the largest bill, I think, in the history of the world of any sort, 2 trillion dollars in emergency spending. Essentially, what they’re proposing to do is put the economy in a medically induced coma, to give the economy give everyone a chance to stabilize. To put money in most people’s pockets or many people’s pockets to insure a lot of people that their jobs are still going to be there to reduce the pain of unemployment for those millions of people, 3.3 million alone and last week who are filing for unemployment so that when we can get back to the economy, to real economic activity, to real commerce and real connection and activity, we are able to do it in a an economy that is able to function. So I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about this bill. I have a lot of thoughts, but I’m interested in your guys’s initial reaction.
S16: Is that is this bill enough? Is it the right thing? Is it taking the right approach to the catastrophe we face?
S1: John, go for it.
S17: I mean, it’s a it’s a you know, it’s a good stab. It’s a good start.
S19: It’s it’s, you know, increasing unemployment benefits. Getting the checks out there is good the payroll handling for small businesses really important, which is to say you can keep paying people if you’re a small business. A friend of mine who is intimately involved and one was was really on the edge of his seat waiting to find out if there was gonna be this relief. And in his voice, hearing the fear, if it was this wasn’t going to be addressed was was real. And so in the passage of the bill, I kind of hear that fear abating. I mean, I haven’t talked to him since last night, but so I think that it is taking care of of lots of.
S20: People and we saw on Thursday the unemployment claims there were 3.3 million unemployment claims, so I’m interested what becomes of Lindsey Graham’s argument that this might induce some businesses to to actually let workers go because they know there will be a bit of a safety net? I don’t know.
S19: It’ll be interesting to watch the behavioral economy economics of how this ball bounces. But I think there’s like basically they should start working on the next bill immediately because they’re already thinking about how to, you know, with this these crazy ideas about Easter from the president. There are going to be waves and waves of assistance needed. And so they should start working on the next set of issues because this is just temporary and fast.
S16: Yeah, I think it’s a pretty good bill. I think given the circumstances a what you say, certainly the end is true, John, that this is a bill that gets to month. It’s two, two and a half, three months of of time that it’s going to buy. It does not buy time to the end of the year, but it really does support lots of people in important ways for three months. I think the small business piece that you point to, which is the one that I focused on most, is absolutely critical. It’s the way it is going to be. The difference for most of the small businesses in this country to be able to get through the coming weeks, they will be able to meet payroll. They’ll be able to keep most of their employees employed in some fashion, even though there will be no economic activity. And so obviously, there you could fight all the live long day about different ways to do it. It’s certainly the big corporations are getting big handouts, big, big loans from this. But given the time pressure, given the circumstances, I think it’s pretty good. I think it’s pretty good. And and they will have to go back to the table in two months to do the same thing if if we remain as frozen as we were. I do keep coming back to this medically induced coma idea that they’re just economic activity is not possible right now. And so the most of the things that most of us do to earn our living are not possible. People don’t have money to pay for it. They can’t pay for it. They can’t do it. And so only the essential functions of health care activities, the food production, the production of toilet paper should continue. And those folks are going to carry the burden for the rest of us for some months. And then this is going to give the hundreds of millions who are not involved in those particularly essential activities, the security they know that they can that they will have the ability to pay for their food and the ability to get food. And that’s the most important thing. And then we’ll be able to return to something closer to normal when this eases. So I I rarely say a nice thing about Congress. This does not seem like a terrible bill to me.
S12: How concerned should we be about the handouts to the big corporations? Initially, Elizabeth Warren, for one, had this list of, you know, eight conditions she wanted to place on. It seems to me like maybe half or one of those conditions got met. There is an oversight board. So this notion that Steve Manoogian, our treasury secretary, was just going to be able to give out the money, we wouldn’t know who got it for six months like that is gone. And that seemed like an important change. The Democrats won, but I still have misgivings about the degree to which this is this giant corporate bail out. And we’re just sort of accepting this because the other parts of the bill felt so necessary, like should the Democrats have stripped out that part or are or am I exaggerating? Are there more constraints than I can see?
S16: I don’t think they’re more constraints than you can see. I think it’s a giant corporate bailout. And the government the Fed’s got very little in return. And that’s a function of the fact that huge corporations are, though, the most influential lobby. In the world, and huge American corporations have enormous power in Congress and they were able to shape this bill largely on terms that they want. Yeah, and that’s a problem. But it’s not it’s not the end of the way.
S19: Also, I mean, I think there are three other things that are a part of the conversation.
S20: One is and they also employ a lot of people and it’s important for them to to exist, which doesn’t undermine what David’s saying. It’s additive. The second thing is that the oversight question is interesting to me and I haven’t looked at the bill because it goes on forever enough to figure this out. But when I talked to Steve Rattner, who helped the Obama administration with the car bailout, one of the things he said about the Troubled Asset Relief Plan is that the money that was in that that they use to help rescue the car auto industry lacked a lot of the traditional strings that are required in dealing with Congress and that it was that freedom of movement that allowed them to actually be more effective in his argument. Now, there are lots of people who will who will push back against that for a bunch of different ways. But my only point is, is to make the case that that his argument was basically the only way they could have fixed the car companies if they had had the traditional the traditional oversight from Congress would have been to basically let one of the car companies fail the way Lehman did and then have everybody emerge, issue a bunch of emergency money. So what will be interesting to see is obviously there will be abuses of of even the limited oversight there is now. But how you’ve reached that sweet spot between having the freedom to move and act in an emergency situation and oversight is always one of these challenges with this with these issues. And it’s why when you look at administrations not to get on my hobbyhorse, but when you look at administrations, that’s why you want to know who’s in them at all the lower levels, because they’re the ones who are going to have a new Irma’s power in these kinds of emergency instances. And so, you know, that will just be something interesting to watch. And then the final thing is it’s interesting. Manoogian is one of the few people in the Trump administration who’s been around for a while, and I wonder how much that actually help them. Finally, after lots of bickering and back and forth actually helped in getting at least he knew who the players were. One of the things we’re seeing in the rest of this disaster is that you had a lot of temporary people in positions. They didn’t know what they were doing, and that caused all kinds of systemic problems. I wonder if there was any benefit, whatever you may think of Steve Manoogian, positive or negative to the fact that he’s actually just been around and has some kind of working relationship with the White House and the leaders in Congress.
S12: Does he go back to what you were saying about Rattner’s point? I have no idea how true that is. But even if you accept it for a minute, that’s like a front end issue about oversight. What is bothering me is the notion that we’re not going to get this money back at the end that like the corporations are. Yes, of course, we don’t want them to lay off tons of people. I’m all for that. But why can’t the American people get some of those profits back in the end, if that’s indeed what this ends up yielding their loans?
S15: So, yeah.
S12: But I mean, they won’t get about more than just getting paid back for a loan would like.
S17: What do you mean?
S12: Well, like equity in the companies like some sense that there is actually some larger transfer of corporate wealth at this moment of tremendous inequality rather than simple acceptance of the idea that, you know, it’s the ultimate shareholder value of the companies that is going to come out is so important. I mean, maybe I’m mixing up my own frustration with how obsessed President Trump is with the stock market, which seems fairly irrelevant to me right now.
S16: Well, I actually think there’s a really interesting point there, Emily, which is that there’s two metonymy is here that keep getting us screwed. One, metonymy is mistaking the stock market for the economy. The other is mistaking the economy for life. And there’s this this way in which so much of what this debate in Washington has been about, like getting the economy back and what Trump talks about, getting the economy going. Trump wants it to get the stock market up. But really, the economy is just a measure of of human well-being. It’s like a it’s a bad measure of human well-being and human activity. And we could all live in a country which had a really terrible economy but be much happier and more prosperous because of other other factors. And and so I I just worry in general about using the economy as the barometer for anything right now, much less the stock market.
S20: Well, I think what you’re putting your finger on is something that I’m obsessed with, which is the the short and long term emergency measures here that we have to take. And in one sense, when there’s an emergency on I’m I’m okay with dropping, you know, not inserting provisions of. Having clean airline fuel and lots of other things that might be worthy, but at the moment are an obstacle to getting fast relief to people who are out of a job and have no idea where their next paycheck is going to come from. So I think in the short term you have those kinds of issues which should be focused on the larger term question is the one you’re talking about, David, which is this weird mixing that is a part of the underlying problem? And that, I think is the source of some of your frustration, Emily, which is this should cause a gargantuan case of near mis learning, which is, you know, when you fall asleep at the wheel and almost hit the oncoming semi-truck, you don’t keep driving or you don’t make it a pattern in your life to drive when you’re really, really tired. You say, I’m going to set up my life in such a way that I’m not going to be asleep at the wheel and liable to get hit by a semi-truck again. The near-miss learning that should engage here about the inequities in the economy, the inequities in the health care system, the way we talk about the economy. To your point, David, which is that we should stop talking about it disturbs it. The stock market. There are a series of global questions. The way we think about the presidency and the way we look to it for solutions when in fact we should look to the local level. All of that near Miss Learning should take place. And the challenge is if you bring it up now. There’s too many big, complicated things to talk about. If you bring it up too late, you won’t have the thrust of the disaster to prompt you. And finding that right spot is is one of the challenges because those huge issues are being laid bare by this moment.
S16: Let’s leave it there. I will. I want to end with the irony, of course, that in an emergency, everyone is a Keynesian and everyone’s a socialist, an emergency. All these all these conservatives are like, yeah, bring it on. Fun the hell out of it, whatever it is.
S21: Print the money.
S6: Now we’re joined by another Yale professor. How many Yale professors can we have on a single gab fest? It is David Blight who is America’s greatest historian of the Civil War and Reconstruction, at least in my book.
S4: And he is also the author of a biography of Frederick Douglass that came out last year or the year before. Maybe even this year. But it won all the prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize, as Emily just pointed out to me. And he has a piece in the Atlantic this week about how crisis makes Americans reconnect to government or we’ll dig into that a little bit more. I wanted to talk to David because I think he writes so well and talks so well about how Americans lived during the civil war and what their response to that catastrophe was. And I thought he might have wonderful, interesting things to say about how we should see the catastrophe that’s unfolding for us. So, David, welcome back to the Gabfest.
S22: Thank you very much. Good. Good to hear or see, everybody.
S13: We’ll get to your Atlantic piece in a moment.
S4: I wanted to start because, as I said, I always love listening to you talk about what America was like during the civil war and during reconstruction, during what was at the time the greatest catastrophe ever to befall the country. And I wonder, when you look back at that time and then look at what we’re facing today, a very different kind of catastrophe, obviously. But what in how Americans responded to civil war and reconstruction? Do you think we can learn from and what can we not learn from?
S22: Well, by 1861, every American north, south, east or west underwent a kind of shock from events, and they were cascading events. Secession had never happened before. What did it mean? Nobody quite knew. What did it mean to call for? Volunteer soldiers first seventy five thousand by Lincoln. Then many, many, many more armies being forged out of militias in the South. There was at first a widespread belief that it would simply be a short war. That, of course, did not turn out to be the case for Americans. It was a it was an enveloping process. I mean, throughout the summer of 1861, the first major battles are fought, but it was really into the winter of 1860, 162, and then the spring of 1862 that the full force of the scale of this war took over a society. Took over families with hundreds of thousands of young men enlisting most enlisted. The draft didn’t come until later in 62. And then two over the economy took over the government. Pretty soon, Americans were experiencing that word. We’re hearing every day now, all sorts of unprecedented phenomena, elements of life they had never experienced before. Relationships to government they had never experienced before. A militarization of society they had never experienced before. And over night in historical time, this conflict that seemed to be about something limited. And everybody did want to keep it limited. That is the leadership on both sides. The Confederacy and the Union government did not remain limited within the year 1862. This would become a war that was all out, that was totalizing, that was utterly socially mobilizing, and that was very soon for ends and aims that would transform American society. And the biggest in the name of that, of course, was the emancipation of slaves. So within a year to a year and a half, this build up that they’d undergone now for two and three decades toward a conflict over the existence of slavery, the expansion of slavery, the political meanings of slavery had suddenly blown up into war that in some ways most people did not want. But here they were. And overnight, American families were losing two sons, a husband, many members of their families. And this war would become within a year. Certainly two years. A shock also to the culture in two ways. People had learned how to deal with death to the spiritual tools they had to cope with suffering with ideas of loss. The war would start producing a whole new kind of music, a whole new kind of poetry, a whole new kind of. Thinking about values, men, young men would undergo transformations of their own values. Manhood was supposed to mean that you could go and encounter your fellow man with your individual courage, your individual mettle. Turns out in modern warfare, your individual will means next to nothing. You could not protect yourself. You could not protect the guy next to you. You had no control over your own fate. This becomes a shock to systems of thinking. Systems of coping. Ideas about the proper relationship of individuals to their society and individuals to their governments. So it’s it’s a it’s a total social shock of a war that became so large that it eventually would slaughter close to seven hundred and fifty thousand people.
S12: David, in your Atlantic piece, you wrote about Lincoln and his leadership and then you also write about Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the way in which people’s relationship and expectations of the government changed in the wake of the depression as Roosevelt is pushing for the New Deal. And there is a quote that you used from an FDR fireside chat in 1935. The old reliance upon the free action of individual wills appears quite inadequate. The intervention of that organized control we called government seems necessary. So read another moment where we desperately need the government. We needed to lead. We need organization. We need just like simple or not simple, but centralized logistics to get all the equipment we need from one place to another. And, you know, obviously, Donald Trump is a very different kind of president, but we’re at this moment where we really need the federal government to be playing this larger role. And one thing I’ve been struggling with as I’ve been watching these press conferences is what it’s like when you have such profound doubts about your central government in your leadership at this moment. I mean, Trump himself, but then also the apparent failures of some parts of the government. I would single out the CDC, perhaps Centers for Disease Control in preparing for this pandemic. And I just wonder, as you look back on FDR and on Lincoln, how you think about those struggles that the country is going through.
S23: I love the question. I’m glad you read that quote. Let’s take up first that idea of the individual. I mean, is there a deeper idea, deeper myths in the anthropological sense in American culture than this faith we have in individualism? You can’t kill it no matter what, whether it comes from Emerson and the Romantics or whether it comes from cowboy legends or whatever.
S22: You just can’t kill it. And we we still have this notion that somehow we can all be self-made. We can we can all save ourselves if we get into the right gated community or if we have enough wealth or if we have enough education. Turns out. In a crisis like this. We’re terrified as individuals. And that’s exactly what Roosevelt was saying there. And that nineteen thirty four or thirty five fireside chat that in fact even referred to it as the 19th century idea of a frontier. He said his idea of the American going out and conquering and solving the dilemmas of the frontier on their own as individuals, hardy men, it just didn’t fit the modern world anymore. In fact, it hadn’t fit the age of industrialization and urbanization for many, many, many decades. And suddenly the depression threw everybody back under their own wits, and their own wits were not adequate for anything. So where do you turn your turn to government? Well, that’s exactly what happened in the civil war. It’s present in its right. And in fact, one of Roosevelt’s favorite quotes was that quote by Abraham Lincoln, where he said that the purpose of government is to aid human beings in what they cannot do for themselves. That’s a paraphrase. Lincoln said it better as usual. And in the Civil War, suddenly people start capitalizing the word government. People started talking about the government as something that would help them, save them, preserve their society, preserve their constitution, act as a kind of a shield, most Americans until 1860 61 had never experienced the federal government except largely through the post office. There was no federal taxation, there really were no federal agencies that engaged in people’s lives. There certainly were overnight when the war came. So what we’ve got here and then the reason I wrote that piece is because I was like you, Emily. I was just struggling to have something to say in the midst of. I guess those press conferences or anywhere right now and it’s just all over our discourse now. It’s everywhere. People are wondering what’s the role of government? What can government do? What is government doing? Why isn’t what it’s doing adequate in a desperate kind of language? Now we’re asking what governments can do. Necessity always invokes government. Where do modern people turn when they cannot do for themselves what they most desperately need? For two centuries, they have turned to government. And as much as this society still has millions of people who don’t trust government, don’t like government, want government out of their lives, don’t like taxation.
S24: Right now, everyone is desperate to understand how is government going to save us.
S5: And picking up on that, David, before I even knew we had you to talk to, I was thinking about something you said last summer when I talked to you about your book on Frederick Douglass. And we expanded the conversation a little bit more. And you base it and you said we were talking about why you study history, which is also one of the things you recommend while people are in lockdown. And you said, you know, we forget was a good idea.
S17: You said that we forget about it. And then every once in a while, history reasserts itself and just sort of bites us in the backside. And you talk about necessity of the moment, but your larger case seems to me to be, you know what, this keeps happening because this is the way the ball bounces in the human experience. And maybe we should know from studying history, either whether it’s Lincoln or FDR. That big existential surprise, things that nobody knew were going to come that week. They might have known it was gonna come someday. They happen. And given that. So can you pick up on that idea? Basically that one of the reasons that we read history is not just for the specific excitement of the moment, but also because of that more enduring idea that emergency’s always happen. And hey, maybe we should do something more than a late night vote in the higgledy piggledy of the moment.
S23: Yeah, well, a beautifully put, John. You know, none of us should take any particular high ground in this. I mean, who predicted the end of the Cold War in 89 when it suddenly happened? Who predicted 9/11? Well, you know, we can find that the CIA had been working on that.
S22: And of course, we know more now. You know, Pearl Harbor happened in a shock to the country, but we knew something about what the Japanese were doing in the Pacific, too. But there are many, many cases of this in history. And every time it happens, we are shocked. For good reason. You know, even 9/11 was not unprecedented. Everybody kept saying that was unprecedented, unprecedented, unprecedented. No, it wasn’t. And we’d been slaughtering civilians. Our business, the Trojan War. I mean, so I don’t know. There’s no silver bullet on any of this. But history is that thing we have to draw on if we can take the time to read it, that prepares us. It doesn’t protect us, but it does prepare us for the shocks to come. And if we think somehow that history, because we live in America, is somehow on a course of progress and somehow always going to get better, then we’re kidding ourselves. No, it isn’t. These things are just going to keep happening. One of my favorite things ever written on this is it’s a little short section and a book by Mark BLOCK. Mark BLOCK was the great French historian killed in the Holocaust by the Nazis. But while he was in hiding in the French Resistance. And moving from farmhouse to farmhouse, he managed to write most of the manuscript. This is so moving I almost break up every time I tell the story. He managed to write most of the manuscript of his book called The Craft of History. And in that book, which has many, many important elements, he makes a profound case of how the past and the present are all with his hand and blood. They’re always inter-related, even when we don’t know it. Even when we don’t think so. He calls it the solidarity of ages. Past and present are all mingled, and the past is always waiting to come get you in the present now. Who wouldn’t? Who would know any better than Martin BLOCK sitting in some farmhouse hiding from the Nazis, trying to write about the meaning and uses of history, for God’s sake? No doubt it probably calmed him until they caught him and shot him with a firing squad. History shocks us in right now. This one, frankly, we don’t really know what the analogy is, do we? Analogies are flying around now like like air. There are probably more analogies than there are virus. That’s a bad joke. But everyone was looking for the right. And as this Pearl Harbor, it’s the same thing we did with 9/11. But in some ways, 9/11 was a little easier. It was a military attack. We knew what to compare it to. Do you compare this to. I guess the 1918 epidemic. But we’ve never shut down the entire economy, which never closed off all transportation. New York City’s never had empty streets, even in a blizzard. I mean, it’s just never happened. So, you know, we don’t know how to prepare for this. About well, we did not prepare for this and didn’t in certain practical ways, but how to prepare ourselves emotionally, philosophically, spiritually. Right now we’re adrift.
S13: David, the period politically that we’re in has been marked by incredible division, just a country that’s that’s as divided as certainly any it’s ever been in my lifetime. When you look at what’s starting to happen and the government response to the crisis, do you think there’s any reason to hope that we come out of this less divided, or are the ways in which were divided more likely to be reinforced by what happens during this?
S22: Well, God only knows. But it depends on how long this lasts. It depends on deep how deep the suffering is. I think our models for this is what probably happened to politics in the 30s. And politics in the year of the Civil War, I always tell my students, if you are really yearning. For a political realignment in America, I mean, a fundamental realignment like new parties that actually work and develop new coalitions. And last.
S21: You got two great models, the 1850s and 1860s, the birth of the Republican Party, which completely reshapes American politics. With a whole new coalition and you’ve got the 1930s, which completely reshaped American politics and the Democratic Party. Not overnight because its roots are in progressivism, but the Democratic Party becomes the party of a new kind of liberalism, New Deal policy.
S22: The Republican Party at that time increasingly becomes the Conservative Party of big business. Those are your two really big realignments in American history. So take your pick. You can have it with the Civil War. You can have it with the Great Depression. That’s pretty depressing when you think about it. But who knows what this kind of crisis could do. The irony here or the power of this is that it has everybody talking about existential issues, how we’re going to feed people, how we’re going to save our our our medical people, the nurses and the doctors who are now risking their lives every day. How are we gonna ever revive the economy out of this? All of those are questions everybody has to ask, but it’s going to be a turbulent road.
S17: David, what do you pick? You’ve talked about Lincoln and FDR. So do you have a template again, given everything you’ve just said about politics today? For. How people got through, I mean, FDR comes in in 32. It’s been since twenty six, they’ve had to endure lots of uncertainty and lots of. And the leaders and the people, the leaders in particular, both of those guys where, you know, it was said that they had this great negative capability, that they could live in the uncertainty and not go stabbing after solutions. On the other hand, they took great actions, amazing historic actions. Can you talk a little bit about that combination of attributes in the leader, but then also in the people? How did people live through and perhaps they just were used to it in a life where you didn’t have instantaneous everything the way we do now, but live through the uncertainty and the just existential. When’s this ever and how is this ever going to get better?
S23: Well, on the latter question, John, a lot of them didn’t.
S22: Let’s remember the civil war. Civil war killed a lot of people, maimed many more left, families ruined. We have to face that. And we need we need a very strong sense of authentic tragedy to understand that. But back to leadership, it is worth understanding here. And just a quick sense that link net, neither Lincoln nor Roosevelt had it all figured out.
S21: Both of them had very crooked roads. Lincoln had a crooked road to his moment of greatness with emancipation and his various moments of greatness with this passion to save the union no matter what.
S22: The Lincoln of 1858 debating Stephen Douglas on the question of slavery is not the same Lincoln of the summer of 1863, or certainly of 64, when he is so concerned to free as many slaves as possible before the election that fall in case he doesn’t win. Roosevelt had a very crooked path to the ideas of the New Deal. He was spewing all kinds of contradictions. You know, when he was governor of New York and when you even when he was running 30 to no one quite knew what Roosevelt meant until you kind of got it clear in the campaign. And then in thirty three, he kind of got it down that, look, we’ve got to revolutionize the way we use government to save. Society to save employment, to save the human spirit. And we got to have a whole new imagination. He says we need to we need a whole change in our values. But it took time, was a very crooked path, and we shouldn’t be looking for the silver bullet leader who just got this figured out. Let’s do this.
S21: Frankly, what we need now are brilliant, energetic and I believe.
S22: People infused with humility to practice. William James’s style of pragmatism. And know it might sound too philosophical for people, but all that really means is check your absolutes at the door. Learn from your mistakes. Test your ideas and do what works best on how people got through it. I can’t. You know, I was raised by two parents who were so totally infused, all they could ever talk about was the Depression and World War Two. My dad constantly lectured us on never getting too much insurance. Know where your money is. And my mother could never stop talking about certain markers in her life. Pearl Harbour and this event in World War Two and so forth and so on. They were infused by that and the coping mechanisms in their lives. My mother’s fatalism, I always attributed to the fact that she came of age in the depression. She was so fatalistic, I guess. And you should choose to drive me crazy. Oh, it wasn’t meant to be, she would say. And here I am trying to be a historian. Historians can’t say it wasn’t meant to be. We have to explain things. For God sakes. And I used to I love my my mother’s greatest woman I’ve ever known. But God, I used to argue with it. But they learned a certain kind. Of course, they had years, as you were suggesting, the development years to develop this. I don’t know where we are now. I’m not a moral philosopher, I just do history. But, you know, we’re going to need coping mechanisms that come from our spiritual lives, our intellectual lives and our sense of moral imagination. It’s what we always need. And, you know, it’s interesting to me right now how many friends are sending around poetry. A good friend of mine, a former colleague of mine who’s now in Europe, sent me a poem by Bertolt Brecht this morning. I sent to my students and my Angiulo poems. Wow. People are reading poetry every day. That’s a good thing. Oh, good luck to us all.
S16: David Blight is a professor of history at Yale. David, thank you so much for joining us. Stay safe. We hope we’ll Tombo soon.
S4: Thanks, everybody. Take care. So let’s go to cocktail chatter. When you are sitting with your hopefully with with a loved one, or if you’re sitting on Xoom having a asume cocktail hour, Google Hangout cocktail hour with friends, what you’ll be chattering about.
S25: Emily my chatter this week is entirely frivolous and perhaps the entire Internet. Well, I’ve seen these videos before. I share them. But I’m going to do so anyway. There is, I think, a Fox Sports commentator named Joe Buck who has been touring these wonderful, very short videos in which he does like his full on professional sports, commentating for two dogs, having a tug of war over a stick or a mom trying to comfort a kid. It seems like he is willing to do this with any short video you send him as long as you’re willing to make any kind of charitable contribution in return. So if you go to his Twitter feed, which is just at Buck, you’ll see this.
S1: I thought very funny series of whimsical videos. I especially enjoyed the ones of the two dogs fighting over the stick. Anyway, go have your moment of Internet video freedom.
S15: Joe Buck is actually borrowing that from a British sports announcer who who’s speaking was interviewed on hang up and listen this week. John, what’s your chatter?
S17: My chatter is very brief. It’s just a lunch poems by Frank O’Hara.
S19: This is along the lines of what David Blight was talking about. I think we’re all returning to our. I don’t know, different sources of things. And in part also because my writing schedule has let up a little bit. I’ve had a little bit more time. And those lunch poems are sort of perfect because there’s quite short, but they’re very evocative and very rich. And Frank O’Hara wrote them while he was working at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. And so many of them were written at lunch or at a cafe or anyway. So I recommend them because they’re they’re nice, tidy, short poems that are powerful. But then I also recommend just finding some very transporting a little piece of writing to interrupt your day because it it does take you out of the moment. And I successfully resisted Twitter for two straight days here in this week and found that also to be quite healthy. And so I would pair that with this with your Frank O’Hara poems.
S16: My chatter is a piece that has nothing to do with the crisis that I saw that came from Jessi Azinger and James Bandler and the folks at ProPublica, which they released this week, is a shocking, shocking story of malfeasance by Wal-Mart and by the Trump administration.
S26: And it’s an investigation of how Wal-Mart abetted opioid pill mills. And several years ago, pharmacists at Wal-Mart. According to this investigation, pharmacists at Wal-Mart identified bad prescription practices within the company that they were allowing certain doctors to prescribe tons and tons of pills under suspicious circumstances. And they brought this to the attention of the company and the company. And the senior leadership essentially did nothing. Then some federal prosecutors, U.S. attorneys appointed by Republicans, including, I think appointed by Trump, heard of this and thought and the DEA, the head of the DEA, heard of this and said this is a case for criminal prosecution. Let’s look at a criminal prosecution of Wal-Mart. And they started to investigate that and the Trump administration shut it down. Rod Rosenstein at the Department of Justice helped make sure that investigation went nowhere when. Later, these prosecutors tried to criminally prosecute individual Wal-Mart employees. That, too, was shut down.
S3: And it’s a it’s a deplorable story. So good work. But ProPublica, at a time when people are focused on something else, we see ways in which the Trump administration is perhaps letting letting a malfeasant company get off scot free when it was doing some bad things. Listeners, you have sent us really nice chatters again this week. Please keep tweeting them to us at at Slate Gab Fest, many inspirational ones. And Kenneth Dudley sent us a Twitter thread from an McClaine who’s an astronaut and an McClaine. The astronaut has a great Twitter thread, which was then transformed into an article about how to live in confined spaces and not go crazy. And since we’re all living in confined spaces and trying not go crazy, I recommend it to how you can be patient and respectful, how you can watch out for stress and fatigue, how you can encourage participation in positive relationships. That’s really good. So check that out. If you enjoyed this show, please subscribe to the gabfest on whatever podcast. Vehicle you’re listening to us on, you’ll get new episodes the second they come out. That is our show for today. The Capitol is produced by Jocelyn Frank. Our researcher is Bridget Dunlap.
S2: We all engineered ourselves in our own homes. Congratulations to us for Emily Bazelon and John DICKERSON and David Plotz. Thanks for listening. We will talk to you next week.
S27: Hello, Slate, plus, how are you?
S28: How are you? How are you guys? You guys still doing nice? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Just wondering.
S15: Just felt like talking into the void for a bit there anyway. So for Slate plus, here is my proposal.
S3: This shutdown, this social distancing is so odd, so many strange experiences. It’s so weird to run through life. And I just wanted to. After, you know, 10 whatever days of this, 14 days of it, 10 days of it, I am interested in you. Whether you guys have any particular observations about it. Any strange experiences, any points that you want to make? I can go first since you go first. It’s my with my bad idea, I think, for me. So I’ve been doing a lot of walking. I believe that the outdoor outdoor walks in nature are very curative and restful and good for you. And that’s been weirdly one of the very few joys of this dark period. And going on walks with family. And one of the things that I’ve just noticed is that I’ve no notice like noticing all these things which I haven’t noticed before. And I’ve been on trails in Rock Creek Park that I’ve never seen and seen parts of the city that I’d never seen and noticed things. There’s a trail. I walk almost every day just outside my house and noticed the different ways that birds use it to notice the different way the the trees next to it grow and noticed more things about the stream that I’d never noticed before. And it’s I think that when you travel the world as you and you, John, and you, Emily and I have all done, I think you tend to tend to get a very quick gloss on something rather than digging deep into a particular place. And it’s been one of the few benefits of this is to feel that I’m digging deeper into the place that I know and the place that’s my home. And that’s that’s nice to get a deeper knowledge of a place that’s around the corner for me. I’ve welcomed that.
S12: I love that. I mean, I think there is a way in which when you simplify and shrink your life, then the small things loom larger. And that’s a good thing. And it can also just be like looking out the window and noticing a bird. And I’m enjoying that part of this eye. Maybe this is a similar idea, but I’ve also just been noticing and thinking a lot about the enormously important work that people who are like relatively unsung and underpaid in our world do. So the clerks at the grocery store, grocery clerks, all my grocery caricaturist right now, and I was out for a run this morning and there were the sanitation workers like at their garbage trucks, as usual, collecting all of our garbage. And thank God. I mean, what would happen if they weren’t there? There are so many ways in which the reason that we can stay home, if that’s our job right now, is because other people are still doing these essential jobs. And I just hope we don’t forget how important they are. And I feel like they all deserve a big raise right now.
S19: Yeah, I that last point is I find particularly powerful, which kind of combines a little bit of the way David has been talking, because when you walk in the world, as I haven’t been doing much for the last two weeks now, I mean, I go running and then I see lots of people not social distancing. And so that that bums me out. But when you go when we walk to the market, which we’ve been doing very late at night, because it’s less you know, it’s less crowded. My eyes and the way I look at things, I guess I’m much you know, you’re just much more aware of every possible saying, are you keeping six feet? And in New York, your you know, the the people who are on the street behaving erratically, which is a normal state of play here, is a little bit more worrying now. So you’re your evaluative process is a lot more attuned. And so when you see the checkout clerks or the people stocking the shelves or all, which is all the people that you pass who are out having to work and do their jobs, I had this feeling I used to have this feeling when I would go to work at 5:00 in the morning, you know, the people who are up and working at 5:00 in the morning are the people whose jobs are the hardest. You know, the sanitation workers, the cops, the the nurses and doctors going on shifts. And I was always conscious of that, the delivery people before the stores open. And now I’m even more conscious of that. And this is one of the ways in which that near Miss Learning I was talking about earlier is also at play, which is these people won’t be any less important to after this all get solved. And the solution carries with it a possible diversionary problem, which is that everybody just forgets. And so one of the jobs, it seems to me, in the aftermath is not forgetting. Reorienting both our mindfulness as human beings on the planet, but also our public policy to value all of these people. And now I’m basically saying anybody who has to work during these periods value all of them in the way they should be valued, not in the way they’ve been potentially discounted by our love. Are, you know, comfortable lives?
S4: Wise words from both of you. So let’s end it there by Slate Plus. Talk to next week.