Why Americans Are Allergic to the Truth
Why us? Over the past few months, I’ve been watching us fall behind practically every other country on Earth in terms of Covid-19 prevention and thinking to myself, Why America? Why are we so vulnerable to misinformation that we have both citizens AND leaders who don’t just ignore the basic truths of the virus, but mock them outright? WHY ARE WE SO FUCKING STUPID?
Given that Donald Trump, a hopeless amateur, is our current president, people like me have had a good four years now to pore over that final question. Yesterday at The Atlantic, Ed Yong published a living autopsy of our pandemic response that highlights the glaring, inherent design flaws in our government, our health care system, our travel bans, our buildings, our prisons and nursing homes, and our wealth distribution that allowed the virus to have its way with us. Yong lays bare the full truth of the pandemic.
I have not been able to read all of it. And that’s because the truth sucks.
Instead of ingesting the truth, I would prefer to close my browser tab, grab a few crackers, pet my dog, look out my window, and pretend that the world beyond is doing just groovy. I don’t like looking at the news anymore, which is negligent because writing about the news is my job at this website. I don’t look at Twitter until AFTER breakfast, because I don’t want my day ruined before food has even passed my lips. Once, long ago, I found psychological catharsis in the truth: the final, healing acknowledgement of things that can no longer be denied. I have not felt such relief during all this. In this reality, there has been only pain, grief, and despair that has no perceptible end in sight.
If you wanna understand why Americans are so hopelessly addicted to lies, you need to understand the unceasing comfort those lies provide.
But that’s been true of America since well before the pandemic. We are a callow nation built on comfortable lies. You see Americans getting cozy with these lies constantly now. Columbus was the progenitor of Native American genocide? Well…