Saturday, May 23, 2020

Oppositional Defiant Disorder Is One Hell of a Pandemic Response

Tengrain is a must-read. He brings the facts, the funny, and the fury in equal measure... and he has always been unfailingly supportive of smaller bloggers. He put a post up today summarizing a Washington Post newsletter about the pandemic:

The virus is still spreading at epidemic rates in nearly half of U.S. states, with Texas at the top of the list, according to a study by Imperial College London. “There’s evidence that the U.S. is not under control, as an entire country,” Samir Bhatt, a senior lecturer in geostatistics at the college, told The Post.

There’s good news, too: The study found that the virus’s spread has slowed to a trickle in some states. But the numbers look grim across much of the South and Midwest.

I have come to the conclusion that America's greatest misfortune in the course of this pandemic is that it began in largely liberal areas. The Red Staters say experts like Dr Fauci and governors like Andrew Cuomo advocate social distancing and mask wearing, and a certain Oppositional Defiant Disorder kicked in... because these liberal 'foes' are advocating these policies, they have become Culture War issues. Not wearing masks and clustering around, both contagion-conducive behaviors, are done to 'own the libs', and that is pretty much the only position these people have anymore. It's not even about personal freedom- these people don't believe that others should be wearing masks, to the extent that they have been harassing and even assaulting reporters who wear masks.

I don't usually indulge in counterfactuals, but in this case, I wonder what a hypothetical pandemic that started off in a solidly Republican -led state, such as Georgia or Texas, would have looked like. If Brian Kemp had been the early public face of gubernatorial responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, would a culture war around simple transmission mitigation efforts have been launched?

Right now, much the country is in 'hot stove touching' mode... New York state should have served as a cautionary tale, the outbreak hit before the pathogen was understood (it's still not sufficiently understood) and the early response was incoherent to a deadly extent. We learned our lessons the hard way, and the spread of the pandemic has slowed. Right-wingers took exactly the wrong lesson from New York's COVID-19 trajectory, and they seem to be heading for a spectacular, tragic phase of this disaster. At least they will be able to claim that they 'owned the libs' as the body count mounts.


Anathema Device said...

I can't disagree with a word of this. I just wish it wasn't true.

If the USA isn't split into two or more separate countries within 20 years, I'll be surprised. (Actually, I could be dead, given my age, but let's be optimistic.) I just can't see anyway for it to work any longer in its present form. If Biden wins the next election, the Dems will not hold power for long because of the inevitable backlash (never seems to work like that for GOP, though), and the damage done by Trump and cronies will be magnified and accelerated.

There won't be anything left of the Constitution worth following because the norms and values which it depends on, are already vanishing. At that point, there will have to be a succession or a war. The majority of your population do not want to be ruled by the GOP, and the GOP have no intention of changing or surrendering gains already made.

And the 27% crazification factor plus the Trumpians will not ever see sense before everything is destroyed. But at least they'll die FREEEEEEEE!

Anonymous said...

Awesome post 4B, nailed it! I am in the south, a small "churchy" town, and I see it. Yesterday my neighbor held a big party, neighbor is elderly not in great health, as were most of the party-goers, none wearing masks. Being a bit of an unsocial misfit, I was not invited. I do my grocery shopping at a nearby larger college town where people are more likely to wear masks, and even there mask wearing seems less than 50%. They will only give up their virus if you pry it from their cold dead lungs.

Tengrain said...

B-4 -

Thanks for the shout-out!

It’s an interesting thought exercise, and while I like to think that it would result in a different outcome, I suspect it wouldn’t. It would turn into a different culture war/conspiracy theory that the coastal elites were exterminating them because we hated their something-or-other (probably a gun-grabbing or bible-burning).

Newt Gingrich really divided the country so long ago, and it’s never recovered.



Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

If Biden wins the next election, the Dems will not hold power for long because of the inevitable backlash (never seems to work like that for GOP, though), and the damage done by Trump and cronies will be magnified and accelerated.

I dunno, the GOP has done so much damage that they awakened the apathetic voter. The 2018 midterm elections had the largest turnout of any midterms. People voted as if their life depended on it, because they finally realized it did. I can't see a six-figure death toll being forgotten in the near-term future.

Awesome post 4B, nailed it!

Grazie! When I put two and two together, I usually get four.

Thanks for the shout-out!

Just returning years of favors, old chum!

StringOnAStick said...

I have a close friend with a son who has ODD, which has been an emotional horror show for 2 years now. She thought she was home free once he graduated and was set to go away to college this coming fall, then 'Rona happened. There's hope he still goes, for the entire family's sake.

It somehow makes it harder to have the national pathology playing out on an individual basis in your family, just like how tRump being elected sent me back into therapy because my father is a RW narcissist similar to tRump. I'm really hoping our next election let's us excuse a lot of toxic relationship crap from government, though I know it will require years of work. tRump 's "good blood lines" comment at his Ford plant campaign stop assured me that we'll be working on de-nazification for the foreseeable future.