Jamelle Bouie writes:
More than a hundred thousand lives have been lost to the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States, and while individuals and families have certainly grieved for their loved ones, there has been almost nothing in the way of a public remembrance of the lives lost. No national address; no moment of silence or official recognition beyond the occasional tweet and the flying of flags at half-staff over the Memorial Day weekend. No sense from the president or his subordinates that these were untimely deaths — needless losses that ought to occasion collective mourning. There will be no speech like President Barack Obama’s in the wake of the Mother Emanuel shooting in Charleston; no address like President Ronald Reagan’s after the Challenger disaster....
The president’s indifference to collective mourning is of a piece with a political movement that denies our collective ties as well as the obligations we have to each other. If Trump represents a radical political solipsism, in which his is the only interest that exists, then it makes all the sense in the world that neither he nor his allies would see or even understand the need for public and collective mourning — an activity that heightens our vulnerability, centers our interconnectedness and stands as a challenge to the politics of selfishness and domination.
Republicans preach rugged individualism. Trump is perhaps the most narcissistic individual who ever lived. So, yes, it's not surprising that our narcissist Republican president is failing to lead us in collective mourning.
But why is conservatism "a political movement that denies our collective ties"? It's because some of us are black, Hispanic, female, LGBT, handicapped, formerly incarcerated ... Some of us, in other words, are members of groups that Republican voters -- who are overwhelmingly white, and mostly either male or male-identified -- are sick of being asked to feel empathy for. After a while, lack of empathy for anyone other than fellow members of the Volk becomes a habit. Conservative voters are ready to feel no compassion for any new group that's suffering -- even if it's fellow citizens dying from exposure to a virus that could easily strike them.
The virus could sicken any one of us, but Republicans are so accustomed to dividing the country into their people and the undeserving that they're doing it even with virus victims. It's a habit they can't (or won't) break, even now.
Posted with permission from No More Mr. Nice Blog