Donald Trump's strange way of thinking
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(CNN) "There is nothing either good or bad," Hamlet tells his old childhood buddies in Shakespeare's play, "but thinking makes it so." President Donald Trump borrowed that principle this week as he strove in vain to turn bad news about the coronavirus into some kind of positive, casting the fast-growing number of cases as a good thing -- evidence of success in expanding testing.
"We're doing so well after the plague," he told thousands of students at a rally in Arizona, where Covid-19 cases are spiraling up. "It's going away."
In reality, the number of new Covid-19 cases was increasing over the prior week's levels in more than 30 states by Friday. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a Congressional committee that Covid-19 has "brought this nation to its knees." Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gave this advice: "Plan A: Don't go in a crowd. Plan B: If you do, make sure you wear a mask."
As Dr.wrote, "The Covid-19 infection rate in the US is increasing at warp speed, alarming almost everyone outside the White House." Some states are following the CDC's guidance for a careful, phased reopening dependent on data. Others opened too soon, "wasting the weeks of tedious quarantine." They resembled "an athlete, after months of grueling rehab from an injury, returning too soon and ending up back at square one after re-injuring the same bone or joint," Sepkowitz wrote.
called the US "an outlier among nations, with more cases and more deaths than any nation in the world." Its people "make up just over 4% of the world's population, but about a quarter of global coronavirus deaths," she noted. "And yet we haven't reckoned with this massive, unmitigated public health failure ."
US travelers could be banned
Another worrying factor is that the age profile of Covid-19 victims has shifted significantly, with more than 60% of infections in the US now under 50.
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, many presidential candidates chose to conduct their campaigns from home rather than travel the country, begging for votes. "In those long-ago 'front porch' campaigns," wrote historian Thomas Balcerski, "the approach both accentuated candidates' likability through a folksy veneer and limited their liabilities by controlling the environment in which they appeared."
When the pandemic began, Trump and his Democratic rival, former vice president Joe Biden, were confined to the equivalent of their front porches, though not by choice.
At that rally, Trump said something that analyst David Axelrod, who was the strategist for Barack Obama's two winning presidential campaigns, found "unintentionally revealing." Trump conceded that Biden is "not radical left" -- although he charged that the left does control him.
More than four months before the election, national and state polls show a sharp shift in Biden's favor. Trump is underperforming among non-college white and evangelical voters, while suburban voters and people over 65 "give Biden the edge, and you can see the President's challenge," Axelrod wrote.
"Trump is responding by pushing all the buttons that worked for him as an outsider candidate in 2016," wrote Michael D'Antonio. "He indulges in stream-of-consciousness rants, like the one explaining his recent physical struggles at West Point. He pastes ugly nicknames on his opponents. And he continues to rail against immigration."
In Biden's camp, the big question is who he will choose as his running mate. He's pledged that he will pick a woman, a promise that resonated with Donna Zaccaro, a documentary filmmaker whose mother, Geraldine Ferraro, was chosen in 1984 as Walter Mondale's running mate -- the first woman to run on a major party ticket for VP.
Donald Trump can't say he wasn't warned about what would happen when he hired John Bolton as his national security adviser.
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Some people have tried to "delegitimize" the Black Lives Matter movement with the saying, "All Lives Matter," wrote Paxton K. Baker, one of the owners of the Washington Nationals. "If you've thought or said this out loud during this time, you are missing the bigger picture. Studies show that Black people, and primarily Black men, are killed by a rate of about 3 to 1 compared to whites by police officers annually."
Rev. Joanna Adams, a retired pastor in the Presbyterian Church, grew up in Mississippi in the 1950s, knowing no Black people other than the school janitor and the family's maid, Omera. Joanna's mother chastised her after she gave Omera a goodbye hug. She recalled the big event in her town, the springtime Calf Scramble Parade, which was brought to a halt one year when a float from the Black grammar school came by and spectators hurled the "n-word" and spat at one of the girls on it.
"Today, the statue is a blunt reminder that the founding of this country 400 years ago is the intertwined story of African slavery and the dispossession and genocide of Native America...Museums now have the chance to face their history and refuse the temptation to excuse outdated displays and collections of dubious provenance as the products of an earlier era," Raffles wrote.
Other statues are causing controversy. Getting rid of tributes to Confederate generals makes perfect sense, wrote John Avlon, noting that many were erected in the years after the Supreme Court ordered school desegregation in 1954, but other decisions are more complicated.
Then the pandemic hit -- and their plans got put on hold.
They're members of a generation hit by three soul-crushing crises: Covid-19, the steep recession and the national movement for racial justice. Every generation has faced deep disruption in the past four months, but it's been a particularly wrenching time for those whose careers and relationships were poised for change.
There is some good news, she added: "The generation that is feeling a particularly heavy blow from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic -- and now a month of protests against centuries of racial injustice -- is largely taking it in stride." Psychologist Jeffrey Arnett says people aged 18-25 are in "emerging adulthood" and vulnerable. Still, in "25 years of studying this age group, Arnett says he has noticed a phenomenon. Young people are often confident that whatever struggle they are facing now is temporary and will soon pass. Even young people who have little going for them seem to believe that they will eventually get what they want out of life."
The med school graduate, Rahimi, has rescheduled her wedding ceremony for May 2021 but unless there's a widely available vaccine, that date may have to change too. The champagne flutes she ordered for her bridesmaids were labeled with her original date, but she was able to peel those stickers off.
"These past months have revealed that we have very little true control in the face of nature -- and I'm learning that this is OK," Rahimi wrote. "No major life event pans out exactly as planned and, at the end of the day, I'm incredibly lucky to still be with my partner, who has provided immense patience and strength throughout the difficult weeks of quarantine."