How Do You Fight a Pandemic With a Mad King at the Helm?

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These are bleak times. In the middle of a historic pandemic we are about to give up the fight and commit collective suicide because we are ruled by a mad king. Everyone is out to get me, he broods late at night, fingers flashing over his smartphone. Nobody appreciates what I’ve done for them. The press hates me. The pandemic is a Democratic plot to turn people against me. A cure is just around the corner. They’re exaggerating the death rate to make me look bad. We don’t need more testing. What happened to my beautiful economy? Where are my rallies?

And while the mad king raves, his courtiers shuffle around not knowing what to do. Some enthusiastically support him. Some mutter to the press. Some try to ignore the madness around them and keep working.

And the rest of us sit around feeling helpless. We are on the cusp of needlessly killing tens of thousands because the mad king deems it so, and there’s nothing we can do about it. At times we begin to wonder if we’re the ones who are mad. Maybe we have beaten the pandemic. Maybe the death toll will keep going down. Maybe we really did overdo the whole social distancing thing.

No. We haven’t beaten the pandemic and we know it. But the mad king says we have, and his followers roar their approval. We are headed deep into the darkness, and we’re not doing it because we lost a battle that we fought to the last man. We’re doing it because we’re in thrall to a mad king who no longer belongs to the same world the rest of us live in and tells us that we are all honored warriors for dying in his cause.

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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