There has been much written and even more discussed about whether or not Americans of different political stripes are living in two alternate realities. It sometimes seems that way. If Democrats believe Biden won and Republicans such as those who marched on the Capitol think that Trump really won (74% of Republicans think Biden’s win is illegitimate), there are two realities and only one can be right.
The same is true about the coronavirus. Some think the virus is no worse than the flu, masks don’t work, the government cannot close bars, and vaccines are a fraud or to be feared. Others accept that covid-19 is a real and deadly consequence of the virus and that it has killed over 2 million people worldwide. Furthermore, the virus is a real threat to Americans, sick and dying people are overwhelming hospitals and morgues, and even once vaccination gets revved up, we will have to socially distance and wear masks until we arrive at herd immunity—probably in the fall and perhaps only for a brief period if vaccination against this coronavirus must be like that against the flu and be renewed every year.
The Swedish experiment with natural herd immunity has failed and there are lockdowns planned there. Herd immunity has not been reached in a highly infected state in Brazil despite a 76% infection rate. It looks like the only way to normal is the vaccine folks.
So what’s the truth?
The truth is that Donald Trump lost the fair and square election and should have conceded long ago, at least after the electoral college result was certified on December 14, 2020. That he did not and continued to rail against his loss was indirectly for sure and maybe directly the cause of the riot on Capitol Hill on January 6. This is not an opinion. These are facts.
It is also a fact that many people died from the coronavirus. Most of them were elderly or in nursing homes although some younger people did succumb. Masks do work (mild flu season now must be for some reason) as does social distancing and even after we get the vaccine in people’s arms, herd immunity may be months away.
I am writing this because I have many friends who do not accept some of these facts, but rather think they are opinions. Whether or not we should have damaged the economy as we did in response to the covid-19 illness can be an opinion. Maybe we should have just isolated the elderly, left the schools and restaurants open, and not discouraged mass meetings to drive us to herd immunity sooner a la Scott Atlas. That the virus is deadly, is not an opinion. That the virus has stressed some hospital systems is not an opinion either and the goal of all the initial maneuvers by the NIH, FDA and CDC was just to flatten the curve to allow health care delivery systems to manage the caseloads. No one ever said that masks were going to prevent all illness. But they help as many, many studies have now shown.
Recently, a study has been released that claims that the coronavirus impact has shortened the average life span of Americans.
Neither Mr. Biden’s win nor the deadliness of the coronavirus is a rumor. These are facts and people who disagree don’t get to make up their own alternate facts.
If Mr. Biden can somehow convince most Americans to live in one reality, he has done well indeed for the naysayers about the threat of the coronavirus and those certain that Mr. Trump was robbed cannot be allowed to take up our time when there are real challenges to be faced.
I am not sure when people got to choose their facts, but Kellyanne Conway certainly gave this selective reality system a push as did her boss.
What frightens me is that many otherwise sane Americans actually believe this nonsense. Of course two-thirds of Americans became convinced that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11 thanks to Dick Cheney and friends. He didn’t.
Those beliefs are getting in the way of progress. Let’s get back to one reality and one truth.