I Don’t Know How You Should Feel About the News, but I Know It Pertains to You

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Donald Trump has the coronavirus and as I was sitting down to write this, news broke that he is being moved to Walter Reed from the White House. I don’t really have much to add about this. It’s all so surreal. The president who downplayed the viral illness destroying his country and killing its citizens gets infected with said disease. We long ago left The West Wing territory and are now on the verge of entering Scandal territory. 

I hope he gets better. The coronavirus is awful and I hope he makes it out okay, despite my misgivings about his presidency and him as a person. My other hope is this: I hope the supporters of his who have refused to heed the dire warnings of scientists and medical professionals worldwide are shook by this. I hope they have a “come to Jesus” moment. 

Monika Bauerlein, our CEO, and David Corn, our Washington bureau chief, have much better thoughts that are far more interesting than that, and you should read both their posts. But I’ll ramble a bit more first.

There’s a scene in the David Rabe play Hurlyburly (which I’m now going to describe from memory because I can’t find a free copy of the script, so these quotes are probably not 100 percent accurate) where the main character has had a total meltdown, driven mad by drugs, loneliness, and cable news. He is rambling to himself when suddenly another character shows up and the main character tries to explain his conundrum.

“I don’t know what pertains to me and what doesn’t.”

“Everything pertains to you, Eddie. This is all part of the flow, of which, you know, we are a part. And everything pertains to everything, one way or another.”

“But there is death and destruction in the word! Axe murderers and plane crashes! How am I supposed to feel about that?”

“I don’t know,” she says. “But I was just saying that they all pertain to you.”

I’ve thought about that scene a bunch this year when we can all feel like that main character. I don’t have an answer. David Rabe didn’t either when he wrote the play. And that’s okay. There’s a famous Catholic quote that comes to mind: “I believe that the desire to please you,” the monk Thomas Merton prayed, “does in fact please you.”

Sometimes you can’t answer something, but the fact that you want to answer it is an answer in and of itself. 

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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