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.