How The Coronavirus Exposed The Country's Weaknesses | Morning Joe | MSNBCMay 01, 2020
Joining us now is Princeton University professor Eddie Glaude Jr. and best-selling author and Atlantic staff writer George Packer George comes out with a new article titled We're Living in a Failed State The Coronavirus Didn't Break America Revealed What Was Already Broken George writes this quote When the virus got here it found a
countrywith serious underlying conditions and exploited them mercilessly chronicles of a sclerotic bureaucracy of a corrupt political class a heartless economy divided and distracted public had not been dealt with for years good
morningto you both George, I'll start with you right there in that piece a Many people have pointed out that This has shed light on the goodness, the fundamental goodness of the American people and we have certainly seen that among everyday people and the heroes who work in our hospitals and on the front lines, but it has also shed light on our vulnerabilities.
Yeah, I mean, it's been heartening that there's everyone for the sacrifice and generosity of everyday people across the
countryand it's also increasingly difficult to see that there seems to be an emerging consensus that maybe it's stronger. that some of the partisan divisions that we've known for years that science should be our guide in this, but I can never forget those weeks in March and they really continue now in April as we look to our national government for guidance for basic information instructions and wasn't there and reminded me that we are not a textbook failed state.
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I assumed it comes from some failed states and that's not us. The police are working when you call mine. An ambulance will come, but our national government. was in chaos and was faking and deceiving us and couldn't provide us with other information when we desperately needed it and it reminded me a little of what it's like for citizens to discover when they look at their national leaders in a crisis, they discover that there is no one there and they have to make decisions on their own without that guidance, and George, as you know and as you have reported, there have been many government failures over the last generation, you can look at the intelligence failures that led up to 9/11. , the financial crisis of 2008, we can also add Katrina, so this is not a new problem in the United States, but is there something unique about this particular problem and the way this government has handled it if uses a health metaphor our body policies today are much weaker than they were on 9/11 and even weaker than in 2008 during the financial crisis and the beginning of the Great Recession we are now more polarized more divided our government has been demoralized by a The constant attack from within and without has been defunded and our economy, in some ways, is more unequal now than at any other time in the last 40 years, when inequality has been a growing problem, so everyone those symptoms made us an easy target for the
coronavirusto truly devastate. havoc in our society and that is why I think what is different now is that the violence is more personal or intimate and also on a larger scale than the recession or 9/11 and our response is weaker because for years we have allowed these evils to left untreated and now we have leadership in Washington that at times almost seems to be collaborating with the virus.
I compared Trump, who has called himself a wartime president, to French Marshal General Petain, who was in charge when the Nazis invaded and who essentially surrendered and allowed them to occupy. the country and created his own Vichy with Republic is a harsh comparison, but sometimes Trump seems to be collaborating with the virus and doing its job for it, so all those things have made us a much easier target and the recovery will be much more difficult this time than in those previous crises that you mentioned at the beginning, yes, that is an extreme comparison, obviously Eddie, I want to ask you about the vulnerable people in all of this, we know that they are physically vulnerable from a health point of view , we know who is vulnerable there, but also the economically vulnerable. the socioeconomically vulnerable the culturally vulnerable the people who this virus has hit in particular, you know, I really enjoyed George's article in the Atlantic Willie because, on one level, what he said and what he argued is that what we're witnessing is the collapse of a complete or complete way of governing because the virus has revealed the growing gap and I'm citing here the growing gap between triumphant capital and besieged labor, so all the fissures and ruptures are within our society, there It's where the virus lives and it's feeding on people and what we've seen time and time again is that the most vulnerable right before Korona is somehow the most vulnerable during Korona and will be the most vulnerable after Corona if it survives, and so that's part of what I want to say.
While the president and all his minions talk about opening society to people who are in my community, I particularly want you to understand this as an invitation to the grave of what Donald Trump says by not talking about solid evidence and by not addressing inequalities . that in some way define our country, as George has brilliantly put it at his party, in some way is inviting the creation of the conditions for more death or more death, but I think it's important and I have to say this very quickly that the way in which George presents According to his argument, decisions have been made to produce this particular situation, of course, we did not choose the purple corona, but we have made decisions to provide an environment where the corona virus Rives and I want to underline this.
We are choosing mass unemployment, we are choosing not to test at the federal level, we are making decisions and those decisions are based, in my opinion, Willy, on the political ideology that is pushed in so many ways. Just pure greed. and the result is suffering and we just have to tell the truth about it we want to thank George Packer with the Atlantic we will be reading your latest article George I would love to get your chance back little one we are having a little problem with your shot but please come back because I want to ask you tomorrow or maybe on Monday what I'm going to ask Eddie out loud, so Eddie, I understand that this
morning's New York Times has an article that talks about American exceptionalism and I doubt it will remind me of what happened. in 2008, after the crash and all the companies were going down and Warren Buffett said, "If you bet against the United States of America, you're going to lose every time it accumulates a ton of money in companies and makes a ton of money." I understand we have a failed leader.
I understand that Washington DC has failed the American people for most of this century. The infighting has been absolutely terrible, but let's take a closer look at the United States of America. We have the best scientists it has. the best doctors we have the best universities this is this is not jingoism we have the most Nobel Prize winners we have the best technology companies we are still the innovators we are still the leaders at the forefront and in almost all areas when it comes to science and when it comes to technology, when it comes to all of this, which really makes our failure in this crisis even worse, I will say that there is another thing that we not only have that going for us, Eddie, let's stand up for a second.
I'd love to hear your reaction to the fact that Americans together have been responsible and, for the most part, stayed home, socially distanced, and acted responsibly together. and we turned that curve much faster than the experts expected, and then if you look at the polls that came out over the last week, whether it's a Pew poll or an AP poll, a lot of these other polls that came out in the Q poll Both Republicans and Democrats believe we should continue social distancing, we should continue to follow the guidelines, we don't need to rush to reopen, there is actually a national consensus, you say it again, there is a national consensus between Republicans and Both Democrats and if you look at the polls from last week say we need to continue to social distance, we need to be responsible, and when we go back to work we need to make sure Americans can do so safely, so I'm not talking about a fact.
That only 1 in 10 voters think we've gone too far is not something I should look at and say well, in this case it's a positive development that this pandemic has brought most Americans together regardless of ideology, you know, Joe I think in a lot of ways the virus has thrown us into a kind of post-ideological moment where we're recognizing the void in some ways the contradictions of the previous set of political realities and what I saw, in other words, I agree with you. On it. to some extent, but I think there are some underlying realities that we have to confront and that is growing inequality, meaning we've seen a number of serious attacks on American institutions of higher education.
We could talk about that another time. We could talk about those vulnerable people living in the shadows where we've seen the erosion of as big a social safety net as we can think America is, the underlying fundamentals somehow made us vulnerable to the pandemic and what we need in This moment Joe is not simply, at least this is my opinion, is not simply the kind of determination of the American people, we need a strong imagination to respond to a crisis that has revealed the deep fractures in our society and I think that's really important . For us, if right now Joe, thank you so much for visiting MSNBC on YouTube and make sure you subscribe to stay up to date on the biggest stories of the day and you can click on any of the videos around us to see more. 4 Morning Joe and MSNBC thank you so much for watching.
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