I had this thought while watching the Democratic convention Wednesday night:
Are the young Trumps watching? Do they hear what Michael Bloomberg says about their patriarch?
Do they watch President Obama skewer their benefactor, their teacher, just about he did at that press dinner in 2011?
How do they react to the gentle jibes of Tim Kaine?
What do they think when Donald J. Trump asks Russia, invader of neighboring nations and clandestine drug pusher to its athletes, to hack the emails of Hillary Clinton?
Does the word “treason” cross their minds?
By genetic definition, these offspring don’t have all of Trump’s wiring – the disabilities that do not allow him to take in information, that make him lash out. Certainly the spouses do not. But have they absorbed Trump’s mind set?
Do all those Trump mothers’ genes kick in and make the next generation fear the rampage he is on?
Do they know right from wrong?
Is there room for embarrassment when the Clinton commercial is repeated on the tube, showing children watching and listening as Trump makes fun of women’s bodies, of a reporter’s condition?
(Serge Kovaleski is a friend and colleague, a terrific guy, who has a condition called arthrogryposis, which limits the motion of his arms but not his work, his life.)
Do they ever try to bring up these ugly acts to Trump – or would he cut them off without a dollar, as if they were a vendor who had done honest work for him?
Are they touched by the church ladies who have known tragedy up close but at the convention spoke of love and forgiveness while calling for gun control?
What do they think when Vice President Biden refers to his late son, and talks about how the Obamas have become “family?” Can they imagine feeling that way about other people -- or other people feeling that way about them?
What do the Trump scions feel when Michelle Obama reaches the whole world with her speech?
We have been told that one member of the Trump entourage admires Mrs. Obama – Melania Trump, who used several chunks of Mrs. Obama’s speech in her own talk at the Republicans’ fearful convention. Or was that a weasel way of explaining amateurish plagiarism?
Are they touched by Mrs. Obama’s intelligence and dignity – or do they carry the same racist contempt of the Obamas that can be found under the rock of the Internet – and, oh, yes, in Congress?
What do the young Trumps really think when Michael Bloomberg refers to their meal ticket as a serial welcher and cheapskate, who got his start with a $1-million loan from his old man? Are they impressed with Bloomberg’s billions-of-dollars charity, or do they think to themselves, “chump?”
The cliché is that the Trump kids seem okay, that they don’t have the bullying tactics of the old man. One reporter went hunting with the two older Trump sons and found them not obnoxious or repellent.
But is there room in their hearts for self-awareness? For shame?
Measuring Covid Deaths, by David Leonhardt. July 17, 2023. NYT online.
The United States has reached a milestone in the long struggle against Covid: The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal….
After three horrific years, in which Covid has killed more than one million Americans and transformed parts of daily life, the virus has turned into an ordinary illness.
The progress stems mostly from three factors:
First, about three-quarters of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine shot.
Second, more than three-quarters of Americans have been infected with Covid, providing natural immunity from future symptoms. (About 97 percent of adults fall into at least one of those first two categories.)
Third, post-infection treatments like Paxlovid, which can reduce the severity of symptoms, became widely available last year.
“Nearly every death is preventable,” Dr. Ashish Jha, who was until recently President Biden’s top Covid adviser, told me. “We are at a point where almost everybody who’s up to date on their vaccines and gets treated if they have Covid, they rarely end up in the hospital, they almost never die.”
That is also true for most high-risk people, Jha pointed out, including older adults — like his parents, who are in their 80s — and people whose immune systems are compromised. “Even for most — not all but most —immuno-compromised people, vaccines are actually still quite effective at preventing against serious illness,” he said. “There has been a lot of bad information out there that somehow if you’re immuno-compromised that vaccines don’t work.”
That excess deaths have fallen close to zero helps make this point: If Covid were still a dire threat to large numbers of people, that would show up in the data.
One point of confusion, I think, has been the way that many Americans — including we in the media — have talked about the immuno-compromised. They are a more diverse group than casual discussion often imagines.
Most immuno-compromised people are at little additional risk from Covid — even people with serious conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or a history of many cancers. A much smaller group, such as people who have received kidney transplants or are undergoing active chemotherapy, face higher risks.
Covid’s toll, to be clear, has not fallen to zero. The C.D.C.’s main Covid webpage estimates that about 80 people per day have been dying from the virus in recent weeks, which is equal to about 1 percent of overall daily deaths.
The official number is probably an exaggeration because it includes some people who had virus when they died even though it was not the underlying cause of death. Other C.D.C. data suggests that almost one-third of official recent Covid deaths have fallen into this category. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases came to similar conclusions.
Dr. Shira Doron, the chief infection control officer at Tufts Medicine in Massachusetts, told me that “age is clearly the most substantial risk factor.” Covid’s victims are both older and disproportionately unvaccinated. Given the politics of vaccination, the recent victims are also disproportionately
Republican and white.
Each of these deaths is a tragedy. The deaths that were preventable — because somebody had not received available vaccines and treatments — seem particularly tragic. (Here’s a Times guide to help you think about when to get your next booster shot.)
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.