Confronted with an unprecedented pandemic that threatened both the health and the economic well-being of the country, Donald Trump has consistently ignored or questioned the advice of medical professionals who understand the problem and know what we should do to confront it.
Instead, he takes refuge in conspiracy theories and discredited treatments like hydroxychloroquine. When we desperately need leadership to get us all pulling in the same direction, what we get is a defiant refusal even to wear a mask, and the familiar and deplorable impulse to blame anyone but himself.
What is even more troubling is that some substantial part of our country shares the insanity. How often do we hear people say that masking is a liberal plot, that the disease is a hoax invented to deny Trump reelection?
Uniquely, our country spirals downward into the abyss, while other countries with more sanity and discipline are getting a handle on the outbreak.
America really is exceptional, but not in a good way.