It’s Monday, March 30. More states announced stay-at-home orders, and the White House extended its social distancing guidelines to until at least May.
In today’s newsletter: The social-distancing culture war. Plus: Take a tour of these drive-in movie theaters.
« TODAY IN POLITICS »
Social distancing is a political act now.
There once was a time at the beginning of this pandemic when public health experts’ call for Americans to limit their public activity and practice rigorous social distancing hadn’t yet been swept up in the language of a culture war.
School closures came quickly across blue and red states, people of all parties quickly dispensed hand-washing advice, and “flatten the curve” seemed like a unifying rallying cry.
That rare slice of unpolarized American life is waning, my colleague McKay Coppins writes:
The consensus didn’t last long. President Trump, having apparently grown impatient with all the quarantines and lockdowns, began last week to call for a quick return to business as usual…[T]he comments set off a familiar sequence—a Democratic backlash, a pile-on in the press, and a rush in MAGA-world to defend the president. As the coronavirus now emerges as another front in the culture war, social distancing has come to be viewed in some quarters as a political act—a way to signal which side you’re on.”
Democratic strongholds—large metropolitan areas—felt the effects of the pandemic first. Now more people are dividing along familiar lines: by party, by geography, by religion, even by individual news outlet (McKay has already reported earlier this month on how the president’s news and social media allies have rallied to defend his distortions.)