A virus that's even harder to beat
Americans are susceptible to a virus of mistrust that is fueled by lies and sustained by the habits of our society. We cannot ignore its spread.
The virus of mistrust has roots in biology, but encouragement from politicians and social norms.
(Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash)
Lately I’ve been worrying about a virus that seems likely to hold us in its grip even when we someday, blessedly, emerge from the plague of COVID-19. It’s the virus of mistrust, which infects the body of society through wounds created by dishonesty. Its spread threatens our democracy’s survival, in no small part because it targets younger generations even more than the old.
This notion that mistrust is viral came to me several weeks ago during a conversation with a millennial friend, which has kept echoing in my head. Then I came across some scholarly research suggesting that my worry isn’t misplaced.
My young friend is a political liberal from Brooklyn. She and I were talking about the late-June Democratic primary for New York City mayor, which was narrowly won by a moderate, anti-crime Democrat, Eric Adams. It didn’t surprise me that my friend…