Today the president went to the hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus. Three days ago, he stood on a debate stage and mocked his opponent for wearing a mask. Now he’s hospitalized and details are sketchy. I’ll be frank: when I saw the news, my lizard-brain flickered with glee. It was the grubby pleasure of somebody getting what they deserved. The sensation left me feeling ghoulish, cheering for another person’s illness.

Maybe it’s not wrong to crave justice in the universe, some balancing of the scales. Particularly if that person’s recklessness and viciousness led to the needless deaths of so many Americans. Tonight it’s 208,536 and counting. But in this case, justice was not delivered by the crowd, dumb luck, or karma. It was entirely self-inflicted and avoidable. Justice cannot be self-administered. And so the effect is like watching a Greek tragedy: it’s not enjoyable, but it feels instructive.

The First Lady, two senators, and some aides and advisors have also tested positive for the virus. I wish them well. I wish the president well. And humility on the other side.

Each night in 2020, I wrote a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I wanted to etch these days into my memory. Before the world changed completely.
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