Outside Reading — The Unreal World edition

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The kids aren’t alright: How Generation Covid is losing out by Federica Cocco

The cataclysmic failure of national leadership — and, to a more varied degree, state and local leadership — has wreaked havoc on communities coast to cost, including especially devastating effects on the economy. The pain is spread disproportionately, with individuals just out of school and trying to enter the workforce facing special impediments. Writing for Financial Times, Federica Cocco draws on the the reflections of several of these millennials and Generation Z members from all around in the world. In this country, they’ve spent their entirely lives subjecting to a string of cruelties almost entirely traceable to the bad, deeply irresponsible decisions of older generations: active shooter drills, endless war, the Great Recession, the student loan crisis, devastating slashes to education budgets, and gaping income inequality. They have gotten an astonishingly bad deal from a country that prides itself on its exceptionalism.

It’s Time for Democrats to Tell Trump Supporters the Truth by Charles P. Pierce

Writing for Esquire, Charles P. Pierce unleashes appropriate fury on the notion, floated this week, that president-elect Joe Biden will opt against pursuing justice against the miscreants who spent four years in the White House flagrantly violating laws while dismantling the government for profit. In a way, I find it perversely admirable that Biden is still devoted to the idea of developing national unity, but it’s also deeply frustrating that he and his cohorts don’t recognize that his noble aspiration is severely undercut by the mass of Republicans cravenly enabling daily blasts of dishonest rhetoric that take a dull, rusty hacksaw to the already weatherbeaten stilts upon which the nation’s teetering democracy stands. There has been brazen, constant criminality done all across the current executive branch, and it was, by definition, done in the name of U.S. citizens. It’s long past time to acquiesce out of the fear of angering the delusional cult members who still support the red-hatted buffoon. It’s time for Democrats to stand for something and speak hard truths rather than bowing to political opponents who ruthlessly demonize them.

Dewey Defeats Truman (1997) by Thomas Mallon

Taking his title — and likely inspiration — from the most notorious newspaper headline of all time, Thomas Mallon crafts a novel about small-town life in mid–twentieth century America. Ahead of the 1948 presidential election, the Michigan community of Owosso is in a flurry because Republican candidate Thomas Dewey, the town’s most famous native son, seems poised to win the highest post in the land. That’s the backdrop for a twisty tale of overlapping modest dilemmas traversed by a menagerie of homespun characters. There’s nothing monumental about the work, not in its construction nor its unfussy language. It does have the sturdiness of time-tested fiction with a distinct Midwestern flavor. Dewey Defeats Truman is the epitome of the Good American Novel.

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