In the introduction to the book we base this podcast on, Tim Egan describes the response to the coronavirus as ‘perhaps the greatest collapse of American society in so short a time, ever.’ Why did a confluence of unmet concerns coalesce around this health crisis, including economic suffering, disparities in care, inability to mobilize and marshal government resources and racial inequities that have been knawing at our society for years? Historians will have a field day trying to unpack why it happened on this scale at a time that the sitting President said he had made ‘America great again’. A dubious claim, indeed. Jon Sternfeld who compiled and edited ‘Unprepared’ joins me for a great conversation about how democracies respond to crisis, the hollowing out of our federal governmental infrastructure over decades and the abject failure of leadership throughout the pandemic. America’s reputation as the can-do nation in the world has suffered a mighty blow from which it may never recover and Americans must ask themselves hard questions about the responses needed and the wherewithal to provide them. There will be the next crisis. Will we be better prepared to address it or unprepared–again?
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