In March, President Trump blamed our global pandemic on China. When that didn't work, he blamed the World Health Organization (WHO) for not responding quickly enough to the virus. When that didn't work, he blamed governors for not getting their own supplies. Now, he says immigrants will take away American jobs.
The Bible defines a scapegoat as one of two kid goats. One goat was sacrificed and the living “scapegoat” was supposed to absorb the sins of the community and carry them into the wilderness. Is that what's happening here? Are the president's scapegoats supposed to carry away the sins of Mr. Trump?
Also this hour: Politics and our human need for a scapegoat has defined the way we name diseases almost as much as the goal of accurately describing a threat to public health.
And, the story of one of our earliest scapegoats, the sin-eater.
- Graeme Wood is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of The Way of the Strangers: Encounters With the Islamic State (@gcaw)
- Lili Loofbourow writes about culture, gender, and politics for Slate (@Millicentsomer)
- Laura Spinney is a science journalist and author who has been published in National Geographic, Nature and The Economist, among others. Her latest book is Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World. (@lfspinney)
- Thomas Lynch is a poet and author of five collections of poems and four books of essays, including The Sin-Eater: A Breviary. His latest book of essays is The Deposition: New and Selected Essays On Being and Ceasing To Be. He has been a funeral director since 1974.
Colin McEnroe and Cat Pastor contributed to this show.