President Donald Trump's indoor pep rally in Nevada, without masks or social distancing, evokes “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe.

In that short story, a vain, haughty prince holds a "masque," a fancy masquerade ball, inside his castle while a deadly plague runs through the surrounding countryside killing mercilessly. The prince thinks he can escape the plague by locking himself and his supporters inside and denying that the plague can get to them. Of course, the plague does infiltrate the party and death takes over.

Trump has probably not read “The Masque of the Red Death" or any scientific reports about the importance of masks (not masques) and social distancing in helping to control the spread of the Red Death of the moment, COVID-19.

So people get sick and die and spread the plague to others. Trump shrugs.


retired lawyer, retired Navy officer

River Ridge