Sunday, March 22, 2020

A Journal of the Plague Year, Part the Fifth - Notes from Quarantine

1. I’ve seen a number of posts recently on social media showing empty streets where there once were crowds, with commentary on how sad this is.  And I understand that.  To see emptiness where once there were people going about their lives and days is heartbreaking.  But it’s also beautiful.  Millions of people are making sacrifices right now to help people they have never met and will never meet.  They are altering their lives, changing the way they get through the day, to slow down the spread of this disease and give others a chance.  We are strange animals, we humans, but with a capacity for grace that can astonish if you are willing to see it.

2. Of course there are still a few morons who insist that this is all some kind of hoax, that they can see right through it, and they’re going to keep doing what they always do because that will show them.  And if it were just those people who are going to end up on the short end of Darwin’s stick I probably wouldn’t mind so much.  But they are going to hurt a lot of people who do understand the reality and who are working hard to make things better, and that is morally unacceptable.  If you are one of those people you need to grow up and stay inside, you doorknob.

3. I’ve had that conversation, actually.  Citing medical professionals didn’t help.  Citing statistics didn’t help.  Pointing out the reports from people in the middle of it didn’t help.  You know what did help?  Pointing out that every major sports league in the world is now canceled.  Folks, when people are making decisions that are costing them billions of dollars, you know it’s real. 

4. I don’t blame Trump for COVID19.  I really don’t.  This pandemic would have happened no matter what he did, and it would have arrived in the US no matter what he did.  I do however hold him accountable for the corrupt and irresponsible way he chose to respond to it – or, more properly, refuse to respond to it.  American intelligence services were screaming at him to take action back in January.  Italy has been chaotic for weeks.  Everyone knew this was coming here.  And still – STILL – he refuses to take basic steps to ensure the safety of Americans and to prepare this country for the siege it will have to endure whether he wishes it or not.  He has failed in the most fundamental task of any American president – to provide for the general welfare – and this crime should follow him to his grave.  We should be going all out to slow this pandemic down and give ourselves time to avoid being overwhelmed, and the fact that he has refused to accept the reality of this situation and has pawned off responsibility for action to governors and mayors is unforgivable.  This would not have happened if anyone else had won in 2016 – whether Hillary, Bernie, or any of the several hundred GOP candidates.  This would not have happened if George W. Bush were still president, or Barack Obama.  This would not have happened under ANY other president, all of whom had a clear sense that they were leading a nation and were not just shaking down a country for their own enrichment and aggrandizement.  The pandemic would have reached American shores regardless, but the refusal to respond to a clear and present danger to American lives and security is Trump’s moral failure and Trump’s alone.

5. We’ve learned who the essential workers are, at least.  They’re the health care workers, delivery drivers, grocery clerks, teachers, emergency services workers, sanitation workers, utility workers, and all the other people who keep society running in a time of crisis.  They’re not the people getting rich, but they are the ones who matter.  I hope we remember that when all this is over.


LucyInDisguise said...

1. Here, Hear.

2. I think you just called my daughter a doorknob. Which is okay. Understatement, actually. Really. Far, FAR too kind.

3. Just someother prick in the wall. (With sincere apologies to any surviving members of Pink Floyd.)

4. Here, Hear! Their, There, and They’re. To. Too? 2!

5. “… when this is all over…” they should be running the place, if there is any justice in the world at all.


David said...

I suspect the world would be a better place if the current leaders stepped aside and allowed the people doing the work to have a chance. I suppose we won't know until we try.

I hope you're doing well in these parlous times.