“…our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.”
“Dying in a Leadership Vacuum,” by the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine.
If it were not for the Coronavirus, our country might well be doomed. With the leading death toll in the world, despite our robust but costly medical system, the virus has held up to scrutiny the failures of the Trump administration. Thank heavens. Yes, maybe Trump’s infection with the Coronavirus is a “gift from God.” His reaction to his illness and the blatant disregard for other’s safety may finally get through to those Americans. His drive-by disdain publicity stunt which put his secret service men at risk might get through. Or maybe not. There are folks who will see him as their wonderful leader regardless of the mismanagement of the pandemic, irrespective of the death toll. But those are not the people either the doctors of the New England Journal of Medicine or I am speaking to.
This morning the Hasidim of Brooklyn, New York rioted. They burned their masks to protest what they see as a suppression of their way of life, beliefs, and norms. They, like Ammon Bundy see mask-wearing as a symbol of a lack of freedom, and in an odd way, they are correct. If the pandemic had been taken seriously and dealt with competently, there might not be as great a need to wear a mask now. As a country, we might be opening up after a decrease of contagion, not during the contagion. All this aside, I am going to chose to be optimistic. We may survive Trump, after all, thanks to the Coronavirus.
The fall is here in the Rockies. It is beautiful, if chilly. The little girls in the neighborhood are still running and squealing as their grandfather playfully chases them. The dogs still dance around at the sight of a leash. My business continues to thrive. Of course, my company helps people cope with anxiety, and there is plenty of this to go around. In four days, America will have the beginning of an idea of who our next president will be. The election outcome will not be settled for several days or weeks, and those days and weeks may be very tense, but people are voting en masse. No election within my lifetime has had the kind of pre-election day turn out that this one has. That is exciting. I can hope that the people’s will is swinging in the direction of a new start.
That does not diminish the reality that Trump’s presidency has exposed the grim underbelly of the nation’s racism, homophobia, and sexism. But what is new about this? In the 1960s, I was demonstrating against these very attitudes. With Obama’s presidency, I was lulled into a false sense that all this was changing. It was not.
So now we know. We have evidence that there are Nazis among us. The grandsons of the men who fought in World War II have been marching with Tiki torches, chanting antisemitic and racist slogans. They are fine with this. They do not see a contradiction between their family’s history and their current allegiances. To me, this proves how easily people forget or that they never understood what their granddads fought for in the first place.
I am going to choose hope. I see a return to democracy and a very near miss. We have been well on the way to a dystopian fascism over the last four years, but this started with Reagan, who attempted and mostly succeeded in breaking up the unions. Remember the air traffic controllers? This was a signal or a dog whistle to those who were paying attention. From there on, the underpinnings of our democracy were slowly eroded. Citizen’s United, the Patriot Act, the effective appointment of conservative Supremes, all of this moves us closer to the end of our democracy. I hope that if Biden wins, these toxic laws and this toxic crawl toward fascism will stop and be reversed.
We all know, though, don’t we, that this movement to erode freedom is serving up the American population on a platter to the corporate giants? Many people are so in debt as I write that they have no freedom. The working people have to accept whatever they are given. Wages have not changed in about twenty to thirty years, depending on to whom you listen. I can tell you my buying power and salary has not changed in thirty years. When I was 35, I made as much as I make now. No, I don’t believe that this is my fault or some dumb act of poor planning. It is a result of the slow reduction of what the dollar buys and of the for-profit health care system.
This amassing of wealth by the few is what all the rhetoric is about—making more money for the very wealthy. While the wealthy make more money, their publicists convince the less affluent to worship them and imagine that they will be millionaires themselves soon enough. They won’t be. They will simply put more on the credit cards. For most American families, it now takes two incomes to buy what one salary used to buy. The fact of income inequality has been a public conversation for several years now, but it is not a conversation on local media, the news stations that many Americans watch if they watch the news. The difference between what the very wealthy pay in taxes today from thirty years ago allows the wealthy to benefit from the infrastructure that the middle class are paying for, without contributing their fair share.
All of this is coming to a head in this election, but as I have said, perhaps the Coronavirus will cut us a break. Perhaps, the larger population will see that all our current administration care for is the benefit of Wall Street (which is doing very well). Not the citizen who is watching her job disappear, and her friends and family become sick.
Over 220,000 people have died. They have died unnecessarily. The U.S. could have taken the same steps that South Korea took at the same time. Our first case of Covid 19 was days apart from North Korea. At the time we did not have adequate testing. Although the World Health Organization offered us their testing, which worked, we refused their help. We did not have adequate PPE, and in a ‘just in time.” ‘only the beds we will use’ profit-motivated health care, we did not have enough of anything to deal with the crisis. We still don’t. Trump knew how bad it would be. He lied to preserve his Wall Street friends and profit. To hell with the American citizen. The American citizen still does not entirely understand the enormity of this betrayal. His base, for the most part, will vote for him. But those long lines of voters in all States, well ahead of election day may vote him out. I hope so.
So vote early, vote now, volunteer to get out the vote, donate money and talk with those who will listen. The ones who won’t listen, won’t listen, don’t waste your time.
I hope by the time I enter Mexico, to hear that Biden has won. Meanwhile, it is time to walk the dogs. Feed the chickens, do yoga, and stay well and sane.