Wednesday, April 22, 2020

IMG_8428This is week number six of the lockdown in Brooklyn, NY. All birthday gatherings, theater tickets and other public events in my weekly reminder are crossed out, replaced by mortality statistics. Today, in New York: 14,828 deaths; US: 45,075; and the world: 178,845. I’ve pasted a few photos of the New York Times front page. Virus Toll Soars. Business Grinds To A Halt. Fed Cuts Rates To Near Zero. Conservative Groups in Anti-Lockdown Protests.

In a laughable irony, the Governors of the states urge people to stay in their homes while the President exhorts the people by tweet to LIBERATE! Groups of modern-day Neanderthals have staged protests at the state capitals of Michigan, Virginia and Minnesota for the right to gather in groups of dozens, hundreds and thousands to infect each other.

Americans are blessed in one regard; they have never been bombed by a mutual enemy on home soil or had to flee the complete upheaval of society. But it has bred a peculiar sense of arrogance about the need to work together. Self-sufficiency, nationalism, and gun-toting isolation won’t save you in a global pandemic: all you need is a cousin to bring a dry cough home that triggers a town-wide infection. In some spread-out parts of the country, people think they can go it alone, or go to the beach, or gather for a party—here’s looking at you, Virginia and Florida.

Face it, folks. We truly have a mutual enemy to deal with—a disease that seeks only to spread and kill the most vulnerable among us. You might be a victim, or merely a carrier. No one is exempt. One would expect our leader to grab the opportunity to defeat the scurge, rally the technological expertise of our greatest minds, and get the country moving.

But no. Not this one. Our Marmelade Mussolini ignored it. After a month-long gap of inaction in February (when everybody else’s hair was on fire), he  finally stirred from his torpor to promote concern, then a nationwide emergency, then backtracked, refusing to wear a mask. Every evening he bays with all the brains of a beagle from his lectern, contradicting science and common sense, hawking doubtful cures (Hydroxychloroquine. What have you got to lose?), while a half-dozen knowledgable experts flank him with buttoned lips, fearful of losing their place beside him (and casting the country into an abyss of ignorance).

One looks for a positive side to this. This is just my nature, although I have no reason to believe any good will come of this president’s masquerade. Perhaps the government will see fit to repay the backbone of our society—those care-givers, first-responders, the people who grow, deliver, and serve our food—with universal medical coverage. And if they don’t? Perhaps voters will get wise. Perhaps when the country comes through this, they’ll remember the lack of preparation, the poor leadership, their enablers, and the tone-deaf attention to this crisis from the right.

I’ve been making a lot of masks for family, friends, a local hospital, and feel tempted to print them with a slogan: Remember This In November!

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