Quarantine: Year Two

Dearest Liza,

We find ourselves in the third month of the Bidet Wars. Our troops remain steadfast and clean of tush. All quiet on the western front.

Let’s start here…

The Downside of Political Correctness

I believe that political correctness, as with anything else, has a limited return on investment.

I am not a fan of President Trump. Let’s be clear about that. I don’t have Trump derangement syndrome where I immediately go off the rails and lose all sense of measure at the mention of his name. But … mercy.

Whether you’re a fan or not, you have to admit that he’s divisive and takes just about everything personally. He doesn’t weigh his thoughts before he speaks even though he’s in a position of power where a sentence can send the world, or at least the stock market, spiraling off into chaos. He’s in a policy feedback loop with sycophantic media outlets and personalities, which seems unhealthy for a democratic republic, but I guess that horse left the barn long ago. In my opinion, these are not the qualities of a good leader, and certainly not in times of crisis.

He’s a reality TV president. He’s a personality.

He and his administration have found themselves in a lose-lose situation with literal life or death consequences and/or the drawn out carnage of an unprecedented economic depression.

I don’t envy him.

So far, his character flaws prevent him from being a reliable, trustworthy source of information and leadership. I hope he can pull it together, get some better counsel, listen to that counsel, and realize that this is bigger than politics, more important than his brand, and lead constructively, for all of our sakes.

Trying to label the virus as the Chinese virus for political damage/talking points against China is a distraction. Sweeping generalizations from the POTUS are also a recipe for racism and jingoism.

Having said that, if multiple deadly viruses have originated in China over the years, particularly around food markets and production, then that’s an issue that needs be addressed. Fix it for the good of the Chinese population and the good of the world.

We can’t be so PC and so reactionary that we’re unable to address an issue rationally. We’re adults here.

If there are cultural practices that endanger a population and the world, we need to be able to address it.

If you work with animals and are hands-on with nature, you’re going to be exposed to things that suburban and urban populations usually aren’t. On vacation in Florida, I saw a man putting his hands in an alligators mouth and basically playing with it in the mud. Then after watching that show, we walked over to the concession stand and ordered fried alligator nuggets. In hindsight, I hope that their hygiene practices are on point.

It’s not racist or xenophobic to say, hey these wild ducks are intermingling with your chickens and are spreading a virulent disease that is deadly when it jumps to humans. Do not suck mucus plugs out of the beaks of sick poultry with your mouth. Or, don’t put these bird cages literally on top of these ferret cages on top of pangolin cages. That’s a recipe for disaster.

And of course, there have been plenty of deadly outbreaks around the world, not just in China. Obviously. That includes Europe and North America.

So let’s fix it. Let’s start with shaking hands, for instance. Stop it. Shaking hands is now too intimate and should only be done, if at all, between household members and those with whom you’ve decided to share your germpool biome. (I’m not sure if I’m kidding or not.)

Keep it together, people.

Can we just keep it together for a few more weeks?

Don’t drink or inject household or industrial cleaning products, and don’t subject yourself to dangerous amounts of UV radiation. Not even sarcastically.

5G has nothing to do with any virus. Don’t stand directly next to any multi-kilowatt transmission antenna, though.

Bill Gates is not a eugenicist leading a secret cabal whose aim is genocide.

Black people are not immune from the coronavirus because of super-melanin or what not. Also, the 180, it wasn’t created in a lab to target black people.

Rage Against the Disease

It is so interesting, for lack of a better word, to see mostly older, mostly European Americans protesting, blocking traffic, openly carrying guns and intentionally(?) exposing themselves to potential viral infection. It’s their version of chicken pox parties. There’s just so much there. I’ll let the double standard go before I descend into a rage spiral.

On one hand, the frustration, cabin fever, fear of a slippery slope, and threat to our collective livelihood is understandable. I mean, it’s like Thanos snapped his purple fingers and we’re watching a lot of businesses disintegrate before our eyes. That’s scary.

For a lot of people, their income has been shut off, and the bills keep coming. A lot of people are going to be wrecked and are not going to get a reprieve or any mercy from landlords and creditors. We do need to reopen our economy. For sure. I empathize with the protesters to that extent.

I will not verbally attack people for wanting to work, and hoping to minimize the chaos and upheaval that is just beginning.

I will verbally sideye people for being willfully ignorant, defiant, and adopting a cult mentality just to pick a side. Or allowing themselves to be manipulated into acting against their own best interests.

If you must protest, protest responsibly! Damn! Why aren’t they protesting for testing? Why aren’t they protesting to not have their lives destroyed by medical debt?

I know that falls on deaf ears, because some of these folks want to let the virus run its course, let it kill 0.5% to 2% of the population, and hope that the economy will remain strong enough for social security to still exist.

What’s the plan?

We need to reopen the economy with a plan. I think we need to accept that there will be a new normal. Even if we opened up some things by the end of the week, there’s going to be a lot of caution. Then, even if things go swimmingly, how long until all the people bounced out of employment can find new work. Will salaries be commensurate?

We’re going to have to take risks. There will likely be flare ups and outbreaks. Viruses often mutate between strains and seasons. We need to be able to measure the effects of our choices. There were, apparently, three waves of the Spanish Flu. We need testing. And apparently contact tracing, from what I understand. So when people do test positive or get sick, we can find out who else was in the danger zone.

There are a few people freaking out on my Facebook feed about the lockdowns and how we need open up now, and this is no worse than the flu, etc. It’s a scene.

I would just say that we’re doing what we’re doing now because of what we learned from previous pandemics. We are attempting to do what worked before to minimize death and human tragedy.

It’s kind of funny how when we here numbers like 60,000 to 200,000 deaths, we don’t really think it applies to us — to me. Not really. It’s still a vague kind of “that’s a shame for those people”, but I’m different.

Then I was thinking, that aside from the death — my loved ones, in particular — I’m kind of freaked out by what it would mean to be hospitalized and then get a bill for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Lose your job, you lose your health insurance in our messed up system. And life insurance, too, maybe. Get sick while you’re unemployed. Survive and get absolutely freakin’ wrecked with medical debt. There goes any wealth or financial stability for you and your family.

And we all just shrug our shoulders and like, oh well. At least we’re not socialists like those awful threat-to-our-freedoms Canadians.

We’re also sabotaging ourselves because that’s just who we are, apparently. Hubris, man.

There’s so much we could learn. There’s so much we could do.

I’m certain that we will continue to see how interconnected we are. Some of the people we think the least of are the people who are fundamental to our way of life, if not our survival.

Maybe along the way we’ll figure out we can still strive for the almighty dollar while taking care of each other. Here and there.

Take care of yourselves and your peoples. And strangers.

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