Look, There’s Haley’s Comet; or, Don’t Let Me Down Easy
I’m a Band-Aid-Off-Fast person. How about you? I’d rather have the immediate intensity of the sting all at once rather than the slow, agonizing burn of Band-Aid-Off-Slow.
A Times’ article this morning by Thomas Fuller ran the headline, “How Much Should the Public Know?”
I’ll tell you how much the public should know. Everything. Every last bloody thing.
Mr. Fuller wrote, “In the perennial tug-of-war between privacy and transparency in the United States, privacy appears to be winning in the coronavirus pandemic.”
The lack of transparency related to the facts of public health is a travesty. Not because we are capable of taking the data and making decisions based on it, but because without it, we are attempting to make decisions in the dark.
Maybe if our government would stop treating us as if we are children, we might grow up and behave like adults facing an adult crisis of gargantuan proportions? It’s a thought.
Besides, things on the disclosure front are pretty damn dark already.
Given that I know for sure that not everyone is like me, I still have to ask: what does The White House think it’s doing? Let’s add in: The Senate, The House, and oh, heck, why not? The Judiciary?
The front page of The New York Times this morning led with a headline that read: Americans Advised to Limit Work, Travel and Outings Until April 30.
With all due respect, hell to the NO, we are not shocked. We are not even bothering to raise one eyebrow, let alone two.
It’s probably gonna go till May 31st anyway.
Friends went for a hike over the weekend to get a much-needed infusion from Mother Nature. On the way to Onteora Lake, they saw a sign: Open for Business Again on Easter Sunday.
WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP TREATING YOUR PANDEMIC, MR. TRUMP, AS A PART OF THE NEWS CYCLE?!?!?!?!
I never liked being let down easy in romance, and I like it even less when you’re dealing with my survival and that of my very own personal species.
Dang, he makes me mad.
And dangity-dang, I know I’m letting him.
And dangity-dang-dang-dang, I know I’m the only one who can change it.
Just how shocked and appalled can one person be?
Opinion columnist Jennifer Senior wrote in this morning’s Times about the psychological trauma that awaits our doctors and nurses. They are being forced to make decisions about who gets the life-saving equipment which is in such short supply, and who doesn’t. “It’s a recipe for moral injury. Succinctly put, moral injury is the trauma of violating your own conscience.”
Just reading those words stole my breath.
There is no sense of moral injury coming from The White House. In fact, I don’t know whether the Narcissist-in-Chief has a conscience that can be violated.
In this morning’s Huffington Post news aggregator, I read this: “TRUMP QUESTIONS USE OF PPE SUPPLIES Trump has repeatedly questioned the distribution of medical supplies, even suggesting without evidence that some hospitals may be misusing protective equipment and masks as cases of the coronavirus continue to surge. ‘How do you go from using 10,000 to 20,000 [masks] to 300,000?’ Trump asked during a press briefing on Sunday. ‘Where are they going — are they going out the back door?’” Uh, basic math, anyone?
I am stammering with outrage.
The saddest of the sad part of this narrative is that Mr. Trump, like it or not, is an elected official. There are people we all know who did that electing. He is a reflection of a lot of the American populace right now. Scarifying, horrifying, terrifying, but true.
And he’s not the only politico who uses the Look-There’s-Haley’s-Comet approach to leadership. It’s something that American politicians use regularly. Another name for it might be, Don’t-Worry,-The-People-Don’t-Really-Want-the-Truth,-Just-Distract-Them-Instead.
How are these for recent distractions?
The $2.2 trillion aid package focuses on “beefed-up unemployment benefits to shield laid-off workers from economic hardship, … [n]ot safeguarding employment,” according to Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, economists at the University of California. In the short-term, great; in the long-term, a catastrophe. People need to know their jobs will await their return when the public health crisis has passed.
Those same employees who filed for unemployment just last week, 3.3 million of them, many of whom have families, have probably lost their health insurance as well as their jobs. Now they face the prohibitively costly COBRA option or the morass of the health care marketplace.
Again, this is a Haley’s Comet gambit. The Affordable Care Act isn’t affordable to everyone, certainly not those who have lost their jobs, and besides, it’s focused on health insurance, not health care. We don’t need universal health insurance — if we can afford it. We need universal health care.
The Messrs. Saez and Zucman call out both sides of the aisle when they write, “There is nothing efficient in the destruction of businesses that were viable before the virus outbreak.”
“A liquidationist ideology seems to have infected minds on both the left and the right. On the right, opposition to government grants to businesses is grounded in the view that markets should be left to sort out the consequences of the pandemic. … On the left, a popular view contends that the government should help people, not corporations.”
The Narcissist-in-Chief, taking spin to a new level, is called out by Charles M. Blow, “The coronavirus pandemic is first and foremost a global public health crisis. But here in the United States, … the response to it is heavily overlaid with political calculations. Trump needs America to view the fight against the virus as a war against an army unleashed by a foreign power — one over which we will emerge victorious. Only in that light can he emerge as a valiant leader.
“Seen the other way, the way it truly is — as a national health emergency during which he has failed by downplaying its significance and lying about his response — it would be a disaster.”
It is that actual, factual, real-life, real-time disaster — a fascinating word that means, etymologically, without stars — that astrologer Chani Nicholas addressed so beautifully last week. She wrote, “I know it’s going to take every bit of thoughtfulness, care, and consideration to get through this moment together, so I make myself available to every solution I am well-suited for.”
I can’t solve how much the president or his toadying flunkies lie.
I can’t solve how much needs to be done to safeguard people’s jobs.
I can’t solve how much we need health care, not health insurance.
I can’t solve how much information is withheld from you and me.
What I can do, right here, where I am, at home, is follow Chani’s thoughtful advice. I can “make myself available to every solution I am well-suited for.”
I can keep writing.
I can keep giving away my mystery novels, butch-femme romances, and spiritual books for free.
I can keep answering the emails and voicemails asking for prayer.
I can keep doing the distance healing that I’ve done for years.
I can keep praying for those who have died, and the sorrowed grieving of their families.
I can keep praying for those who are ill now, and their hard-pressed, life-risking caregivers.
I can keep praying for those who will become ill.
Saez and Zucman close with this, “The big battles — be they wars or pandemics — are fought and won collectively.”
Dr. Larry Brilliant is an epidemiologist “who as a young doctor was part of the fight to eradicate smallpox.” Nicholas Kristof quoted him a week or so ago. “The best case is that the virus mutates and actually dies out.”
Maybe it will.
But it won’t be because someone has tried to spin the Trump Pandemic as part of the 24-hour news cycle, and let us down easy. It will be because some of us, enough of us, insist on holding up the standard of doing the right thing, and taking action on every solution we are well-suited for until we live into that day in the future when we no longer need Band-Aids at all.