Looming Lessons From A Pandemic — Money Won’t Save You; Community However Will

It’s definitely premature to say “here’s what we’ve learned from living through a pandemic…”. But a few lessons are already crystal clear. They’ll only get crystal clearer.

For starters: in a real crisis — like a pandemic — the flow of accurate information is essential. Screw with that? You just made the pandemic exponentially worse. People can’t judge how best to protect themselves, their families and their communities when the information coming at them is bogus or worse. It’s like we’re all trapped inside a building that’s on fire. One exit leads to safety. The other doesn’t — and our current leaders keep insisting that 1) there’s no fire but 2) if there is, run to toward that “other” door — the one that leads AWAY from safety.

Government should not be some foreign, faceless nemesis. In essence, it’s US. We are our own government — that’s the whole point of democracy. It has been a deeply cynical right wing talking point that government is to blame for all our ills. No, actually, GREED is to blame for most of our ills. Ignorance, racism, bigotry and (especially) misogyny account for the rest.

As the coronavirus keeps proving to us, pathogens couldn’t care less how famous we are, how rich we are, how special we are. Viruses need human cells in order to reproduce. They use us like a cheap sex hotel — only to take over the whole hotel once they start having sex in it. Throwing money at it won’t stop it.

Ironically — community will stop it. Provided we keep our distance from our community for a while. But the point of the exercise is to keep the community safe — which means we have to acknowledge that our community is automatically more important than any one individual in it. That’s an important distinction to make — especially going forward.

The Pandemic of 2020 has brought the human world to a virtual stand-still. Our economies — tied together as they are — are about to experience something unprecedented. We’re about to become cash-starved as our incomes stop while our expenses don’t. To survive this — we’re going to have to look each other in the eye and say “people matter more than money does”.

Because Trump’s crony-capitalism has gutted so much of the government we built to protect us — or, at least, create a structured framework in which we can work — we’ll HAVE TO rely on ourselves to survive this. We won’t be able to do what China did — live in our homes like prison cells until we’re told we can go out again. It’s just not in our nature. But — as China is proving — it’s the only way to stop Kovid-19 from spreading.

And until we stop the coronavirus from spreading, we can’t do anything to stop it. Good thing China’s now offering test kits. We need em.

The other Big Lesson we should already be taking from Pandemic 2020 — a for-profit health “care” system will fail everyone using it. Because not everyone can afford to be in the system, a huge chunk of us are unhealthy. Pathogens fly past expensive walls. A pathogen that takes root in a homeless encampment on Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles can take out whole blocks of rich Beverly Hills residents just like “that”.

We don’t, at present, have a health CARE system, we have a health INSURANCE system. Not the same thing. When anyone walks in the door, our system’s first question isn’t “How can we fix you?”, it’s “How’re you gonna pay for this?”

There’s a reason no other industrialized country does it our way: it’s stupid. It’s inhumane. And, in the face of a pandemic — it’s actually self-destructive.

Humans will see the Pandemic of 2020 as one of those epic events that took over the planet — like a world war. Ironically, the pandemic will have to share space with the OTHER epic event taking over our planet right now — the successful cyber war Russia has waged and still IS waging against America.

The reason the Pandemic of 2020 will be so extraordinarily terrible for the United States is because Donald Trump is president. And Donald Trump is president because Vladimir Putin MADE him president.

Just like in HG Wells’ “War Of The Worlds” — where a humble pathogen takes out the Martians that none of earth’s armies can put a dent in — a germ (okay — a virus) will take down the monster — in our case, Donald Trump. Covid-19 will do what the Truth could not.

Here’s a prediction — and it’s based on the lessons the Pandemic has already taught us — in the Pandemic’s aftermath, America will head to the left. Health care in America will come socialized — made a fact of life by the pandemic. To pay for that health care, Americans will have to rethink their taxes — how much they pay, yes, but more importantly, how much they GET for their taxes.

Social democracy is coming to America — riding on the back of the coronavirus. The rich won’t like it much — until they realize how, when all boats rise on the tide, theirs rises even higher. The rest of us? Well, our boats will be rising on the tide, right? That tide is our community. The one that’s always been there for us.

The one we’ll need to be there for us now.

Just Like In HG Wells’ War Of The Worlds, A Pathogen Will Save OUR World — In Our Case, From TRUMP

If you don’t know HG Wells’ “War Of The Worlds”, here’s the thumbnail — Martians launch from their planet and aggressively take over Earth, easily throwing aside all the puny earthlings. What saves humanity’s bacon? Pathogens. The Martians’ bodies can’t handle the same pathogens our immune systems handle regularly.

Big bad monsters are brought down by teeny-tiny creatures.

Welcome to the Trump version.

Yesterday, Trump — to no one’s surprise — contradicted science and logic and truth because all those things predict that coronavirus will ripple across the world’s economy in unpredictable (but probably negative) ways and Trump needs a strong economy (that he pretends he created) to stand a chance at reelection.

The ONLY thing the pundit class can point to as a positive talking point is the “strong economy” (never mind who it’s strong for and who it’s NOT strong for) as proof that Trump is a normal candidate selling normal POTUS candidate things. What will Trump do when the halt to China’s supply chains brings everything it touches to a halt, too? That will happen. Magical thinking & bullshit pronouncements can’t stop it from NOT happening.

Maybe Trump thinks he can pass the blame to Mike Pence — because he gave Pence the title of “Fix The Coronavirus Guy” . It wouldn’t be above Trump to think he can spare himself the responsibility that’s rightfully his as he runs for re-election (the first IMPEACHED POTUS to ever do so). Of course, considering Mike Pence doesn’t believe smoking tobacco causes cancer and his refusal to deal with science caused an upsurge in AIDS in Indiana while Mike was governor there, giving him the job of “Fix The Disease” guy is like handing over disaster response leadership to the disaster itself.

Yeah, yeah — Trump’s said & tweeted stupid shit before and, yeah, Trump never paid a price for it (other than mockery on Twitter). But, aside from our military and asylum-seeking immigrants desperately in need of help, Trump’s tweets haven’t gotten anyone killed. When Americans start watching Trump spew bullshit and lies about coronavirus from their sick beds — those tweets WILL start to matter to Americans. Trump’s lies have impacted them personally. Physically. Memorably.

Every moment of Covid-19 induced misery will be like the biggest political ad imaginable. And not a one will be a pro-Trump ad.

Donald Trump — with the aid of his sycophants, surrogates & co-conspirators — has blown through our Democracy. He’s nearly blown it apart. The apprehension we all felt election night 2016 mirrors exactly the trepidation many of the earthling characters in Wells’ classic experience as they gaze on the mysterious pods that just landed from outer space.

Unlike in Wells’ story though, OUR news media has been slow to respond as the monsters emerged from their pods — revealing their true selves and purposes — and attacked us. In a sense, our press is the equivalent of the story’s military: our last line of defense. Just like in the book though, our defense was defenseless.

Good thing we have coronavirus to save us.

If We’re In A Kind Of “War Of The Worlds” Between Good & Evil, The Coronavirus Might Be The Ultimate “White Knight”

It’s perverse — that headline. How could something so pathogenically hostile to human beings — a virus able to spread so easily & kill its victims — be a “good guy”? As we know from History, some human beings are worse than pathogens when it comes to killing other people. Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin… Those are just the recent hot shots. The Catholic Church was pretty good, too, in its day. Wouldn’t want to forget about them.

Dark, Right Wing forces have found an opening across the world. Empowered by each other — and by flaws inherent in free societies — uber-conservatives have gotten shockingly close to knocking social democracies from their place as how mature cultures govern themselves. Nothing scares uber-conservatives more than the future. If they could halt evolution itself, they absolutely would.

As their name suggests, conservatives want to conserve. Uber-conservatives want to conserve in the extreme. They really do want to live in the past — in a golden age of order (where they’re 100% in control of that order) that exists only in their minds. The uber-conservatives in America are SO terrified, it turns out, that they were even willing to risk the punishment that could result from attempting a soft coup d’etat.

So far, the Republicans have avoided punishment for their betrayal. When you’re that good at being corrupt, you’re also good at knowing how to keep from getting caught. They now stand squarely outside The Rule Of Law. Squarely outside of oversight. Squarely outside of punishment.

Or so they think…

In HG Wells’ “War Of The Worlds”, Martians take over Earth. They make very short work of our armies and armaments. They subdue us quickly and it looks like humans are in for a long patch of “terrible”. But then the Martians begin to die. Almost overnight, their incredible victory vanishes — and all because the Martians couldn’t handle earthly PATHOGENS.

Quick note to you anti-vaxxers — yes, it’s fiction, but the concept holds for any organism vulnerable to other organisms. Europeans didn’t subdue the native peoples’ of America, their pathogens did. If the Martians had done just a little more homework about the planet they were going to invade, perhaps they would have learned about — and planned for — earth’s pathogens.

Authoritarian China demonstrated by authoritarian government is terrible for human beings. The decision-making process is restricted to those at the very top and no one wants to be the bearer of bad news to decision-makers known for killing bearers of bad news. Every day that China dithered — afraid of offending those in power with the news that a deadly pathogen was on the loose — STALKING THEIR CITIZENS — the coronavirus spread.

Because no one was being quarantined yet, all those people who’d been exposed to the initial infection headed in different directions, potentially spreading the virus to everyone with whom they came into contact. The infection rate rose exponentially — and spread out to the four corners of everywhere else.

Now that we’ve started to actively contain the coronavirus — and find a vaccine for it — we can begin the process of actually neutralizing it as a global threat to human life. It will take time. Meanwhile — China is shut down. Considering all the goods it manufactures (on the cheap) and supplies to the rest of us, China shutting down has the very real potential to shut a giant piece of the world’s economy down.

Considering as the super-charged economy is Trump’s one positive (regardless of the fact, apparently, that the economy was already supercharged during the Obama years), should China’s economy grind to a near halt because of the coronavirus, then all the widgets China supplies won’t be available. That means the bigger product into which the widgets go — that can’t get finished now either.

As supply chains freeze or dry up — even if only for a short period of time — the impact will be ferocious — easily enough to throw our souped up economy into a profound stall. If that happens — and, with no moves left in our hand to effect the economy, Trump oversees a massive recession, even the stupidest journalist would have to give in — Trump will get blamed for being an incompetent and a traitor.

Wars are messy thing and we are most definitely in one. This is the first world wide Cyber War — World War Three, it will soon be known as. America’s election was attacked by a cyber-experienced Russian spy shop. How much control they have over this Frankenstein’s Monster — we don’t know yet.

But, we’re about to find out.

It’s perverse as hell to root for a nasty little pathogen over innocent humans. But, clearly, Big Ideas will not stop criminals from harming the rest of us. Hopefully Little single-celled organisms can rise to the challenge — and save us from ourselves.