Friday, May 15, 2020

A public service message for my blocked Facebook friends

Hi, do you hate being locked down? Does it feel super un-American that you can’t eat at McDonald’s or go to church? Are you willing to sacrifice every vulnerable human being on earth so you can get regular haircuts? If so, I think it's important that you direct your righteous rage to the right place.

This was always a tough situation. With a super-contagious and deadly virus on the loose, it was inevitable that we all be “socially isolated” for some period of time. Lots of us—you, too, as I recall—were willing in March to do that for several weeks, since it was literally the only way to save millions of lives. That was supposed to give the federal government, under the advisement of its PREVIOUSLY SUCCESSFUL VIRAL PANDEMIC PLAN and REALLY SMART PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS, time to get the virus under control.

Instead of trying to do that, the Trump administration:
  • Tossed out the pandemic plan, having already tossed out the pandemic team
  • Put Trump in front of cameras daily to congratulate himself, raise the projected death toll he was absolutely fine with, and “be sarcastic” about our health options
  • Hoarded medical supplies
  • Pitted states against each other to make it harder to get medical supplies
  • Actually stole supplies, but apparently only from blue states
  • Fired or tried to silence their remaining experts
  • Lied about everything and discredited journalists trying to tell the truth
  • Failed to put out even a consistent messaging about what we all should do
So now it’s mid-May, and we're in the same situation we were in March. (Except a little better, because we now know that we’ll be in much better shape if everyone simply wears masks! Which you also refuse to do!) But nothing remotely useful has happened on the federal level, so we have the same two crappy choices: Stay locked down or millions die. With no end in sight.

We ALL hate this. I have it pretty good, all things considered, but I’m temporarily living away from my family because of coronavirus, so rest assured that I hate it, too. But you have to try to understand that we’re not here because states and communities are taking the “save millions of lives” option—that’s the obvious choice, and you’re a monster if you disagree (guess that’s why you’re blocked!). No, we’re here because Trump was too vain to even admit we had a problem and too stupid to know what to do about it. We’re here because lying is his default position and it seemed a lot easier than trying.

It was never going to be easy to fix this; I don’t know what the country would have been like right now if someone else had been in charge. But Trump has done the worst job imaginable, and I am with you in your frustration. But if you’re going to vent and rage, direct it to him. And if you’re planning to exert your “right” to go toast your temporary good health in a crowded bar, please go back to venting and raging, because a lot of other people have the right to not be killed by you.

Saturday, May 9, 2020


Hello I am still trying very hard not to complain about my privileged personal situation, but I honestly wasn’t emotionally prepared for a level of government malfeasance and societal insanity that means I might have to stay locked down LITERALLY UNTIL A VACCINE IS DEVELOPED. I already did NOT want to get this virus—I guess I’m not one of those people who hears “just a bad flu” and thinks, “Well, dandy, that sounds FINE!”—but it’s so horrifying that nobody really knows what it does to survivors long term. If you’re an elite athlete who gets this, your career is maybe over. If you have a stroke, your life as you know it is maybe over. Will your kidneys ever be the same? God only knows.

Of course existence is unpredictable and nobody lives forever and nothing is guaranteed and afterlife and Stoicism and quantum physics and whatever, but it makes me so mad that the federal government hasn’t done a single useful thing during all this time when most of its citizens have dutifully done their best and tried to stay optimistic and waited for help. Instead we get chaos, discord, disinformation, kickbacks for the rich, and “Well, people in hell want icewater, too.”

If you’ve guessed that I’m feeling rather madder than usual at the Trump supporters enabling all this, you’d be right. My feeling is that to simply BE his supporter you’d have to believe that what the rest of us call “news” is a lie and that therefore it’s fine to believe whatever you can find on the internet. It’s so personally offensive to me—as a former cog in the machine that produced news—to hear disgusting generalizations about the evils of “the mainstream media” as if it were one unified entity and not human professionals I know named Laura and Brian and Karron and Karen making a long series of informed decisions as part of their damned jobs.

Will my relationship with people who refuse to join us here in reality ever be the same? That’s maybe over. More casualties.