Note: I don’t celebrate holidays. I feel the need to get the way before I go on my screed.
Thanksgiving is coming up and it could not come at a worst time in terms of Covid cases soaring in America. In my state, you cannot gather with another household at all now because our cases peaked at 7,500 cases in one day. I don’t think the strictures have gone far enough even though I understand why the governor had to walk the tightrope. I really didn’t like the press conference, however, because it was definitely targeted at the yahoos who refuse to wear a mask because ‘MURIKA FUCK YA!
To wit, he praised everyone for doing so much and emphasized how hard it was and how unfair it was. I don’t disagree with the latter, but I am not at all down with the former. So many people have flouted the rules and/or don’t think Covid is an actual thing. Then, he went on to emphasize that this four week restriction was going most definitely going to only be a month because the vaccine will certainly be ready to go by then.
I mean, what. But that wasn’t the worst of it. He ended by saying he knew that come April, we would be sitting in that Twins stadium maybe without a mask, sitting with your brother-in-law having a hot dog and a beer. There is so many things wrong with this statement. One, the fact that he was so positive about the timeline. It’s one thing to say something like ‘with the information we have, it’s likely’ or something similar. But he phrased it in a way that made it inevitable, which I think is a recipe for disaster. I know he wants to keep people’s spirits up, but that isn’t the way to do it.
Secondly, the whole situation is aimed specifically at a certain type of person. I’ll just be clear–the Covid deniers. That’s not something I would do even in the Before Times, and it make it very clear that the press conference was not for me. It was for the recalcitrant assholes who whine about freeeeeedum and personal choice. Mostly Republicans, but not all of them. There’s a thread in Ask A Manager’s weekend post about Thanksgiving and whether or not to travel for it. Most people came down on the side of not traveling, especially as many states have come out with no mixing households mandates.
There were more than a few people, however, who disagreed. They were thoughtful about it and said that it was up to each individual (or family) to assess their risks and be careful when comingling households. They pointed out how devastating the lockdowns/restrictions have been to the mental health of people. They were right about the latter part, but so very wrong about the former. It’s part of why we are where we are right now–the emphasis on individual choice.
My parents bring up Covid every time they call. They say that cases have to be down, right? They can’t understand why the numbers keep going up. Their country, Taiwan, has been the platonic ideal of how you should deal with a pandemic. I’ve had to tell them over and over again that the things that worked in Taiwan wouldn’t work in America for a variety of reasons, but the biggest one is because individual freedom/choice has become fetishized in this nation.
The fact that we have the mindset of individual choice is why we are here eight/nine months later. Yes, it’s also because of the asshole in the White House actively denying Covid and making fun of people who are trying to do the right thing. Also actively acting against the people’s best interest. I can’t help but think if Clinton had been elected, we would be in a much better place right now. To be clear, I’m not saying there wouldn’t have been a pandemic because there would have been. But the fact that the president refused to acknowledge it, had no plan to deal with it, actually dismantled a plan that did have a way to deal with it, and is still saying it’s overblown means that every chance along the way to stop this pandemic was blown straight through.
When I think that we’re nine months into this thing, I could cry. If we had all buckled down in the beginning and went on serious lockdown, things would look so differently now. I know there’s no political will for it, but sometimes, you have to do the right thing period. Now that we’re in an explosion, it may be too late. Governor Walz is getting constant shit from the conservatives for being too restrictive, which is why the steps he’s taken are so milquetoast in response to the explosion. To be fair, he did shut down youth winter sports, which is huge. I’m sure he got a lot of flack for that. And he restricted bars and restaurants to take-out. Also a good move. However, other stuff is just nibbling on the edges. Haircutters still open? Huh? Churches still open? Come on. He did shut down gyms, thankfully.
As someone who has been stuck inside since March, fuck all the deniers and the rules flouters. I’m not talking about the people who have to go to work, obviously, or take care of other people. I’m talking about the assholes who think their personal comfort is more important than public health. We’re all to blame, really, though, because we ceded the ground to the anti-science people ages ago. Saying every opinion is equal even when it’s not true. Climate change is real. How you feel about it is not relevant. It’s the same here. Covid is real. How you feel about it is not relevant. As for self-assessment, humans are notorious bad at assessing risks.
I want to say I do understand how hard it is for people in regards to isolation and mental health, but the solution is not to say fuck it and do what feels right (though I understand the impulse), but to say, what the fuck can we do in order to make sure this doesn’t drag out longer than it needs to? ‘Coz the thing is we can all find reasons in our minds why what we’re doing is ok, but the bottom line is a full lockdown is really what is needed. It’s not going to happen and I’m resigned to spending at least the next year inside my house, but I really wish we would at least consider it.