Think About It: An impossible year, part II

“Would there even be a place for contemplation and peace during a year that promises swarms of competing ideologies, social cultures and political pandering mixed with promises of intolerance?”

So begins my first column of 2020, named “Impossible Year,” which appeared Jan. 1, 2020, as a faintly optimistic but realistic prediction of the year as said in the column’s parting words:

“So, I, we must stay with it and not let weariness wear us down or mind-bending alternate facts stall us in a state of anger. There are big jobs to be done that won’t get done if we hold our nose or breath for a year.

2020 is a key election year and will determine our ability to balance progress and build our future for years well past 2020. Regardless of what the president, other elected officials and psychics say, the year belongs to all us. We have a stake and role in destiny and how we get there.”

Clearly the answer to the question I raised is no. Not only does the president not allow for a moment of peace, we and the rest of the world were hit in early 2020 by a giant rock of pandemic death that would splash into the midst of our unsettled time and expose an ever greater level of arrogance, ignorance, incompetence and ugly politics that to this day holds back solutions to control the spread of a highly contagious virus.

It was four, six, eight or 10 weeks before a little more than half of us understood the dangers of the coronavirus and its disease COVID-19, the timing depending on how strong and long held one’s denial was or is.

Absurdity

Some people still deny the virus’ virulence and capacity to kill in a strange if not absurd belief of having superior thought over centuries of scientific thought that effectively overcame contagions.

Here are recent examples over the airways:

A nice looking man in his 40s says, “I’m not going to wear a mask for anyone’s comfort.”

Well, that’s pretty clear.

A woman says to radio talk host in what seems a statement to debunk wearing masks: “The virus can get into your body three ways: mouth, nose and eyes. Masks don’t cover eyes.”

Host pounds his desk in support of her “astute” anti-mask argument.

Apparently, she’d been thinking about it enough to go on national radio, but not enough to care how stupid she sounds or wonder at the consequences of wearing masks over eyes.

Finally, big-shot radio talk host claims, “The virus will cease to be an issue on November 4, the day after the election. Dems will no longer care about the issue.”

The host is obviously from the contingent of people that believe the coronavirus and COVID-19, more than 5 million cases and more than 160,000 deaths is a Democratic hoax.

Or maybe he means that Dems will become like him after the election and not care?

Then there’s the president assertion that, “(The pandemic) will end … It will, you will see and learn that I am right.”

I struggle to find a rationale for that statement or belief. It could be the president continues to believe the pandemic is a Democratic hoax. After all, he is the one who first gave that excuse for not taking action to control the spread.

Clearly, the president has lost interest in the pandemic and, I gather sadly, in the thousands of people dying from COVID-19. Public health officials were the first to say it would end and the sooner, the better — but it required proactive and focused research and implementation of strategies of prevention, controlling spread, remedies and vaccines.

Yawn … it will end, why worry?

Who among us will not live to see the end of the pandemic? Or our granddaughter’s wedding? Or have our most loved person with us when we die?

Living in a nightmare

If I seem a bit testy, it’s only because I am. I am very angry at the callous disregard for suffering and life but won’t be stalled by it. I did not want to come to this party. How is it that many Americans are following a president and a party that seems to not care if they live or die?

The president’s sole contribution to managing the U.S. pandemic about which he reminds us all frequently is shutting down travel from China (well … almost) while ignoring a more virulent virus arriving from Europe on the East Coast.

He famously dismisses his public health experts if they give anything but the most optimistic news.

The president is a reluctant participant in any pandemic solutions for America. He — now infamously — ignored a national solution and laid all the burden of the pandemic on 50 individual states on their own.

Thinking about it, I’m sure the president gets bored but I observe that when challenged his first and only response is to angrily fight another person, group or agency to destruction.

The president invites us daily into the chaos in his head and forces us to live the consequences as he strikes out in tantrums of manipulation, if not self-justification. The horror of it is that he can’t or won’t be stopped by his party.

We know Republicans don’t want affordable and accessible health care or to fund public education. But …

Who knew they would support sabotaging the postal service?

Who knew they would sacrifice thousands of people by doing nothing to insist on measures to stop the spread of the most virulent virus we’ve seen in our country in more than 100 years?

Instead, the Republican party continues to make the deadly mistake of supporting this president’s chaos to the point of allowing innocent people to die preventable deaths.

Do they not know American people have enough problems without taking on the president’s personal problems?

Bertha Cooper, featured columnist in the Sequim Gazette, spent her career years in health care administration, program development and consultation. Cooper and her husband have lived in Sequim more than 20 years. Reach her at columnists@sequimgazette.com.

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