States that have ignored even the CDC's timid, watered-down "guidelines" are seeing the expected surge in infections. The politicians still proudly identifying as loyal Republicans are steadfast in their cheery denial that there is anything to be done about a pandemic spread by airborne germs, except go shopping and hang out in bars and restaurants. And twenty-thousand-seat political rallies. We know how to handle a virus. Call its bluff. That'll show it.
Meanwhile, as Tulsa braces for a convention that's certain to go down as a "super-spreader" event, we're being divided into two camps. One is for people who just don't believe there's a problem; Well, ok, only one camp. The other camp is all the normal, reasonably sane people -- most people.
But that's not what has me worried. If this lunatic fringe camp wants to ignore science and risk their own lives, they are like those bikers who refuse to wear helmets, and those gun "rights" yahoos that go to public political gatherings locked and loaded; mostly just loaded. They chose this. We tried to warn them.
No. I don't really believe that. Here's who I think they're like: the original people who drank the Kool-aid. They probably thought they were trying to help make a better world.
Here's the scary part about these rock-ribbed Republican loyalists: they know the numbers, they've polled and focus-grouped and Cambridge Analytica'd them to a fare-thee-well, and they know they are going to get away with this death-fest. They know they will not be held responsible for the inevitable, unnecessary tragedy, and they will win. And that's scary enough.
But more than that, they seem to believe there is never going to come a time when it's over, when people will start asking them just what the hell they thought they were doing. Questions like, "What were you thinking, when infections spiked after you lifted restrictions on public gatherings, like all the professional scientists warned you they would?"
They obviously believe they're never going to be asked such questions, ever. If they are, if some journalist manages to get the question out before being hustled from the room, they will have ready-made spin, about people so patriotic they lost their lives for a Cause. They may even hold memorial celebrations for the unfortunates who died in vain. To show they have not Died in Vain. That's probably been focus-grouped already, too.
People act on what they believe is going to happen. Followers of Jim Jones didn't think they were just going to die in agony from drinking cyanide. They thought something else awaited them. People have expectations, no matter how bizarre, that what they do will make things better, at least for themselves.
What mad vision of a future has so many powerful community leaders sabotaging a perfectly functional public health system, as was done so systematically and thoroughly by the current administration in the months and years before the pandemic struck? We knew it was coming. They knew. Scientists have been warning us for years. Until they were fired.
What is the world they think they are living into, that has them so gleefully sowing fear and hate and denial in a pandemic?
It isn't the one we're going to end up with. But they seem determined to get there, if they have to kill every last one of us trying.
(Article changed on June 19, 2020 at 01:32)