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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/3/21

Is This The New Normal?

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eedom' Handed to obsoletion Still you feed us lies from the tablecloth" - B.Y.O.B., System Of A Down

I am not supposed to be sitting at my computer right now. Instead, my wife and I are supposed to be headed to the Banc of California Stadium to see System Of A Down headline a concert that would also include Korn, Helmet, and Russian Circles. The show was originally supposed to take place on May 22, 2020, but then the world shut down and the show was rescheduled by one year. When the Delta variant intervened and the concert was postponed to October 22. Last night it was announced that System's singer, Serj Tankian, had tested positive for COVID-19 after exhibiting flu-like systems forcing another delay.

Had the show proceeded as re-planned, it would have been without the previously announced third headliner, Faith No More. Last month, Mike Patton, the singer of both Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, announced that he was canceling tour dates through the end of the year to deal with "mental health reasons" that were "exacerbated by the pandemic". Hopefully, the delay will give Patton the time to get himself well and the band will be added back to the bill.

With the exception of stadium employees, stage crew, and other workers who will feel the cancellation financially, the delay of the show is nothing but an inconvenience. This does not take away from the frustration that almost two years into this pandemic we have not been able to put it behind us. Science has given us the tools that we needed to emerge victoriously, but too many of us have decided that instead of waging war against the virus, this would become another battle in the culture wars. In doing so, the fragile feelings of anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers became more important than fighting for the common good. A country that rationed items needed for the war effort to beat Hitler and harnessed science to put a man on the moon now resists wearing masks and vaccinating themselves to control a virus. How far we have fallen.

While it is easy to lay the blame for 755,564 (and counting) American deaths at the feet of Donald Trump, he is not solely responsible for our failures. Yes, Trump downplayed the seriousness of the impending crisis and then peddled strange and unproven cures (to the same people who now question the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine developed using scientific standards). As the pandemic raged he hosted superspreader events that resulted in outbreaks. But the victims of these political crimes were not all innocent victims as many continue to willingly suspend acceptance of reality to buy into their Dear Leader's lies. Herman Cain still occasionally reaches from beyond the grave to deny the seriousness of the virus that allowed Trump to kill him.

Trump is also not the only politician to harvest support from those who have campaigned against taking the steps necessary to protect our communities. In Los Angeles, school board member Nick Melvoin and his astroturf organization, Speak Up, openly courted groups that sought to force schools to open their campuses before it was safe to do so even as the virus devastated BIPOC communities. Melvoin openly promoted a meeting with California Students United, a group that sued the LAUSD to force a reopening. Activists with differing opinions have been denied the opportunity to register for the event.

Next up on my schedule of concerts that were delayed because of the pandemic is Nightwish in London. My wife has already had to bow out of this bucket-list trip because of her health concerns, but I felt secure enough to book my tickets last week. This week the news out of London says that the virus is resurgent with the government unwilling to take the measures recommended by scientists to prevent the outbreak from getting worse. I guess I can take comfort that our country is not the only one failing in its responsibilities. At least I purchased the trip postponement coverage.

Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for students with special education needs and public education. He is an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and serves as the Education Chair. As a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action. Dr. Diane Ravitch has called him "a valiant fighter for public schools in Los Angeles." For links to his blogs, please visit Opinions are his own.

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Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, a member of the LAUSD's CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action endorsed him, and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a " (more...)

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