Well, it's that time of year again-- in this case, 58 trips around the sun since the Cuban missile crisis and when TD Mom gave birth to me. And an unusual birthday in that I'm sure I'll get telephonic and electronic greetings, but any kind of personal contact beyond my immediate household will continue to be Covid-45 verboten. Anyway, it seems a nice time to take a little stock of where we are, roughly a week before an election that is preposterously close (i.e. Donald J. T-Rump is even in the same planet, having killed over 230,000 Americans and all and cost over 80 million their jobs at some point this year). I mean, let's face it: the incumbent president and his ruling party have been responsible for the single worst debacle in the living memory of this country, and given the magnitude of suffering when weighed against its utter pointlessness, I would argue the worst debacle in this country's history, period.
We can start with "SuperSpreaderMan" himself. Mr. Trump managed to get himself infected after flouting every conceivable recommendation against spreading and contracting a deadly virus that has now killed over 230,000 and infected over 8.5 million Americans it is theoretically his job to protect. We note his own absurdly irresponsible words upon emerging from hospitalization where, as President, despite only paying $750 in taxes himself, he received insanely world class care of a team of presumably dozens of doctors, nurses and other professionals, a helicopter ride to his own wing of a hospital and a bevy of cutting edge and experimental drugs not available to the public or even anyone else. Specifically, the Patient Zero in Chief...
“Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it,” Trump said in a recorded video message. “We’re going back, we’re going back to work. We’re going to be out front. ... Don’t let it dominate your lives. Get out there, be careful.”
Quite a nice message to the millions who have lost loved ones and/or are suffering from the virus themselves right now, or to the tens of millions who have lost their jobs, their businesses, their health insurance, their savings, and might be facing eviction or foreclosure.
But then, does American Exceptionalism get more on brand than this? We all know that money makes America go round, and by money, we mean money in the hands of the only people who matter, our beloved oligarchs. And so, famously, 643 billionaires in the USA had their wealth increase by $845 billion during the pandemic, while at the same time, over a 31% decline in 2d quarter GDP, or put another way, over 84 million unemployment claims filed since the pandemic started in an economy where the US work force was around 164 million workers as of last February. That means literally the majority of US work force has had job disruption in just the last seven months (some people have had more than one disruption, to be sure). Which in turn leads to a coming eviction crisis, with something like 30-40 million tenants (or is it families?) facing eviction in the coming months. And some huge portion of commercial rents are behind (sourcing is a little harder thanks to paywalls and all-- but trust me on this). Numerous ancient and famous retailers and others have filed for bankruptcy, many down for the count.
We can of course, throw in the raw human misery of the death and illness caused by the pandemic itself. Charmingly, because they get all the other shit in this society, people of color have taken an ungodly disproportionate hit from the coronavirus.
'According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native people had an age-adjusted COVID-19 hospitalization rate about 5.3 times that of non-Hispanic white people. COVID-19 hospitalization rates among non-Hispanic Black people and Hispanic or Latino people were both about 4.7 times the rate of non-Hispanic white people."
This could be the result of being "essential" (meaning not valued) workers, or living in crowded congregate settings, or generally having less access to quality health care, or some unknown genetic factors, or of course, some combination of all of the above, but it helps with the narrative for our majority white population to go out and party because, after all, they probably won't suffer and die from it and all.
In other words, the coronavirus pandemic, now raging for over 7 months here in the USA, has basically shown itself to be an incredible catalyst to advance all of the awful trends that were already in play in the USA! The already obscenely rich get even more obscenely wealthy, whereas the vast bulk of people get fucked. To be fair, they not only aren't rich in this allegedly exceedingly rich country, but, live in a country where even before the pandemic four out of five workers were living paycheck to paycheck. Even a significant percentage of higher income workers are in this predicament, again, BEFORE the pandemic.
So, the pandemic has just reflected the kind of America that America is, only moreso.
I have no grand illusions that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be in a position to magically restore much of anything, assuming (as I must do to preserve my own sanity) that they will be elected in a landslide, along with a majority Democratic Senate and House of Representatives. That my birthday present this year will almost certainly include super-fascist "Justice" Amy Coney Barrett just adds to the cognitive dissonance. Hopefully this will be remedied early in the Biden Administration with several new Supreme Court Justices, but institutional inertia dies hard, especially since Biden was installed by the party poobahs as the nominee precisely because he was unlikely to shake things up.
But things kind of have to be shaken up. See above.I mean, tenuous OK-ness here in TD land-- thanks to the divinity of your choice, we are all still healthy, all still employed, the Loquacious Pup advancing in her senior year of college (how can that be!) We wish you well wherever you are. But we do have dear friends who have suffered mightily (some have lost loved ones) to this deadly virus. Which looks like it is making itself comfortable here for a while. Hopefully, a certain "President," otoh, had better start packing soon.
Really, just get me that. I don't need anything else, this birthday of the plague year.