There’s an absolutely lovely light rain falling outside. The cloud cover is solid. Even though it’s 10 am in the morning, everything is wrapped in a blanket. It snapped cold again, curiously, dropping down to the fifties. It’s that mixture of cold days and hot days that you have to watch out for, because (as is becoming a theme of this blog), it means you have to watch out for tornadoes. I can’t help it. It’s ingrained in my personality, my upbringing. I’ve seen too much, had too many close calls. I will forever be a little edgy when the weather gets twistery.
I had a great chat with a friend of mine last night. He’d let me borrow his lawnmower, and I called him up to tell him he needed to pick it up soon, because the rain was coming, and I didn’t have a tarp to cover it with. I’d used it to cover my busted-out back window on my Altima (thanks, hail). He stopped by and we rapped about everything that’s been going on in the world lately, which means You Know What.
It’s so refreshing to talk to a normal person. Someone who is open to ideas, doesn’t have a huge personal stake in any of it, but who can listen and respond. It’s exhausting, sometimes even talking to (some of) my writer friends on the phone, how much they have to equivocate when they talk to me. Everything prefaced by “well, I don’t agree with everything you say, but…” as if anybody agrees with everything anyone says.
Anyway, he got the vaccine, because he figured “fuck it, why not.” He also said “hey, if you don’t have it, that’s none of my business. I got mine.” In so many words. Which is the reasonable, adult response to all of this. If the CDC says that a vaccine doesn’t reduce transmission, but strictly keeps you from experiencing the worst symptoms should you catch it, then there’s no reason to be upset if someone else doesn’t get it. The reasoning of “if everyone gets the vaccine, we can reach a herd immunity” doesn’t make any sense, because the vaccine companies and the CDC and Fauci have all explicitly said the vaccine doesn’t make you immune.
One thing I said to him that I’ll repeat here is that I hope no one that I care about ever finds themselves on the wrong side of an issue politically. I’m basically on the left when it comes to things like health care, immigration, and geopolitics. I naturally distrust authority in all of its forms. I think you should be kind and polite to people as a rule, only breaking the rule in case of emergency. I think diversity makes things better, but I also think that people are people, with all of the flaws that come along with that. However, starting early last year, I found myself on the “wrong side” of “the c*vid issue.”
The virus became a proxy fight about how you felt about Donald Trump, with everybody on the left deciding that this was the end of the world, and everybody on the right saying it was either “just a flu” or completely fake. Whenever things get that polarized that quickly, you know people are no longer using their brains.
The truth of the matter was somewhere in the middle, as per usual. C*vid didn’t kill anywhere near the amount of people the left thought it was going to by a factor of almost ten. On the other hand, it certainly wasn’t nothing either, with many people losing (sometimes multiple) loved ones in a short span of time, and others incurring lasting physiological and psychological damage. Again, not nothing.
For some people, life continued as normal for the past year, with the exception of having to wear a mask in Target. For others, they’ve been through a lot. It’s a broad spectrum of human experience.
As is the case with most of these blog posts of late, I don’t have a ton of time to fire this one off. However, I think I’ll outline a few key ideas that I’ll look at in more depth in the coming days. It’s important to articulate my thoughts on this past year, and it’s something I’m allowed to do, thanks very much.
Idea #1: Lockdowns killed more people than they helped. This ties into the one clear fact that I’ve seen run through every single thing I’ve read on this virus: it kills the elderly, and people with (usually between 3-4) comorbidities. Locking everyone down instead of isolating and protecting the vulnerable killed. This is true from NYC to Sweden. We see the numbers go up because, guess what? The dipshits in charge sent infected elderly patients out of the hospitals and back to their nursing homes, ostensibly to “protect” a demographic of people who didn’t need protecting (under 60, mostly healthy).
Idea #2: Lockdowns led to a class division that killed poor people. Many poor people didn’t get to lock themselves away in their apartments/homes. They had to be the delivery people/servants/essential workers for the Zoom class of middle- to upper-middle class people who refused to leave their homes. When combined with the point above (that many poor people have comorbidities, a class issue if ever there was one), the middle class and the wealthy refused to “do their part” in the pandemic, choosing instead to let the poor suffer and die. My contention is that if life had continued largely the same for most of the population (minus the elderly and immunocompromised) the virus would have ripped like wildfire through a population largely equipped to handle the illness, and yes, we would have reached a “herd immunity” well before the vaccine rollout. Instead, people with influence (rich liberals) got so scared that they decided to go full doomsday prepper, completely ignoring the material reality of the people they were leaving behind. We could have all been in this together, but oh well. This constituted an abandonment of the working poor, with the weak excuse that “the government should take care of it.” Yeah. Okay.
Idea #3: People retreated into complete fantasy. Somehow, you can stop an invisible aerosolized virus from getting into your body. If we all just somehow clamp down on a country of 330,000,000 people (a lot of them fiercely, stubbornly independent, and brainwashed by their favorite pundits) and use government aid to keep people financially afloat (again, a complete fantasy…do you even live in America, bro?) the whole thing will just go away. Never mind that it spreads quickly, and again, completely invisibly (this isn’t something like smallpox, which you can see and thus isolate accordingly)…this all had the air of people not wanting the thing to get inside of them, a contamination fear that, I’m going to be completely honest, I understand 100%. I don’t want that shit inside of me, either. However, as someone who has lived with OCD my whole life…you have to learn to live with these fears, and build up your body as much as you can (and are able) to deal with the problems as they come.
Again, I’ll delve into these more as time goes on. That’s enough for today.