As my wife Christina would say: “What are we doing here?”
With almost no ability to agree on anything anymore, one thing that all sane, lucid Americans would concur on is that we have done deep, intense, and devastating damage to our psyches this past year. We’d never agree on whose fault that is, what should or shouldn’t have been done, or pretty much anything else, but we’d all agree that we’re far from knowing the full mental, emotional, and psychological damage we’ve done to our society as a whole. And then there’s the children…Jesus, what we’ve done to our children…
So, given that, can we just stop with the terrible and the fear and the “things are never ever going to get better?”
We will no doubt never again be like we were one year ago…but things will get better than this; if we allow them to, but we don’t even let ourselves be happy, positive, joyful, or hopeful about anything at all anymore. Not as a collective.
Remember the dreaded “Holiday Surge?” We were all told not to have the audacity to spend Christmas and New Year’s with family and friends. Endless messages included asinine tag lines like “stay apart this year so we can all be alive next year.” And yet, we still traveled. We traveled in record setting numbers for 2020 with more than a million people flying every single day for 10 days in a row!! Oh, the humanity!!!
This horrified the almighty experts. Endless dire predictions came hurtling at us of a holiday surge caused by all of the travel, indoor blending of multiple households, and irresponsible behaviors like hugging people we loved. Hospitals would be overrun; it would be worse than it was in April, and July, and September COMBINED!!!
And yet, this weekend, it was revealed that it never happened. Not to the extremes we were all told were inevitable. Not even close.
Now, that might seem hard to believe if you’ve spent anytime watching or reading news or social media, but that doesn’t change the facts of the matter. As reported by none other than “The Washington Post,” one of the nation’s largest newspapers and a first-class cheerleader of panic porn as it relates to Covid:
The United States (has) avoided the worst-case coronavirus scenarios that officials feared would overwhelm hospitals in the aftermath of Christmas and New Year’s gatherings…Hospitals had braced for enormous spikes in patients that could have forced rationing care, exhausted already limited beds and sparked a nationwide shortage of health-care workers. But officials across the country said those dire predictions — a wave of severe Christmas cases weeks after a rapid increase from Thanksgiving — did not materialize.”
Other than Los Angeles, which is a Covid disaster zone on every level, this report mirrors what people in the health care industry around the country have been saying out loud to anyone who would listen; no biggie…shoulder shrug…this is what it’s like every other year when flu season spikes…we’re used to it.
This should be celebrated. Christ, it’s a miracle it’s even being reported! But, lest you think this is a positive thing, don’t you dare! Don’t for one second think that maybe we’ve finally achieved some level of herd immunity to build on. Don’t even begin to believe that there’s any sort of light at the end of the tunnel because that light is actually a train bearing down upon us ready to end every one of us! In that same story, first paragraph, they make sure that you stay as terrified as you must:
After starting the article reporting that “The United States (has) avoided the worst-case coronavirus scenarios that officials feared would overwhelm hospitals in the aftermath of Christmas and New Year’s gatherings…” they immediately threw cold water on any inkling you had to, for even one moment, let some weight lift off of you:
“But experts caution that the threat from the virus has not diminished and could intensify with the emergence of new variants.”
In fact, the overwhelming body of the article is dedicated to more dread, fear, and foreboding:
“Hospital leaders and experts are still on edge. Variants of the coronavirus…could result in further case spikes in cold weather months when people are more likely to be indoors. And the availability of the vaccine, while offering lifesaving protection to millions, could also lead to a false sense of complacency, particularly as it can be difficult to obtain… The American Hospital Association says “No one should be fooled that we are in an easy period right now,” said Nancy Foster, the group’s vice president…“The cold hard data says we were on the brink in many places, many communities across the country.”
Well of course we’re on the brink…we have to be. All of the time. Death, sadness, despair has to be right around the corner all of the time because it sells…and it controls.
It isn’t just Covid, either.
Just in the last few weeks, we saw then President-Elect Biden call for calm and unity as the capitol was stormed in a true moment of leadership…and 24 hours later, he pissed all over it by reminding the nation that we are divided on the issue of race in ways we haven’t been in nearly 50 years. So much for unity.
Then, last week, President Biden gave what some people, including conservatives, called “the best inauguration speech they’d ever heard,” in which he offered hope, optimism, and a coming together of all sides. 24 hours later he spent 20 minutes telling us that the dark winter was still coming, and that we should expect the total to rise to 600,000 dead Americans before spring. So much for hope and optimism.
Like always, that’s not a political observation; it’s one of common sense. Every single thing that has any sort of a positive tinge to it has to immediately be shat upon.
There’s nothing hypocritical about this, by the way. While yes, I have spent the last 10 months warning against getting your hopes up and endlessly trying to prepare you for the reality of the days ahead of us, I have also stressed how important it is to enjoy good news and happy moments.
Fewer dead and hospitalized Americans than expected is a good thing. Let us have it. Calls for unity and calm are good…repeat them, and act on them. And for the love of god…in the word’s of Reverend Lovejoy’s wife, Helen, on the Simpson’s: “Won’t somebody please think of the children?”