Flattening the Curve(s)

Today, April 7, 2020 in the Covid-19 pandemic. While most states here in the U.S. have made official shelter-in-place orders, there are several that still have not. For those living in the states where the governors refuse to act in accordance with the irrefutable medical science which emphatically states stopping Covid-19 from spreading means staying home, maybe at least local mayors are using their brains to help save lives. And getting the public to shelter at home, only going out for necessary supplies once in a while–and then wearing face masks/bandanas and keeping at least 6 or more feet apart from others–clearly does work. The proof of this is that today, for the first day since the virus outbreak was started in China–likely in the Wuhan area–there has not been a single Covid-related death reported. I repeat, not a single additional death from Wuhan, the original epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

If only the U.S. could say the same. Not about to happen, as today, New York City recorded 731 deaths. Since the virus reached the Big Apple several weeks ago, it has suffered 3,202 Covid deaths. In comparison, back in China, where the virus was first reported back in late November or early December or thereabouts, it has reported 3,331 deaths. That’s China, folks, where 1.386 billion people call home. New York City has 8.6 million residents. These statistics are telling us a story. The narrative here is this corona virus can be stopped, if only people would be smart about deploying the stay home strategy very assiduously.

While the Chinese government at first tried to downplay the seriousness of Covid-19’s initial spread, when it realized that the virus was immune to magical thinking, and it was going to decimate the population if allowed to, it got real serious about not letting that happen. The Chinese officials locked-down the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, population 11 million. That order was put in place 76 days ago–Jan 23. And as noted, today not one new Covid death. Additionally, the residents of Wuhan are being allowed to go out again, with precautions of course.

The first diagnosed case of the virus here in the U.S. was January 21. On January 30, the World Health Organization (that’s a scientific organization, okay?) declared a GLOBAL HEALTH EMERGENCY. By the end of January, our President was given the grim projections on the Covid-19 deaths here in the U.S., estimated to be as much as hundreds of thousands. However, as with the initial Chinese response that downplayed the matter, the White House insisted that everything was under control. To this day, the day in which there has not been one new death in China because of the virus, our country’s “leader” still has not ordered a national shelter-in-place order. Thus, those several states–all so-called “red states”–that still don’t get it about what a seriously deadly matter this viral attack is. And by “red” state I’m not talking commies here. I’m talking Republican led states. Some “leadership” going on there–a deficit that is emboldened by blathering from a cartoon show masquerading as sober consideration from 1600 Mar-a-Lago.

However, I need not go on another screed about the national political party I have long referred to as Murder, Inc. GOP policies have been killing people for years. You should know by now that the GOP has fought against every piece of legislation that actually aims to serve everyone in the U.S (what a concept eh?). That would include, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, any attempt at universal healthcare, protecting women’s reproductive rights and on and on and on. So, why would they care about who dies from the Covid attack? And to put a fine point on my assertion of Murder, Inc., just today, the state of Wisconsin–with a Democratic Governor but a GOP run legislature–is conducting their scheduled primary. However, the governor tried to push the primary into May. The legislature acted in conjunction with the state’s GOP majority supreme court to rule the primary will take place today, with the matter also being quickly settled by our nation’s Supreme Court by–of course!–a 5-4 vote with all five votes for letting the primary go ahead being given by conservative, GOP lapdog justices.

See what I mean? In Wisconsin, the GOP says go out and vote. It may cost you your life, but obviously we Republicans don’t care about that. Why? As usual, the strategy works for them, and against any possible loss of Murder, Inc not calling the neo-liberal, let-them-eat-cake shots. You know, it’s a variation on Tony Montana/Scarface denoting the progression of achieving supremacy: first you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the woman. But the difference here is women don’t count at all with the GOP. Power and money gets their rocks off. Women? Several of those red states have used the coronavirus pandemic to pass draconian legislation to prevent a woman from getting an abortion, even if it is a matter of that woman’s life or death. The GOP is one hideously inhumane, greedy, creepy and morally corrupt crowd, whose “leader” admitted in front of a camera and microphone prior to his running for office, that he can use his celebrity when in the presence of a beautiful woman to “Grab ’em by the pussy”.

Then again, from our current cartoon character occupying the White House, from where he conducts a reality show akin to the corporate media-based one that gave him a smaller but significant stage, on down to local GOP office holders, I wonder: how do these political cretins ever get elected in the first place?

Well, one reason is their systematic implementation of voter suppression laws in those same red states–and mind you this red state/blue state political map of the country has taken shape for the last 40 years, given birth when Ronald Reagan was elected, ushering in the neo-liberal agenda that today has generated outcomes like the Wisconsin primary becoming a literal life-risking matter in order for its citizens to vote. But voter suppression is not the sole reason the GOP continues to wield its nefarious agenda. Another factor is the unabashed rigging of the judicial branch of our government. Again, as above with a right-wing court ordering Wisconsin’s primary to be held in spite of the obvious dangers that ruling entailed, and the anti-abortion laws being enforced in the face of this pandemic, as if the constitutional right for a woman to control her own body is nullified by the virus. The virus that–and yes to beat a goddam dead horse–that was not taken the least bit seriously by our Republican pussy-grabber when it was first documented by the W.H.O. And that because of this stupendous stupidity New York City has recorded virtually as many Covid deaths as the entire country of China–where it first ran rampant.

Do you see the self-stoking vicious circle that is in play here? Murder, Inc., Established in early November of 1980, when the American people went to polls and decided that Ronald Reagan was the best choice to lead our country. I will never forget the term “Reagan Democrats” denoting how many of the Donkey Party’s members went from blue to red. And for many of us, who lived through that upheaval of the political landscape, now living with the unprecedented political earthquake, a tectonic plate shattering, brace yourself against the wall, slap yourself in the face this-has-got-to-be-a-gothic nightmare event of November 8th 2016, bad done turned worse. Much, much worse.

How do enough people still actually vote for members of a political that overtly displays its contempt for any but the most wealthy and privileged? A party that–taking its cue from Reagan who famously warned us all that the government is the problem, not the solution–currently cannot provide any trace of leadership in the face of a life-altering, global catastrophe. A party whose policies serve the very, very few, even now in our communal hour of greatest need.

The pandemic is a matter of “flattening the curve”, as we have all been told. That curve gets flattened by people being officially told to STAY HOME. If the virus cannot continue to spread by close contact, medical science can get the upper hand all the sooner to resolve this life and death matter. That strategy has been shown to work, not just in Wuhan, but in others places, including Singapore, Austria and Germany. Here in the U.S., California, a very blue state whose governor early on saw that the federal government was pretty much useless, has become a model for flattening the curve. Yeah, let’s flatten that curve, okay? It’s the SMART thing to do. Stay home as much as possible. To not do so is pretty stupid. Can’t beat the virus by being stupid. Stupidity won’t flatten the curve (hello, red state mopes taking its cue from Idiot Number One).

There’s a second curve–akin to the corona virus curve–that needs to be flattened. And that curve is–what else?–the Stupidity Curve. What does this curve look like? Well, it is far, far from being flattened. It has been slowly spiking for decades, leading to why Republican con artists of every rank and file keep getting elected. Seriously, tens of millions of voters keep voting against their best interests. The 1% that controls almost all of the power and wealth in this country have been put in place by millions of voters being stupid enough to be conned. As if the GOP supporters, most of whom are working class, who need healthcare, education, economic opportunity, safe drinking water (recall the GOP led Michigan officials essentially poisoning the Flint, Michigan water supply to–what else?–save money for their corporate backers) breathable air and other basic human rights, can’t discern fundamental right from wrong.

We will, eventually, flatten the Covid-19 curve, here and around the world. In spite of the noted stupidity displayed by those who have the power to help, but choosing not to be much help at all. To prevent having such sinister and cynical, incompetent and corrupt government, here and elsewhere, people need to make smarter choices about who they support to govern. I don’t know about this Stupidity Curve getting flattened anytime soon. Maybe stupidity is a disease too. Is there a cure for stupidity? And don’t say education. Lots of people with a college degree or two choose to vote against their own self-interest.

I keep hearing about how great it will be to get back to normal. Really? Hmm. I believe what was supposedly “normal” prior to our current apocalyptic looking everyday life, is what created this medical and political mess in the first place. Please, let’s create a better, smartly maintained normal when this passes. It should take not an Einsteinian I.Q. to figure out the good from the bad. It shouldn’t take too much brain power to see right from wrong, in each’s most basic characteristics.

In theory anyway.

P.S.: the Democratic Party isn’t exactly free of some complicity in the aforementioned leadership vacuum. Murder, Inc. the DNC is not. More like Status Quo, LLC.

Just so you know…

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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2 Responses to Flattening the Curve(s)

  1. The stupidity curve isn’t going to end anytime soon. I read recently that 29% of Americans can’t find the Pacific Ocean. No wonder some people can say, “Trump is the best president this country has ever had.” Trump is a lying, ignorant, hate-filled, misogynistic, xenophobic, bigoted want-to-be-dictator. He has done nothing good for this country. The US has lost all credibility and is the laughing stock of the world.
    Trump is the worst possible president to have during this time when leadership is desperately needed.


  2. A democracy that holds an in-person election as a pandemic is peaking is a farce. Welcome to the banana republic…


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