Tag Archives: pandemic

Virus Control

The virus is out of control. People are dying every day. Hospital beds are being taken. Emergency rooms are dealing with death on a regular basis. Different state governors have different approaches. One state says, ” No problem”; another state says “Yikes, we have to do something.” There is no consensus as to what must be done.

The federal government has given up. Not my problem is the message from the White House. I take no responsibility. So says our commander -in-chief. The buck stops THERE, not here.

And, to make it worse, now there is a covid-19 pandemic to boot.

Oh, you thought I was talking about covid-19. Nope. I wasn’t.

I was talking about the never ending virus of gun violence. But I understand the confusion.

You see, the federal government at the very top is handling the covid-19 pandemic the same way they have handled the gun violence epidemic. The same mentality that has allowed the destruction of life in our cities by guns is now allowing the destruction of life by virus. Same game plan.

When you see the two crises side by side the parallels are stunning. In just one half of one year we have lost over 130,000 lives to the virus. And counting. Since 9/11 we have lost around 700,000 lives to gun violence. And counting. You remember 9/11? When 3,000 Americans lost their lives and the US government went into an emergency mode of WW2 proportions. Those 3,000 deaths became a battle cry for jailing thousands of innocent people, completely rethinking air travel and an excuse to go to war in Iraq.

But, as for guns and the virus? No problem. There are defined by the White House as a “state” issue. States must deal with them. Chicago is condemned as the center of gun violence. But most guns involved in crime in Chicago come from Indiana. Lax gun laws. Same with NY. Most guns come from the states where you can buy a gun as easy as you can a condom. (Well, you have to be 18 to buy a condom in Alabama, but if your daddy says it is ok, you can buy a gun at any age).

States cannot control their borders. If guns or a virus want to cross state lines they do so with impunity. Mississippi guns find their way into Massachusetts. Covid-19 infections from Florida will eventually find their way into New Jersey. Decisions made by governors and citizens with their heads up their asses end up destroying lives in states where governors are doing their best to keep people safe.

That is the fundamental failure of the Articles of Confederation. Because in reality, at this time in US history, we have reverted back to the Articles. You recall that from your 7th grade US history class? The failed system of colonial independence that sought to keep all power in the hands of the individual states . (Read that: In the hands of the elites who controlled the voting and finances of each state). It could not work. It did not work. That failure was the very reason for the adoption of the US Constitution in the first place. To have a central organizing body, especially in times of emergency. To coordinate responses to national problems.

So, there is only one solution to the covid-19 crisis. It is the same as the solution to the crisis of gun violence. It is a national attack on the problem. State borders cannot stop the viruses. Either of them. Only a national solution will work.

Until the same people who claim to venerate the flag understand what the flag stands for, a “United” States, we will never stamp out the deadly viruses. Only keep passing them on to our neighbors. And onto the next generation. Until and unless that happens, the buck will always stop THERE.

 

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Filed under Constitution, Economy, government, Politics, POTUS, Society, United States, US

Forget About It

When I taught high school, like almost all high school teachers, I needed to supplement my income. Like many teachers I volunteered to coach a variety of sports. I say “volunteered” because often the hourly wage was pretty minimal. But, still, it helped pay the bills.

One of the key ideas I tried to impart to the kids was that we all make mistakes. You will hit the rim and miss the shot. You will take a third strike instead of swinging the bat. You will commit a foul in the penalty area. You will simply do the wrong thing. Sometimes physically. Sometimes mentally.

Micheal Jordan, perhaps the best basketball player ever to walk onto a court, missed about 50% of his shots. He seemed to make the shot at the crucial time, but he missed plenty as well. He failed half the time.

I saw the major icon of soccer, the great Pele, in person in Rochester, New York in the 1970s. He was playing for the New York Cosmos. Pele had his shot stopped by the Rochester Lancers keeper on the modified penalty kick. He walked up to the keeper and shook his hand.

Bottom line. Everyone fails sometimes. The point is not the failure, but what happens next.

I tried to impress on my teams that they needed to forget, immediately forget, any mistake they had made. Forget about it. Then go on and do what you are supposed to do. Get back on track. We can analyze later. In the middle of the game is no time to feel bad or become dislodged from the task at hand.

Maria Jones (not her real name) was my best goal scorer. On Tuesday she missed a penalty kick that would have tied the match. We lost. As fate would have it, on Friday, the next match, we were again awarded a penalty kick. The team looked over to the bench. Who should take the kick? I yelled out that Maria should. She put it in the back of the net and we won the game (I think we won 2 that year). I knew her mental state. I knew that she was able to forget about it and get the job done.

Which brings us to May 25, month number 5 of the Covid-19 pandemic. A lot of people have screwed up. Made mistakes. Done the wrong thing. Governor Cuomo waited too long to institute stay at home orders. Lives were lost. Mayor DeBlasio of New York city was even slower to respond. The Trump administration was unprepared and waited way too long to close borders. And coordinate a national response.

We could go on and on and second guess what SHOULD have happened. A recent study shows that over 30,000 lives could have been saved if the USA had just acted one week earlier to shut down non-essential services. Mistakes were made. Mistakes are always made.

As Judge Judy says: Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

It matters not. What does matter is the now. What are we doing now? It’s never too late to act. The game is hardly over.

We need a national response. We need states to coordinate. We have Texas and Florida and Georgia and California all going their own way. The team, which should be working together, is breaking apart. Where is the coach?We need national, enforceable guidelines for essential and non-essential services. We need help for the 40,000,000 plus unemployed. We need testing. The lack of focus is causing us to make the same mistakes again. And again.

We need to move on. Ignore what happened in January of March or early May. Where are we now? Where do we need to go. What comes next? What’s the plan?

Mr. Trump, you missed the penalty kick. But the game is not over. Place the ball carefully on the penalty spot. Take a deep breath. You missed it last time. Forget about it. Step up and blast it into the back of the net.

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Filed under Economy, government, governor, healthcare, NYC, Politics, president, Society, Trump, United States