Lessons from the Pandemic
We better friggin' learn something from this friggin' mess
The coronavirus has provided us with many hard lessons – lessons about things that we should have probably known in the first place. There will be plenty more lessons to come as we, because of a complete lack of competent national leadership in 2020, blindly stumbled through this mess on our own – but here’s what we have learned so far….
- First of all, getting vaccinated or wearing a mask minimizes the paths the virus can take reduces the chance for mutations – so get fucking vaccinate and wear a fucking mask – it’s fucking patriotic.
- Mother Nature doesn’t take sides
- Scientists don’t lie
- Science is not a hoax
- Science is not a hoax so therefore Climate Change science is not a hoax
- Certain media outlets are not creating hysteria when they report what science is saying
- Certain media outlets are lying to you and often harming you when they claim other media outlets are creating hysteria by reporting what science is saying
- The economy depends on a healthy and employed workforce much more than it depends on Wall Street
- Because of the false vaccine and mask-wearing debates, we now know how far certain people will go to divide us – they are just as happy to kill us as they are to divide us…
- It is clear that we need a competent and engaged government more than we were led to believe
- When the government is run by incompetent opportunists, they will exploit their citizens (sometimes to death) instead of protecting them
- Grandstanding and rhetoric may be fun and appealing but it is boring truth and competent leadership that will actually save your life
- Ignoring or firing experts is a very bad thing
- We can’t vote with our fingers crossed
- You can’t be a president by keeping your fingers crossed
The Leadership Lesson
Time will tell if we turn the unneeded deaths and the crushed economy into a wake-up call. If we choose to, we can re-evaluate the lack of attention we have given to our country and to facts and then look at what that inattentiveness has done to us and to our future. We can reconsider our allegiances and think about those who have slowly led us to this place, giving us their answers, not the answers.
The GOP was more than incompetent on the pandemic. They were actively making it worse – from the presidency on down – with misinformation, creating a competitive atmosphere between states, and pushing for reopening as the pandemic intensified. When they weren’t ignoring and even firing pandemic experts, they were hiring obedient and fraudulent experts. Their inactions and their specific actions greatly increased the deaths and the permanent harm done to many of our friends and family. Less importantly, but just as avoidable, is the damage they have inflicted on our economy. Some of the GOP finally gave in as the pandemic spun further and further out of control, but most either dug in their heels or simply stopped talking about it. They have gone out of their way to do all of this. They barely offered any explanation for their actions but here are some possible reasons:
- The need to act tough for some of their constituents
- Fear of ignoring President Trump’s suggestions and pissing off even more of their constituents
- Avoiding a short-term drop in the economy (like we’ve never had a drop in the economy before)
- The need to paint liberals as taking away our personal liberties (again)
- The need to disparage science (not all science, just the politically annoying science)
- The GOP gave up on governance and policy years ago
- They are simply incompetent or greedy or a lethal combination of both
Whether it is healthcare removal, climate denial, or tax break illusions, we have seen obvious Republican indifference toward the well-being of anyone who is not a multi-millionaire. The pandemic has shown exactly how little they care about us and how little they will do to protect us. The deaths of over 600,000 Americans and a devastated working class are merely components of the Republicans’ political calculation to stay in power. There was very little pushback against President Trump’s inaction. To the shock of doctors and the medical community, they continued to actively or passively enflame the mask-wearing debate, greatly increasing the spread of the virus and the chances for mutations. The lesson here is that in the eyes of the GOP, regardless of your political view, political donations, race, religion, age, gender, etc. you are expendable.
A Bigger Lesson
The coronavirus pandemic is also a stark warning of what is going to happen when climate change takes its toll. Climate change is more than just high water levels and bad storms. Warmer weather is allowing more and more microbes, parasites, and unseen pests to survive through the winter, allowing them to expand their numbers and their range during the warm seasons.
Stopping the coronavirus will be hard enough but it will be child’s play when compared to stopping and reversing climate change.
More catastrophic weather, increases in diseases, less food, forced migrations, and collapsing economies all lead toward uninhabitable land which then leads to wars. If you think the economy and “our way of life” is taking a hit because of the coronavirus then just wait until the prolonged effects of climate change start to kick in. Stopping the coronavirus is proving to be hard enough, but it will be child’s play when compared to stopping and reversing climate change.
The disengaged and grossly uninformed Trump thought climate change (like the coronavirus) was a hoax while the grossly corrupt GOP didn’t, and continues to, not care. The way they acted during this pandemic reveals much about them and their priorities. They have spent many years avoiding the nuisance of policymaking and have focused on using showmanship to hide their greed. Even in the face of mass deaths and a crumbling economy, the GOP still uses charades, manipulations, divisiveness, and lies to counter and even hinder compassion and useful action. As usual, they continue to ignore the truth of data, math, and science. Instead, their actions are based on vague ideologies that are nothing but excuses to increase the power and wealth of themselves and their corporate cronies.
We have been watching for decades as the window to save ourselves closes. That window continues to close while we are distracted by this pandemic. Will there be enough time when we are finally able to act? Will we act at all? Assuming we work our way out of this pandemic mess, we should be able to jump-start the economy by making a massive push to clean up the environment, fix the food supply, smartly update our infrastructure, rethink the offshoring of labor, rework healthcare, and of course, figure out climate change (and do it fast). These things don’t cost money – they make money.
As the saying goes hindsight is 20/20. Will 2020 be the year that we took a good look at what a select few individuals have done to us and our planet? Will we hold them accountable?
- Without realizing it, prolonged fear or angst makes us retreat to the safety of the people who are familiar to us. Importantly, it therefore also pushes us away from anyone that is different than us – not just the initial source of our fear. Because fear is responsible for keeping us safe, it makes us highly reactive, reducing our ability to reason and properly evaluate our world. We become defensive and begin to see “others” as evil and even as existential threats.
- Having low self-esteem causes us to subconsciously look down on others in order to feel better about ourselves. Low self-esteem and fear work hand-in-hand – when we have low self-esteem we are more susceptible to fear. When we believe there is more to fear then our self-esteem is further diminished – a dark and dangerous spiral.
- When we suffer from low-self esteem we can become vulnerable to charismatic leaders who promise us that they will fix everything. They can easily fan the flames, making us even weaker and driving us even more toward them. They satisfy many of our subconscious needs so we see them as our savior, we emulate them, and we ignore their evil ways.
- Fear and low self-esteem can also drive us to associate ourselves with groups of people like us or who are suffering as we are. Groups often become part of our identity and give us meaning, and because of this, we are constantly conforming to the group in order to maintain our meaning.
- Research has shown that those that self-identify as conservatives are more likely to have a more active amygdala (our brain’s physiological fear processor) resulting in, among other things, their increased likelihood to recoil from and exclude others.
- People often double down on their position when presented with opposing information or ideas (typically referred to as “motivated reasoning”). This tendency is exacerbated by fear, low self-esteem, and attacks on our beliefs, leaders, groups, etc.