Gaping gaps

Dear President Trump,

This next phase of the covid-19 crisis is clearly high stakes and fraught – on lots of levels. People are antsy and frustrated and many of us are still very scared while many of us not scared enough. The odds of getting the basics needed to safely reopen the country (massively scaled-up testing, contact tracing, and isolation for those infected) are essentially nil thanks to you know who (you), which means that we are in a very long wait for a vaccine to be developed, properly tested, scaled for mass distribution, and then actually delivered before things will truly get less dire. Plus, there’s absolutely no guarantee that you won’t screw up the efforts to get a reliable vaccine and there’s next to no chance that a Trump-led administration could (or would) pull off the massive sort of effort that will be needed to get a vaccine to every person in the country, so there’s also that shitty shittiness looming before us.

Basically, we’re stuck with garbled guidance from a self-neutered federal government (and yes, it’s as ugly as it sounds) that’s failing at its twin central missions of safeguarding the American people and democracy. Seriously, we have the surreal, Twilight Zone-esque situation where our POTUS glibly suggests on national television that ingesting (or injecting) toxic chemicals might be the way to go with this coronavirus thing. Were you thinking this would wipe out the dumbest among us and they’d die so fast they wouldn’t need ventilators? No? Oh, right, you really are that clueless and have neither basic safety knowledge nor a shred of commonsense. Personally, I still think Article 25 is a viable option. Just saying.

Anyway, you know all this (except for the parts you don’t know and should know). I know all this. Most sentient beings on the planet know all this (and I do mean planet since unfortunately what we do and how well or how badly we do it is still mightily influential across the globe). If I read another run down of the basic facts of the situation, I might scream in frustration. I remember getting to that point with your quid pro quo with Ukraine – every single damn article or editorial about it had to make sure the basic facts were laid out just in case an extraterrestrial being who knew nothing of what had transpired beamed down and picked up the WP. It was maddening. It is currently maddening.

Especially because there is so much to do.

We need to accept that you are a f*cking menace and that any GOP hanger-oners are also menaces and that the rest of us need to figure out how to work around you (which I know a lot of people are doing, thankfully) to get through this crisis as best we can and to learn as much from this crisis as we can. We are seeing where the gaping gaps are. We are seeing the mortality disparities widening in the exact same places that the morbidity (and mortality) disparities have long existed – black and brown people and poor people are dying in droves. I know, this is not new ground either, but this is where I think we need to be focused – we need to have these realities drilled into us and we need to get it that these realities absolutely mean we cannot, with any claim to the moral high ground, “return to normal.” Normal might be the status quo that has existed for a terrifically long time in our country, but a normal that is predicated on bigotry, bootstrap-pulling lies, and entitled privilege at the expense of adequate healthcare, safe water, food and air for certain groups of people is barbarous.

May everyone be safe in the near future we have to create.
May we be willing to see what has to be seen.
May we be strong and steel ourselves to the “back to normal” brainwashing that is heading our way.
May we not accept barbarous norms no matter how well entrenched they are.

Tracy Simpson

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