Prayers won’t rid this world of plagues

Forrest Johnson

The chief medical blowhard blabs away during the daily Covid-19 briefings, searching for good news in the midst of the pandemic, always willing to make it up if he can’t find any. In the meantime, the other medical blowhards on the TV and radio continue to spread the virus of fake news and misinformation in the hope that a quick-footed pandemic doesn’t destroy a viral system of propaganda and thought herding that’s led so many Americans to the right wing pasture during the past few decades.

In propaganda and thought herding it’s all about keeping it simple: fear and anger. Make people fearful and angry that someone is stealing their country from under their noses. Then make the apparent thieves different from your kind. Very different.
Man, that’s effective.

The white evangelical faux Christian followers will simply pray that God might smite the enemy from our midst since he’s a pretty tough customer himself. I’ll call it Prayers for Plagues. But they are fearful and angry people, born again for Jesus or not. And they’ll be right at the front of the line to show those virus-like immigrants and other people they don’t care for that they just don’t belong here.

Isn’t that Christ-like behavior? I’m afraid even a pandemic won’t change those lousy attitudes.

I am still hopeful that some good will come of this. You know, perhaps we’ll look at health care and see if a fair long-term public health policy can arise from the ashes of our pay for pain and profit-driven system. Maybe we can see that workers rights in a time of right to work laws need to be on the table. Gee, my German exchange student son and fiancé just had a baby and mom and dad are trying to decide if she should take one year of paid leave or two. Not going to find those rights in the policy manual of an “at will” employer in this country.

And since we’ve just racked up another two trillion to pay for the first round of help we’ll all need to stay on our feet, maybe, just maybe we’ll look at how cheap we’ve been in providing an education for our children in public schools and putting them into debt for trying to better themselves in college or tech school. German son and fiancé mentioned above? College and tech training is free, no debt.

Tax cuts won’t pay for the two trillion. Tax cuts won’t pay for the roads and bridges and public infrastructure the American Society of Civil Engineers say is getting a D-minus for this semester.

Tax cuts won’t pay for a clean environment and the moon shot needed to address climate change. Tax cuts and cuts to food stamps won’t solve poverty and inequality and racism.

And to all you stingy deficit hawks who screamed austerity would make the patient better in all the Obama years, with this pandemic we’ll look at debt and keeping society in one piece a whole new way won’t we?

In my little personal neighborhood we have several sets of grandkids and moms doing daily lessons and working from home. We’ve pretty much stayed put, venturing out to snowshoe on a daily basis, a program I’m calling “Snowshoes for Sanity.”

I even climbed up on a daughter’s roof to put up a cell-phone booster for a reason related to work since we live in some kind of cell-phone vacuum. I mean, we lose a lot of calls and haven’t abandoned the land line. I still have a dial up phone hanging on the wall in the basement and I let the grandkids call other cousins and aunties and uncles just for the fun of it.

A dial phone – what a novelty.

Yes, a pandemic can certainly get your attention. And it will get close for many. That German son I noted earlier, well both he and fiancé have tested positive and so far little German grandson is negative. They sent photos of the little guy, born on my birthday no less, and the two of them wearing masks and being very, very careful. The two of them are symptom-free as of yesterday. Germany has an aggressive testing policy, especially for pilots and travelers and health care workers, and bingo they were mapped, as were all the contacts they may have had.

Nurses like my older daughter in St. Louis County are told to be careful and not be tested unless symptoms appear since tests are still few and far between. Personal protective equipment is still in short supply for health care workers across this nation.

I sure hope something good will come of all the pain we’re yet to see.