By Marc Cooper
July 30, 2021
Our two pandemics – COVID 19 and the massive Trumplican mis/disinformation campaign-- have now merged into one deadly plague that is ripping through the land.
Some 90 million eligible Americans are still avoiding vaccination a full six months after the jabs have become available, leading to a quintupling of infections over the last three weeks, a resurgent death toll and new rounds of mask impositions, partial shutdowns and a clamor for mandates to be instituted.
Look at one of the myriad infection cluster maps now and find that ALL of the concentrated outbreaks, some of horrific proportions (see Missouri), track absolutely perfectly with areas that voted in 2020 for Donald Trump.
More than 80% of Democratic adults are vaccinated. Only about 50% of Republicans. And that’s an average.
In some southern states, the epicenter of Trump Country, vaccination rates run as low as 30% or less and that’s where the hospitals are once again overflowing with those being mowed down by Delta. Joe Biden has called this mounting fourth wave “the pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
More precisely, this is a wholly man-made, wholly manufactured, wholly preventable deadly wave that owes directly to the refusal to vaccinate, aided and abetted by nearly 18 months of propaganda downplaying the virus, undermining the vaccine, mocking public health measures, equating masks with Nazi yellow stars, calling for the jailing of Dr. Fauci, pushing hare-brained theories that the vax carries microchips or magnets and that this whole pandemic was somehow staged or capitalized upon so that a hidden elite can better control the masses.
In other words, this is The MAGA Pandemic. This is where the Big Lie folds neatly into Deadly Anti-Vax Conspiracy Theories and the result are projections that we will soon be up again to a 1000 deaths per day, that national steps backward could go on into the winter, and that in the most backward parts of America, and I use that word deliberately, defined as centers of rural, conservative and evangelical concentration, the pandemic could linger for several more years.
No sane politician – except maybe the Governor of Alabama whose mental state I cannot attest to-- would ever publicly blame the voters for anything. That is prima facia politically suicidal.
Well, I am not a politician.
Still, I am not going to trash the voters or, more specifically, that portion of the voters who refuse to vaccinate.
But if I did speak up and if I did say what I really think, this is more or less what bubbles up:
Ok. Remember, this is what I would say only if asked what I really think.
Emotion, even informed emotion, is not a good basis for public policy. I am sure that a whole lot of people in government have the same view I outlined above, but politically, I’m not sure it is...um...a viable option.
That said, while I think Biden’s speech pleading with people on Thursday morn was a good one he is still being too deferential to these imbeciles. I understand his panic and his desperation. But asking states to reward these scoffs with $100 per shot is the wrong route. And the wrong moral message.
Positive reinforcement has not worked and will not work going forward. The $100 will make no difference, especially among the MAGATS. Even the sudden turn of Republicans like McConnell, Scalise and Sean Hannity now encouraging the vax will fall on deaf ears. The MAGATS have shown tremendous discipline in breaking with, shouting down and shunning any Republican who departs from the official line of sedition and denialism and the calls to vaccinate will be met with the same defiance – no matter their source.
Biden needs to move more forcefully toward negative incentives. Hey, Macron did it with one stroke of the pen. There were protests afterward, but so what?
The MAGATS have been protesting against anti-COVID measures since the initial lockdown. Who gives a damn if they protest any action Biden might now take? But the president himself, true to character, seems somewhat limited by fear of becoming too ham-handed.
Why such a slow process to get to where we know this is going with the US military? Just order the mandate today.
The same with final approval of the vaccines by the FDA. Yeah, yeah, Biden has vowed to not interfere with independent agencies. Biden, please interfere with the FDA so we can remove from the tab;e the bogus MAGA claim of the vaccines being “experimental.”
Biden must also urge if not mandate that school districts “require” not only masks, but vaccines for those over 12. And a twin mandate for those under 12 when their vaccine will be approved, probably in September or October.
I am rather conflicted as to what sort of mandate, or “vaccine requirement” Biden might be able to impose nationwide. He’s probably right to leave it to the private sector who is looking to be quite aggressive in imposing vax mandates on both employees and customers. The administration, however, should be readily prepared to act with decrees if the private sector push stalls or fails.
No question the MAGAT refuseniks have triggered quite a negative response in public opinion as the Fourth Wave continues to mount. You can bet that the reluctant turnaround among elected Republicans now supporting vaccination owes more to alarming private polling than it does to any attack of conscience. It’s hardly just me that’s sick of this crap. So are a great majority of Americans.
Note to readers:
I want to once again stress that the big issue here is not the person of Donald Trump.. Trump is as much a construction of his followers as he is their oracle. Same with the Republican Party. It is following the MAGATS, not leading them. Trump was merely clever enough to take stock of the regrets, complaints, suspicions, superstitions, disorientation and despair that had been building among millions of Americans for decades and spin it to his benefit. If not him, it would have eventually been someone else, as it still might be the case in the near future.
The political ground for Trump was well-tilled and wonderfully prepared long before him by Reagan and Bush who popularized greed and arrogance and was further assisted by a line of Democratic presidents who studiously avoided serving the true the interest of their most fervent voters in order to curry favor with a new powerful technological and global financial network.
What we face today is the culmination of that 50-year process that has produced a massive anti-democratic, non-rational, semi-insurgent movement on our doorstep. Trumpism was a startingly effective accelerant for this movement and if we do not take it seriously, if we let complacency reign, if we do not oppose it with effective counter-politics (which we have not to date), we run the risk of being consumed by it.
I leave you with these strikingly prescient words from the late Carl Sagan who penned this almost 30 years ago as a reminder of just how endemic this Know-nothing force has become:
“I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness... The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.”― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
If Sagan only knew how prophetic his words would become. ++
Sunday, August 1, 2021
A new month is at hand. I achieved a major personal milestone--although I still have about a month or so of administrative backends to address--and this major achievement won't hit me until I get the actual degree within the next number of weeks:
It was also a week that saw mask mandates return as the Delta Variant began to wreck havoc yet again due to the pandemic of the unvaccinated--one of the key must reads is this by Marc Cooper which I have the pleasure to support:
Beyond the safe confines of America, my mind drifted away to Iran as Iranians rose up to say enough is enough. They have no water, no food and no hope. As I saw this note (when Iran Air launched its' non stop service), I nearly cried as I also flew on this plane and we remained hopeful that the service would continue to Los Angeles:
I finished off as I caught another "blast from the Past" about Scouting In Iran that underscores the continued social transformation which was derailed during the revolution:
As I finished off my "Virtual Walkabout" and supported work for the Daily Outsider, I ran across this courtesy the great Hadi Heidari that fully captures the legacy of the Islamic Republic --I nominated him for the courage award for Cartoonists:
I remain hopeful as the new month dawns in spite of the profound challenges.
Posted by TEST at 10:32 AM