Saturday, April 25, 2020


I flipped on the TV while folding some laundry, just in time to receive Our President's latest medical advice.  His thought process could not have been so clear had it been displayed in a crawl at the bottom of the screen.

"Antiseptics kill germs, right?  And I heard somewhere some kind of light kills them too.  I wonder if they thought of that?

Simultaneously, his lips started moving – and a moment later, he was bouncing his great idea off Birx and the scientists.  It is not easy to be Fauci (not invited this time) or Birx, but I guess they hang in there for fear of whom their replacements might be.  Tr*mp, meanwhile, was imagining how neat it would be when he won the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

While I don't anticipate any Lysol shortages, I won't be surprised if there's a rush on UV lighting fixtures, possibly advertised on Fox News.  Soon, I predict, there will be plant lights shining down on the MyPillow® accoutred beds of many who comprise Our President's base.  Somehow, it seems appropriate.

Monday, April 20, 2020

What comes next?

Maybe there's a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, but nobody has any solid ideas about what else we'll find down there.  Pretty clearly, though, things will be different.  Both socially and economically, our current situation is a lot more novel than the novel coronavirus; and major societal disruptions provoke culture change.

Nobody is surprised by leaders like Orban, Duterte, and Modi becoming more authoritarian.  Tr*mp might dream of emulating them, but Tr*mp's general ineptitude and lackluster popular approval should make that impossible.  Meanwhile, economic collapse has prompted Congress to adopt a series of "socialist" initiatives that may be the forerunners of broader socioeconomic reform.

Granted, the plutocratic class will do its best to stymie any significant change; but workers who lose their health insurance along with their jobs are a lot more likely to abandon their "preference" for employer provided plans; Americans with little or no savings, including a sizable slice of the Red Hat Brigade, will come to recognize the need to expand safety net programs; and America's massive wealth disparities will become increasingly intolerable as the pandemic and its aftermath make them increasingly impossible to ignore.

Even if Tr*mp's "miracle" happens, and the virus subsides substantially in coming months, economists agree that recovery from its economic damage is likely to take years.  With weak consumer demand, many of the "safe" jobs currently being performed at home also will disappear.  Nobody is truly immune, and all of America will come to understand that.

Those who follow this blog know that optimism is not one of its defining characteristics, but this time there is some reason to hope that we eventually will emerge from this crisis with a more just society.  To be sure, November's elections will make a big difference.  One only can hope that the Democratic establishment can move beyond Clinton-era ideas of what is "practical" and start listening to the party's more progressive wing.