The Good Press — Issue #25: Care

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Care

I think that someday there could be a book written about literally each and every single day of 2020 in America. It’s been a year that’s felt like a century.

Last week’s issue of The Good Press was only seven days ago, I promise. I think I’ve consumed about a year’s worth of news coverage since that time. I mixed in some sports, too, to take the edge off. Thank goodness for sports.

Trying to organize my thoughts and fit them onto the page in a reasonable manner on a weekly basis can be challenging. There are some weeks where the words flow with such ease and other weeks where it is like pulling teeth.

Two weeks ago, after the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it was one of the tougher weeks. It’s not easy to find proper words to properly pay tribute to such an immense figure. I aim to always offer my honest thoughts with a degree of clarity, thoughtfulness, and all due respect.

I can be my own harshest critic, but I’m proud of the resulting issue. I think Issue 23 encapsulated what I wanted to say about as best as I could say it.

As you may recall, the word “fervent” was the theme because of Justice Ginsburg’s final wish — her most fervent wish — that she “not be replaced [on the United States Supreme Court] until a new president is installed.”

As I wrote two weeks ago:

No matter how fervent RBG’s wishes, or how entitled to them anyone believes she is, there is already plenty of evidence that the sudden seat vacancy on the Supreme Court at one of the most critical junctures in U.S. history has ignited a fervent response from politicians and activists alike.

In a perfect world, the Supreme Court is made of nonpartisan, apolitical, appointees who thoughtfully debate and discuss important legal precedents. We don’t live in that world right now, and the ramifications of that mean that these interesting times we live in are about to get even more interesting.

These words weren’t prophetic. A blind man could see that the political fallout was going to be enormous. But the immediate response from the presiding party in power has been staggering, even by their usual standards.

Just eight days after Justice Ginsburg’s death, the White House hosted a gaudy, extravagant ceremony to formally nominate a potential RBG replacement, in about as disrespectful a fashion as possible, to boot.

Oh, the happy attendees of that event on Saturday, September 26, were absolutely over the moon. An early victory lap of sorts for the party who has spent the last few decades eroding representative democracy with delight, celebrating their total victory in corrupting the impartiality of the Court.

Masks were scarce at the event. Hugs and handshakes and close-quarters conversations between the giddy attendees were aplenty. For the attendees of that fateful September 26 Rose Garden party at the White House, it was like an alternate universe where the coronavirus pandemic didn’t exist.

Plague? What plague? That only affects disposable poor people, anyway!

Perhaps the administration and their political allies should have brushed up on their Poe beforehand because I can’t help but think of The Masque of the Red Death (the Edgar Allan Poe short story that the masquerade scene in The Phantom of the Opera is based on) when we see the events developing today.

In Other Words

That event at the White House that day and the behavior of the attendees was the height of arrogance, shamelessness, and callous disrespect. It’s akin to dancing on a fresh grave and it was as disgraceful as it was intended to be.

Ultimately, it was also unfathomably reckless and potentially game-changing.

The New York Times has a breakdown of the event:

The number of attendees who have since tested positive for COVID-19 rises each day. Most notably, the president himself was confirmed positive last week. USA Today has a timeline of events in the days since the ceremony:

As of the time I wrote this sentence, America has had nearly 7.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 210,000 deaths, numbers that will rise by the time this issue goes out. Those grim statistics would be even worse if not for the heroic efforts of the first responders all over the country, and if not for the sacrifices everyday Americans have made to stop the spread.

Compared to the personal protective equipment first responders wear, a suitable face covering to protect your community isn’t that difficult.

Small personal sacrifice for the good of your fellow man? This administration wouldn’t know anything about that. Law and order? The boy who cried fake news blamed the military and law enforcement for the outbreak in his circle.

Today’s issue’s subject is care.

Affordable care is what the landmark 2010 health care law in this country intended to achieve for all Americans. Not blue-state Americans or red-state Americans, but all Americans. Affordable care so that if you get sick, you can get care, period. No matter what preexisting medical conditions you have. The law is not perfect, but the ideas behind it are a sound foundation to build upon. A right to have access to care, no matter who you are. No matter what.

These health care rights, equal protection under the law from discrimination for having a preexisting condition, they are in jeopardy. They have been actively opposed by the current party in power since before they were even officially ratified into law ten years ago. Now, the legality and legitimacy of these protections will be argued before the Court in just a few short weeks.

That is what the Rose Garden party was all about. That is why the White House threw a maskless masquerade with much of their political elite in attendance. Because they don’t care. They don’t care about you, they don’t care about me, they don’t care about America, and they don’t care about the everyday Americans whose livelihoods are being threatened by their apathy.

There’s no peace in our political environment because the party in power does not care enough about anyone, not even themselves, to be responsible enough to protect themselves from contracting and spreading a deadly virus.

The president does not care about containing the virus, doesn’t care how many people get sick, how many lose their jobs, how many lose their lives, even if those people are his own supporters and allies and family members!

He does not care about anything other than himself and artificially boosting his own self-esteem any and every way possible, no matter who suffers for it.

This is a deeply amoral person, being enabled and capitulated to by a complicit political party, supported most fervently by bigots and zealots.

There is no “Grand Old Party” any longer. It has been usurped by Cult 45.

The man who gleefully once remarked that he could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue and not lose any supporters is testing that theory as overtly as ever. The emperor has no clothes. It’s long past time for people to stop indulging him.

If the leader of the party’s own COVID diagnosis can’t get him to care about anything other than acquiring more and more personal and political power? What is there to even say about that? The coronavirus has not been dealt with effectively in this country because the ruling party does. not. care.

Everyday Americans who have lost their jobs, or are risking their lives as essential workers? Who cares about them? Not this current ruling party.

All of us peasants are just disposable low-class whiners to them. Economic relief for people working paycheck to paycheck? Nah. No time for that. Too busy trying to fill the Court seat before all of us voters turn out and vote their political party out of existence into the bowels of history where they belong.

The lawless president and all of his sycophants in Congress have access to the greatest care in the world, all paid for by our American tax dollars. Much better care than the care they would gladly take away from all of us. The care they’re so close to taking from us, with that haphazard, rushed confirmation process that is now in legitimate jeopardy because of their early victory lap.

To borrow a phrase, it is what it is. If he wants to leave a top-notch hospital out of stubbornness because nobody is brave enough to say no, then so be it. Just keep him far away from more innocent people he’s so eager to infect.

Parting Thoughts

In other COVID-19 news that’s also rather stunning but sadly unsurprising, the National Football League is now dealing with a major outbreak as well.

On Saturday, September 26, the same day as the White House COVID party, a Tennessee Titans coach tested positive for COVID-19 and was removed from the team’s trip to Minnesota to play the Minnesota Vikings the next day.

All other Tennessee Titans players and staff tested negative that day, and the NFL permitted them to play their game against the Vikings. Notably, teams are not tested on gamedays, but on the next day, Monday, September 28, three Titans players and five additional personnel tested positive. This led to an immediate shutdown of the team’s practice facility, as well as Minnesota’s.

Minnesota ended up unscathed and was able to resume practicing after further testing, with their Sunday, October 4 game going off without a hitch. The Titans weren’t as lucky, as 20 positives throughout the organization got their scheduled October 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers postponed.

Meanwhile, the October 4 game between the New England Patriots and the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs was postponed to Monday, October 5, after Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive.

Still no plans for a bubble, though. The bubble format that’s proved effective in protecting everyone associated with the NBA, WNBA, MLS, and NWSL. The bubble format that Major League Baseball has transitioned to as well.

I just hope that the players don’t end up suffering because they’ll be forced to make up extra games with less rest because of the schedule reshuffling. I can’t imagine that this will be the last time an outbreak affects the season.

Anyway, this issue has been a lot, and I don’t want to keep you much longer. I am still confident that better days, quieter, more peaceful days, are ahead.

Remain vigilant. Keep your eyes and ears open. Make your plan to vote. Vote early if you can. I’m proud to say I’ve already voted and sent my ballot back, and I’m eagerly tracking my ballot’s progress online to ensure it is counted.

However you cast your ballot is up to you. Make sure you take precautions and vote safely. 102-year-old Beatrice Lumpkin voted, so do your part, too.

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One vote at a time, one day at a time, even when the days feel like decades. We can do this. We will do this. We’re all in this together no matter what. With compassion, care, empathy, and respect for one another, together we can and will rebuild the American dream. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.

-Jon

Previously in The Good Press

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The Good Press

a newsletter of observations about life, sports, and/or anything else that comes to mind