The Good Press — Issue #28: Control

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Hello and welcome to another edition of The Good Press.

Thanks for reading. I hope you find this issue to be worth your time.

Comments and reader suggestions are always welcome.

Control

One thing about good data is that it can tell a story if you interpret it right.

Collecting data and information is important, but what’s crucial is being able to sift through it and determine what is truly important information that you can glean serious knowledge and understanding from (and what’s just noise).

I am not a data scientist or data analyst and I don’t play one on TV. But I know how important it is to respect the science and trust the experts’ analysis when a consensus of scientific data is all pointing in the same direction.

The experts have been sounding alarms for some time that the pandemic was far from over. They’ve made it known for a while now that there is serious potential for this fall and winter across America to be a dark and deadly time.

It didn’t have to be this way. It didn’t have to be completely out of control.

But with no federal response whatsoever, here we are. The virus is winning.

Now, this incumbent administration has finally admitted aloud what’s been clear as day for a long time: They don’t have a plan for the pandemic. No plan to protect everyday Americans. No plan to even protect themselves!

Quite an inspiring message from the party and the administration that brought us such memorable moments like “it is what it is” and “I take no responsibility at all.” Now comes “we’re not going to control the pandemic.”

But according to the emperor with no clothes and no plan, we’re “rounding the corner” as a country on the fight against the virus. I suppose when you’re always running in circles, it may start to feel like you’re “rounding the corner.”

Who needs scientific experts when you’ve got an endless feedback loop of bad information from quacks and loons? The data and the science are clear. The American people are doing their part. It’s time for leadership to do theirs. We’re rounding the corner heading ever closer to election day, and from where I see it, it’s hard to imagine a majority of voters supporting a plan of essentially, “ignore reality and surrender fecklessly to the coronavirus.”

In Other Words

As far as the federal government’s concerned, we’re on our own. Not ideal!

Even if there is a major course correction on November 3, it will still be until January before potential new leaders will have the power to give Americans the support they need to get the virus under control. Winter will not be kind.

But at least we could get some help from our canine friends at some point:

Regardless, at least this time we’ve got a better idea of what’s important in the fight against COVID and what’s just noise and isn’t worth fretting about.

This time, states and cities and citizens themselves are better prepared for handling the pandemic compared to where we were in the spring. We know now that wiping down groceries with sanitizing wipes is not necessary. We know that wearing a mask over our nose and mouth and expecting the same of others is as effective a mechanism as we have, so far, for preventing potential transmission of the virus. We know that air circulation is crucial. We know that kids aren’t immune to contracting and spreading COVID-19.

We know this, and I imagine many people in power know this, too. Instead, they choose to ignore the data and surrender to their own incompetence.

It may just be their downfall. It may be a big reason among many that this administration and its enablers may ultimately be headed to political demise. They may have pushed through another stooge onto the Court under the guise of constitutionality, but it won’t enough for them to sleep at night. There is no bottom; the least we can do is send them all into early retirement.

It occurs to me that next week’s issue of The Good Press will go live and hit inboxes on November 4, which is the morning after the November 3 election.

Because of the unprecedented nature of 2020, the race may be too close to call by the time that issue comes out next Wednesday morning. If so, it could make for quite a chaotic few hours or days (or even longer??) in America. Though at the speed of 2020, it may bend time and space, for all we know.

I hope you and your loved ones have all made plans to vote by now, and if you’ve successfully voted early as I did, all the better. I doubt I will sleep much that night, no matter what result (or lack thereof) we may arrive at.

But at the very least, we are rounding the corner toward the end of “political ads during every commercial break,” at least until the next election cycle. So we can be thankful for that, at least. And maybe soon after that, we might even have a national plan to control the pandemic! Let’s shoot for the moon. Maybe we can splurge a little and have some national healing and unity, too.

We can round this corner together. Hand in hand, at least metaphorically, ’til we put this dark chapter of American history in the past where it belongs. The champagne will taste that much sweeter, as sports fans say. (At least, as sports fans who wait a long time to see their teams win a championship say.)

Exercise your right to vote and make your voice heard if you haven’t already. History will have its eyes on all of us. When push came to shove, and the world needed serious people making serious decisions, what did you do?

Did you give up? Did you roll over and lament that things were just too hard?

Did you complain that it’s not fair and just wave the white flag of surrender?

Or did you fight for a brighter future?

Did you do everything in your power to fight the battles that needed to be fought? Did you protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community?

This winter is going to take a lot, but Americans are tough and resilient. So are people all around the world that are going to deal with a tough winter, too. But at least their leaders have plans. Their citizens aren’t on their own.

We may be leaderless, but we are not alone. You, me, the people you care about, the people I care about, we are not alone. We can conquer this and come out stronger for it, and I believe that we will. Make your plans now. Talk to your loved ones now about November/December/January and the holiday time that is probably going to have to be physically distant like April and May.

If we can get through the winter safely, it greatly increases our chances of getting back to a normal, pre-COVID life relatively sooner rather than later.

If we can control the pandemic, we can regain control of our normal lives. Shutting down the coronavirus will enable us to fully reopen our economy. No shortcuts, no surrendering, no ignoring what science is telling us.

We do not know how long COVID-19 will be a part of our lives, but we can control our behavior amidst this invisible enemy. Mask up. Even indoors. Even with people you trust. The virus doesn’t have emotional vulnerabilities.

Be smart. Be vigilant. Make the safest and most careful choices that you can.

Be the leader you’d like to follow. Be informed. Control what you can control.

I’ll be here, doing my best, just like you. I’m not going to hibernate like a bear all winter but I do expect the holidays to be much more subdued this year. Don’t be caught off guard by that, even if it’s a bummer. Prepare yourself.

Technology can’t replicate the feeling of a warm hug, the smell of fresh food. But a phone call, a video chat, whatever it may be, can give us that wonderful feeling of togetherness even when we’re not physically in the same room.

Parting Thoughts

That World Series that baseball fans were hoping for? It lived up to the hype. In particular, Game 4 on Saturday was about as memorable a baseball game as one might ever see, with the Tampa Bay Rays keeping their championship aspirations alive after being one strike away from a daunting series deficit.

It’s bittersweet that, in a best-of-seven series, there’s really not much time to decompress and bask in the glow of an all-time classic game. But people will be talking about World Series Game 4 of the 2020 season for years to come.

It was a game that featured eight consecutive half-innings with at least one run being scored, several late lead changes, and not one but two errors on the game-winning play in the bottom of the 9th, sending Tampa into a frenzy.

The beautiful thing about baseball is that even after a stunning loss, there’s usually an opportunity to make amends the very next day. New day, new ballgame, a chance to put yesterday behind you and focus on winning today.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were able to do just that, shaking off the Game 4 shocker to win Game 5 on Sunday behind another strong outing from future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw. After an off-day to catch their breath, the Dodgers came back to win Game 6 last night to win the 2020 World Series.

And yet, there is no reason to celebrate, because before they could even present the trophy, reports came out that a Dodgers player tested positive for COVID-19 and was removed mid-game, with the league lucky to avoid a disaster scenario in which contact tracing and quarantining protocols would have put a decisive Game 7 in doubt had Tampa tied the series Tuesday night.

The optics of this look very, very bad. Baseball’s bubble burst. You can’t have a bubble sans integrity. The infected player was allowed to participate in the game until a second positive test confirmed the result, and even worse, he ignored an isolation order to celebrate, maskless, with teammates and family.

Instead of celebrating a virus-free World Series, baseball now has to reckon with serious questions and serious consequences. This should never have happened under any circumstances, and it has completely overshadowed the outcome of the games, and it should. It’s why many doubted baseball’s ability to conduct a season safely without a true bubble, as many other leagues had.

Today is the first day since late July that no major sports leagues have a game scheduled. It has been a whirlwind last few months, and sports were able to find a way to entertain us and educate us on how to keep the virus at bay. But you have to be disciplined and you can’t take your foot off the gas. The lesson here is that with strong leadership, it’s not impossible to devise a good game plan and make the necessary adjustments to successfully wade through these troubled waters. If we control what we can control, we can all find a way, too. And we will find a way. There are a lot of ways to get there.

I think a good approach is just to wake up, try your best, and trust your best. We can do this, collectively, as a team, as a nation. Here’s to health and safety, to controlling what we can control, and to finding a way forward together.

-Jon

Previously in The Good Press

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