Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Corona Jottings: Intermittent Speculations(#23)

A new paradox has announced itself: we’ve gone from a so-called president with no political experience to a president with almost too much political experience. Well, we’ve been all experiencing a topsy-turvy life for a year now, so that doesn’t seem as strange as it could be. The world hasn’t changed that much, though, especially for older people, except those in various “retirement” homes who caught the virus and died, but for the rest who survived, including the many who are retired, but still living independently, Covid created an atmosphere that in weird ways mimicked their own reduced experience. What the pandemic cut out for the elderly, more or less, was travel. Seeing grandchildren, etc. It’s as if the world as we knew it retired – no more offices to go to, restaurants to eat at, bars to hang out, trips to take, so many enduring forced retirement of all sorts. A nation of shut-ins ensued. Schools tried to insinuate themselves into households, though with limited success. Parents became teachers, of a sort. A population of millions seemed to age quickly, far too quickly, given their sudden taste of redundancy, as the Brits call it. Most states are vaccinating their older populations, those who fit the numbers game. The logic is also somehow inverted: closer to death, the easier it is to become immune, age-wise. Soon it will be the middle aged, finally, come summer, even reaching those who can be considered young. Watch out for variants! Yearly flu shots, yearly Covid shots? 1.9 trillion to the rich under The Donald, during his first year, 1.9 trillion to Covid relief and all it spawned under Biden’s first months. If 1.9 seems familiar, it’s because it’s Covid-19. How quickly the Republicans accepted their amnesia vaccinations, acting as if the last four years were a dreadful mirage, and carry on as if nothing had happened. The usual suspect GOP Senators (Collins, Romney, etc.) are being courted by Democrats, to the same fatuous affect. Biden bides his time, content, it seems, to step back, even as president, since he is so used to that posture. Put, what, the People, Country, Cause, first? The Trump echo, the hallucination that will not entirely fade, still struts across the media landscape, though some outlets attempt to boycott, at least, his name. Like the wife of the Rumple of the Bailey show, where from J. K. Rowling adapted the tag line, She Who Must Be Obeyed, into He Who Must Not Be Named, The Donald lives on in air waves’ spectral space.    The current movement to rid our government of the filibuster, the 19th century afterthought (little used back then) that was wielded as an effective cudgel in the late 1950s when taken to civil rights legislation and has become the chief tool to thwart majority rule, is sputtering. Only super-majorities now please, claim, of course, all Republicans, and a couple of Democrats known for their very old-fashioned views. This crew champions the filibuster, a word which has a very strange etymology, befitting the ones who love it. Down with the filibuster, up with the number of justices on the Supreme Court, which has been stacked with conservatives under Trump, because of the luck of the, what, draw? Only death and Mitch McConnell, the real grim reaper, have served up the imbalance. Why not hasten the possibility of a few more Democrat Senators? The Dakotas have four Republicans to serve their minimalist populations. There’s also the linked and divided Virginia and West Virginia. How about South California and North California? If new states can be created whole cloth at the end of the 19th century, why not at the start of the 21st? Recall Hawaii and Alaska became states in 1959. Why not Puerto Rico in 2021? Questions, questions. I’ve always been appalled in the past at how so many who voted for a Democrat for president care so little about the Supreme Court makeup. It brings back to mind how Republicans are really the grass-root people, individuals who will get themselves on school boards and other minor civic offices, in order to create mayhem, stalwarts who are willing to be very local, to do the boring work of running insignificant bureaucratic offices that ultimately police peoples' everyday lives, whereas Democrats are ethereal, thinking only large thoughts, championing huge movements, thinking big ideas, but more reluctant to take on the minor, tedious tasks that small-town GOPers seem happy to do. See the many state governments run by Republicans (thanks to gerrymandering) even though there is a Democrat governor. It’s appalling, as I said. But Biden appears to have a bit of that DNA in him, the nuts and bolts guy, comfortable taking the back seat, now, much to his and a lot peoples’ surprise, presently sitting in the top job.