Two Plus Two

Plenty of time to lament…

… that we exist in separate universes, unable and unwilling to listen, long ago giving up on efforts to walk a mile in anyone else’s shoes. Apparently we’ve seen and heard all that we’ve needed to see and hear. This is where I’m at.

I quickly start generalizing, stereotyping, making assumptions. You drive a pick-up truck with a ball sac hanging from the trailer hitch? Probably a Trump voter. You have a  Confederate flag proudly displayed somewhere on that pick-up truck? Definitely a Trump voter. You like NASCAR? Sixty/forty you’re a Trump voter. You watch Fox News regularly? You rail against the “liberal Dems” and decry their Socialist agenda? You badmouth anyone who gets a handout as you collect your subsidies or cash your Social Security check or get medical treatment through Medicare, or your opiate-addled adult child is de-toxified through a state- or county-run addiction treatment program? Probably a Trump voter.

It’s Monday Again

The thing about key players in the Trump administration is that there is little reason to trust any of them. They’re always trying to put out the fires Trump starts, trying to placate and keep him happy. And most come across as incompetent goons and doormats, anyway. The VP, the AG, Ben Carson, DeVos, the press secretary who’s just another pretty face Trump found on Fox News.

They’re all well-trained in the art of misdirection, can spin a yarn with the best of them, tell you lies with conviction, say ridiculous things with a straight face. And, as always, mystifyingly loyal.

Then there’s Stephen Miller. He and Kellyanne Conway (what does she do, exactly?) are in a class by themselves.

I have no faith in any of them. The fact that they were willing to take jobs in this administration counts against them. Do they consider it an honor, for some reason? Or is it all just a head trip, that lust for public recognition, to be in a position of power, an insider?

No one becomes part of the Trump administration because they want to “help people.” That’s such a quaint notion.

Covid Fatigue

I feel it’s not my place to take pot shots at some who want to reopen things and get back to work. I’ve been pretty comfortable, not bothered by lack of income or food or a place to lay my head at night. My main gripe is with those who want to reopen simply because they need a haircut or don’t like being told what to do. Or they feel “oppressed,” their constitutional rights have been trampled on.

Oh, please.

Don’t listen to Donald Trump. He has nothing good to say. He says hardly anything worth tuning in for. He’s probably not an idiot, but he is heartless. The only thing he cares about, ultimately, is himself and his prospects for staying in the limelight. He needs the adulation, the kudos, the pats on the back.

It should be of concern to all of us that the person who occupies the highest office in the land possesses the emotional maturity of a 6-year old, and has spent a good portion of his life being nothing more than a giant dickhead.

There Has To Be A Better Way

Isn’t there something inherently disturbing about a headline that reports California hospitals are losing $14 billion? One could argue that this is the Achilles heel of the American system: healthcare that’s based on cash flow. One could also argue that quality healthcare isn’t a commodity to be sold and traded and inventoried. It’s not a widget or an automobile.

It is difficult not to assume that the bottom line looms as large as any consideration given to patient care. It shouldn’t have to be a balancing act! Quality of care gets lost in efforts to stay PROFITABLE?! My word. This whole damned system is ill-conceived, nothing but corner cutting, compromising health and well-being because of out-sized concerns over a facility’s continued viability.

Which means that people get lost in the shuffle, both staff and patients. They become expendable, somehow. Statistics, as in, “Well, we of course need to minimize the detrimental effects on peoples’ lives, but a few casualties along the way are better than many casualties.” It’s all in the numbers. People as numbers. Not people as people, most with names and others who love them, and who, if asked, would probably prefer not to become statistical footnotes, the sad consequences of financial triage, of methods and a system based on tenuous sustainability, on the need to stay afloat, to find the money somewhere, somehow.

A better healthcare system might be one where no one has to worry about survival of the fittest. Where quality healthcare is a priority across the industry, a given, accessible by all, funded with a steady stream of dollars from the government, and not based on capricious fee structures and insurance premiums and competition. Or receiving good care only if you can afford it.

That last qualification should make peoples’ ears burn, and just plain piss all of us off. But it won’t. Because it turns out a person’s health and well-being are commodities, after all. No different than toilet paper and hand sanitizer and a nice New York strip steak.

Not Again

Twenty-seven years ago.

The obvious question is “Why now?” And the answer is “Of course now.” Turnabout is fair play, right? This is just politics as usual. Scour the bushes and try to sully a reputation with accusations of an ancient, alleged sexual indiscretion. It hasn’t seemed to hurt Trump, and his hiccups are more recent. But what do you want to bet that this has a more damaging effect on Biden’s chances?

In addition to coronavirus and murder hornets, now we have to put up with another one of these sordid back and forth she said-he did episodes. Make it go away, Joe.

Or maybe he should just go away. He’s the best the Democrats can do against Trump? How much can he really have left in the tank? This has disturbing similarities to four years ago, when it seems the feeling was that it was just Hillary’s time. And that ended well.

Fossilized

What happens if oil doesn’t recover?

Maybe it shouldn’t. Maybe we shouldn’t have an economy that rises and falls on the condition of the fossil fuel industry. Maybe a concerted effort needs to be made to work on alternatives, once and for all.

What will life look like when things settle down and we are actually able to move beyond the current restrictions and return to some sense of normal? Will we have learned anything, or will there be a rush to pick up where we left off before the shit hit the fan?

Climate “realists” should have a wake-up call but probably won’t. It’s dramatically obvious now how much of an effect we have when we’re driving all over creation and the noticeable improvements when we’re not. Tough to deny this, though some will continue to do so.

Fun To Watch

I guess I lament the fact that even something as gripping and all-consuming as this pandemic has now become just another vehicle for cute and heart-rending memes. Everyone is a star of their own lives, visible on YouTube and other places for all the world to see. It so quickly turns into something cheap and cliché and boastful. Except for John Krasinski. You go, man. Well, and pretty much all the late-night folks. Even Jimmy Fallon, who’s most times pretty lightweight in the interview department.

It’s been great seeing all these people in their native habitat, letting their guard down, being somewhat real. Makes you wonder what late night TV will look like in the post-pandemic age. I imagine they’re all aching to get back to the old sets and their studio audiences, but there’s been something charming and authentic about these last few weeks that I hope they try to hold onto, somehow.