When things go viral…

My question is…ready for WHAT?

So. The race was on to get a COVID-19 vaccine, and big pharma delivered. First, there was Pfizer. Then came Moderna. Now, bringing up the rear is Johnson and Johnson. And now comes the logistics, and probably politics that we can’t even see. Which vaccine is better? Which one should you get? Can you actually get ANY of them at this point? I can’t even get a refill of a prescription for a critical maintenance medication that I take, so I’m not holding out hope on a COVID vaccine at this point. A lot of people are freaking out, after getting a sound-bite crash course in molecular biology, and trying to determine whether the messenger RNA vaccine would be the better choice, or the adeno-viral. Just before their heads explode, they’ll decide to just eff-it and drive to the bar for pre-happy hour commiseration. Without a mask. Without distancing from anyone. So, there you have it, that moment when a plan backfires and all you get is a face full of exhaust fumes.

When I heard there was a third vaccine now on the market, my first thought was how unscrupulous people would manipulate the distribution system to ensure they get the vaccine first. After hearing some of the droning on the news media about the relative merits of the new vaccine, and the comparison between it and other vaccines, my second thought was…since the new product is seemingly less effective than the first two, will that be the one that is pushed on underserved communities? on people with no insurance or inadequate insurance? from the reports i was able to digest this morning, the new vaccine is about 65% effective for the disease, for mild to moderate cases, and not including the new variant from South Africa and maybe others. So, take a number and wait for a definitive explanation on what this does for the infected population. They. Don’t. Really. Know. it’s a virus. so is HIV, and there is still no definitive anti-viral for that, nor a cure, and it’s been out there for way longer than this corona virus. we’re still on the carousel, on the merry-go round, and the ride isn’t coming to a stop just yet.

I saw an interview with a 31-year white woman on CNN this morning, and she has COVID-19. She was a healthy adult female with no underlying co-morbidities, no high risk of contracting the disease, a mother, living a seemingly reasonable and responsible life. She has been hospitalized because of the disease seven times, is now on a feeding tube because of damage to her digestive system, and some days cannot get out of bed. She has four children, and is grateful for a robust support system. Life as she knew it came to an end when she contracted the disease, but she remains hopeful that her condition will not last forever. Nobody hears stories like this, and I’m sure she is not the only person with an ongoing struggle like this. This could happen to anyone, and that’s why everyone should be doing whatever they can to avoid getting and transmitting this infernal thing, but … many are not. Go figure.

Corona virus aside, I am still wrestling with how and why a a person obviously not in touch with reality has been elected to Congress. Further, though, I am not comprehending why her affiliated political party has not rejected her nutsy-cuckoo QAnon and conspiracy message. They have not rejected her, they’ve rewarded her. The GOP placed her on the Education Committee, as though she’s a normal person. She’s not a normal person. She’s dangerously on the fringe of the reality that contains most of the rest of us. Unfortunately, she’s not alone, and her fringe minions are even more dangerous in numbers. She’s mean, vile, and has apparently modeled herself after the ex-President, not caring anything about truth, or the impact of her words. Her words, like his, are not just living on the outskirts of truth and reasonable behavior, but hurtful and emotionally devastating for those directly impacted. Calling mass shootings “false flag events” to discount the gun-control argument is just hateful, and she is very intentional about hurling that narrative whenever she can. She is worshipping at the feet of the false idol, who remains an naked orange vortex of enraged and starving narcissism, who is unabashedly using her for the attention fix. All she’s got is aggression, and a gun, no different from a Compton gang member, but with far less provocation. She’s just an empty, angry woman who is desperate to have some relevance, because she knows otherwise, she really has none. She could be relevant, but this is not the way to achieve relevancy. So, once again…by any means necessary, with emphasis on the m-e part.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is one person, but the GOP has made her representative of something much bigger. I am puzzled by the whiplash-inducing turn around of their leadership on the impeachment conviction, on their initial leanings toward rightly calling the insurrection several steps over the line. Kevin McCarthy has, again, risked his life for his exiled emperor by refusing to comply with conventional wisdom about airline travel except in cases of dire emergency. Apparently, making up with his commandant was a dire emergency, so he saw no other choice but to kneel “kiss the ring” of his Don in Mar-a-lago. (media pundits have not tired of bringing up the image from the “Godfather” movies, with Don Corleone patting the head of an acolyte kneeling before him, kissing the ring he wore signifying his rank as leader of the “organization”). In the movie, during scenes like that, the Don was known to say, “This thing you do for me, I will not forget.”.

Mitch McConnel, likewise, has done a 180-degree turnaround since the January 6th insurrection, and has retreated in his indignation about the assault on democracy, and the endangerment of his life and the lives of his comrades. He’s now mostly silent on penalties for the crime of inciting the insurrection, of sedition, and somehow believes we should just move on. He apparently believes his opinions and following still carry the weight as when the GOP enjoyed majority status in the Senate, and there isn’t anyone to tell him any different. He demanded, and got a delay in the Senate impeachment trial, in exchange for retaining the filibuster rule. Now, he and his little demon army are planning to filibuster a Cabinet nominee. He hasn’t changed one spindly hair on his chinny chin chin (and I’m not cutting him a break just because he really doesn’t have a chin). I’m hoping the Democratic majority leader will find a way to bitch slap him back into his cave so he can search for that ring…the one ring…my precious. My precious…*slurp*.

So, if it was possible, the GOP has somehow managed to advance to the rear of normalcy, decency, reality, truth. Again. I don’t know what they believe this will get them, as a party, as a movement. This country is not really a democracy; democracy is an idea, a concept. Our form of government is republic, and ultimately, that is functionally the same as the concept of democracy – government by the people, government that is not over-sized, the people elect representatives that do their business. Those are common principles and values, or should be, for this weird bi-party system we function under. Only the thrust of how we achieve those ideals should be in question,. In my lifetime, the Republican Party was more the fiscally conservative methodology of providing democratic representation, while the Democratic Party was more socially focused. Those methodologies shit, though – during the Civil War, and Reconstruction, the Republican party was more concerned with the infrastructure of slavery on the social level, and the Democrats (particularly the South) more concerned with the economic ramifications of ending slavery. I’m no historian, so those are rough generalizations, but suffice it say that partisan politics was…very different back then.

What is not different about the “how” of our democratic ideals, about the mechanics of that machinery, is … the incessant and overriding quest for individual power, for being right, for the adulation of the constituency, of the personal reward. That remains constant. Leader is an archetype in the human experience, this we know. Whether it’s on the football field, on the work crew, on the playground, there are leaders and there are followers, and there are those who are ambivalent and don’t really care about organizing or facilitating anything until they are directly impacted by circumstances. That’s just kind of how humans roll. Ultimately, that’s ok, because one would assume there’s an inherent common interest for most endeavors, so if the leader wants to do the work, everyone benefits. If the leader gets a slightly larger share of the benefits pie, most of us are ok with that as long as everyone else gets a reasonable share. The problem is, who gets to decide the size of a reasonable share. In the our form of government, the assumption is the people decide but elect leaders who will implement that decision. When the leaders decide to implement their OWN decisions, based on a non-representative but personally supportive interest group, then we have problems. And we have problems. Back to the COVID vaccine – how do we know distribution will be based on the larger common interest, and not on the personal interest of those elected leaders? It’s not like they haven’t betrayed us in the past, and not the distant past. It’s been a continuous series of betrayals for large groups in our society, and large numbers of us figure that we can’t trust anybody. So, you want me to let somebody stick a needle in my arm for this virus y’all can’t even agree on what it does, how it might or might not kill me, and the only thing I know for sure is there are BILLIONS of dollars rolling through all of this but i can’t even buy my own food anymore because i can’t get even a $8 an hour job. And screw you twice because I got no transportation to even get to where they could give me the shot, but I can get me a 40 from down the street and don’t have to listen to your shit no more.

So, do we worry about Marjorie Taylor Greene, or do we worry about whether Johnson and Johnson is not worth the stick in the arm? Do we worry about what the ex-orange crush might be doing in Florida, or do we worry about whether we need to keep the fences up at the Capitol in case of more trouble? Do we worry about white supremacy and domestic terrorism or do we worry about whether our national standing will make it possible for international terrorism on our land? I suppose the common element is … we worry. We’re all about to open doors and wondering if there’s a bucket of water ready to drop from above. We’re all waiting for something to happen, something we didn’t expect, something not good, something we aren’t going to like. So, come on – bring. it. on. But we’re scared, and we’re just full of that bravado that kids have when they’re walking through the cemetery on a dare. Please let me get out of here without a ghost dragging me into a grave. Please let me get through this day, this week, without getting some virus that kills me, without having to go to the food bank and still not having enough to eat. Please let me get back to my house, my sense of safety and familiarity, and what i can control. Pleae, please, don’t let Them take my guns, or my dogs, or my check because then i won’t feel like i can control one damned thing. So if They come for any of that, I’m gonna have to fight. I got nothing else, so yeah, I’m gonna fight. I’m hearing They are coming, and They are coming for me specifically, so I’m ready. I’m ready. I’m SO ready.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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