••• The International Writers Magazine - 21 Years on-line - Reality Check USA
+ READERS RESPONSES
How Much Longer?
How long can we endure curfews? Restrictions? Isolation?
We're afraid of everyone
Afraid of the sun
The sun will never disappear
But the world may not have many years
- John Lennon, “Isolation”
I ask this with all due respect to the medical gravity of what we are facing with this current Covid-19 pandemic, but, honestly, how long do you think we can pull this social distancing off? How long do you think we can continue to stay in our homes, work remotely, do without social interaction or distractions like sporting events, concerts, restaurants, bars, etc? How long can we endure curfews? Restrictions? Isolation? Never mind the absolute tanking of our economy for the next month, two months, three? There will be no coming back from this. Store owners, small businesses, people relying on humans to pay rent and eat – waiters, barkeeps, attendants at events or places of social interaction. Shit, what about musicians and comedians, actors, and the like? They will never be able to replace each day that is missing to earn and survive. And what about our collective sanity? How long?
This is weighed against fear – always a biggie for Americans. How long did it take before feeling safe and secure traveling on an airplane after 9/11 turned sour about getting there an hour early, waiting on extended security lines, taking our shoes off, having strangers rifling through our personal stuff, and having a body scan? How long did it take before the shock and dismay of the 2008 economic catastrophe before we started getting pissed at banks and the auto industry and expected the housing market to return? Fear only goes so far. Eventually things like eating and paying rent take over. Normalcy is very underrated. People long for excitement and fantasize about the out-of-the-ordinary. But most of us deep down hate that shit. We want A to go into B seamlessly and then occasionally on the weekends some C to burn off steam.
I was discussing these things with my brother the other day. He lives down in North Carolina and says people are already wondering how much longer before they just decide “Fuck it, I’m opening my bar, my newsstand, my coffee shop, and deal with the consequences.” My wife has heard from colleagues and friends that they would much rather just get sick, come back, and get to life then all this self-sequestering and having nowhere to go and not being able to buy toilet paper or sanitizing wipes. Oh, and there has been quite a bit of squawking – and not from pundits and the usual rabble – but people like you and me, that the percentage of a couple of thousand people getting infected against the solvency of 320 million makes it all the more outrageous that it’s all coming crashing down around us.
That gets to the crux of the matter – capitalism. This nation, as stated before here, was built on free labor and land grabs. It is not, as some like to brag, a Judeo- Christian construct with morals and higher aspirations. We tell ourselves that, so all the racism and misogyny and monster truck rallies and porn and bling don’t besmirch our better angels. That kind of thing would be a Bernie Sanders country – socialism, or at least, according to the first century Jesus Movement, an egalitarian one. Equality for the lesser among us? Um, no. The reason even liberal Democrats have now sent Sanders and his democratic-socialism packing is no one likes to give their stuff away to the less fortunate. Oh, people love to jam the Jesus thing down your throat to get you to give up control of your body, decide for you who you can fuck, and other sorted activities, but when the man’s main tenant - give up everything you own and give it to stranger – comes up, they are conveniently silent.
And I do not blame them. I mean, they sure took care of Jesus all right. And let’s face it, there is no America without money flowing freely. Freedom? This is what we call buying stuff. And capitalism, like freedom, is cruel. You know those people you ignore lying in the street? Yeah, capitalism. You know those people who die every day because they can’t afford expensive drugs or are ruined because they get cancer? Capitalism. You know the rivers and waterways and the ozone being eviscerated for business concerns, so future generations and to some extent now all of us are left to suffer? Capitalism. There are losers in capitalism, the poor, the prejudiced, the sick and the environment. Eventually if this nation is to survive the Covid-19 isolation days, then at some point, says capitalism, we need to get back to working and buying stuff. Fast. Otherwise it’s sunk. All of it. There is no country for us to return to once this passes.
To wit: Right now Goldman Sachs, who predicted in December of last year that the economy was “recession proof” is predicting a record requests unemployment relief at two-and-a-half million and an almost certain recession.
Before this happened, the president, who is a huge part of the blame here, for many reasons – the first being that he’s the fucking president. Presidents have to deal with the crazy shit like this at one time or the other, and let’s face it, not surprisingly, since everything Donald Trump has ever done has turned into a pile of steaming feces, this has predictably tumbled into crazy town. Another key reason is long before any of the stupidity and misinformation and diddling we covered here last week happened, we learned saving a buck (capitalism) was a key component that has led to what we are dealing with currently.
Two years ago, the CDC stopped funding epidemic prevention activities in 39 countries, including China, after the Trump administration refused to reallocate money to a program that started during the government's response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Remember Ebola? Did you spend a week inside with Ebola? Was March Madness canceled? Did the stock market plummet? Let me answer that for ya: No. And former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden saw this coming. He told the New York Times that stopping the “foreign” funding (see Trump’s continued childishly bigoted referring to the virus as “Chinese”), done to save money or make a wall the Mexicans were supposed to pay for, “would significantly increase the chance an epidemic will spread without our knowledge and endanger lives in our country and around the world."
Dr. Eric Toner, who studies hospital preparedness at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told USA Today this week that "we're two months too late in starting to do this. I really think this is a fundamental responsibility of government to have acted on this a long time ago.”
Awwww, well, here we are, isolated. Soon there will be 20 or 30 percent unemployment. The country is shuttered; our largest cities and all that. And I ask again, how long do we have before people just walk out the door and do what they want? Are there enough cops to stop them? Are there enough hospitals to handle the overflow? Who knows? But these are fair questions to ask. Especially here in Reality Check land. You want kumbaya stuff, call the Billy Graham prayer hotline and spend some money there or pick up bootlegged toilet paper for a fifty-percent mark-up. Capitalism! Because this has a shelf-life, whether scientists or doctors or politicians want it to or not. It is already starting to crack.
READERS RESPONSES 4.4.20
This column has been consistently excellent in these troubled times and this is no exception. (AMERICA ALONE –). I too fear this isolationist “doctrine”, for lack of a better word, damages our credibility around the globe, gives our allies pause to trust us, and shows through scuttled treaties and reneged trade deals that we are irrational and inept. Let that read Trump is all those things and he is embarrassing our nation abroad, as he does regularly here. The biggest issue is the alternate reality that seems to sucker a minority of this country but is clearly seen as dangerous. If you lie to your people, why would negotiating countries or nations trying to destroy us like North Korea and Russia believe anything we stand for?
I sure hope that this will be the end of the Trump Era come this November. It may be too late if something truly horrible hits us. He is unprepared, and we cannot trust him.
You need help as your Trump Derangement Syndrome is clearly getting worse. You NEVER…EVER complained once when your boy, Cool Daddy B-Rock was blasting his way across the Middle East through drone attacks and targeted air strikes. You never once screamed how B-Rock should be consulting Congress before he went bombing his way to a Nobel Peace Prize. You never once complained about his quickness to go for the gun.
Yet now…. President Trump uses a single drone to shwack a guy in his car, away from any civilian exposure and all of a sudden Trump is unhinged and his foreign policy is a mess. I see you are foolishly going for the State Run Media bullshit of Soleimani is a general of a sovereign nation and untouchable. Wow, too funny. Dude runs proxy wars all over the Middle East, is the inventor of the IED responsible for over 600 American and Allied deaths, openly hailed the successes of his Quds Revolutionary Army in Middle East affairs and yet we are supposed to look at him as some sort of modern day Patton. Fuck that, the dude got what he got because he deserved it.
Look man, I get it. Your girl lost the election and you can’t believe it. You and your ilk have this bullshit sense of intellectual superiority and you hate that you got your ass handed to you and now you want vengeance. Well guess what buddy. Vengeance ain’t yours and Trump will be easily re-elected because not everyone in this great nation hates America as much as you and your leftist buddies.
You may want to check yourself. Your hypocrisy is damaging your credibility.
Trump is a horrible asshole and he will likely get us all in a very messy war like the last Republican president. The Right has consistently destroyed our economy and engaged us in these meaningless conflicts, selling it as national security. But this is way worse, because I don’t know what the hell Trump stands for and it appears on a daily basis with these irrational tweets and kneejerk reactions that change by the hour that he doesn’t either. I agree that congress must act as a separate and equal branch of government and curtail the president’s ability to wage war on his childish whims.
Fuck you, Campion. Trump is a genius. He alone is making America safe again by slamming other countries and keeping the hordes out. You fear greatness.
Ask yourself why this president buddies up to despots and tyrants like Putin and Kim and the Turkish president and sells our allies like the Kurds and most of Europe out. Why? Seriously. If this were a Democratic, he would be called a traitor. I am embarrassed to be an American when I watch how far the moral and prideful structure of this country has sunk under the insipid direction of a wholly unqualified and dangerous simpleton. How much longer can we survive with this? Not another four years. ANYONE BUT TRUMP!
Our standing internationally has sunk to an all-time low. No president, whether Republican or Democrat, has looked so foolish and ill-prepared, acted so mean-spirited and irrational as Donald Trump. The experiment of making a failed business man head of state has been an unmitigated disaster. Relations with our neighbors to the north and south have been irreparably damaged. His buddy-buddy antics with North Korean dictator Kim Jung-un and his selling out of the Kurds in Syria is sickening. His backing out of the Iran agreement, which has returned them to their nuclear aims, and the dumbfounding ways he has antagonized European leaders, castigated NATO and made a colossal ass of himself in front of the U.N., not to mention his impeachable bullying of Ukraine to damage a political opponent, is a reflection on Americans and America. Wake up! Whether you voted for Donald Trump or not he has made us weaker and less safe as a nation. He has stoked the fires of bigotry and division and continues to lie about everything all the time.
Yes, I agree, we are “America Alone”. And we had better wake up to this. Fast.
This was one of the funniest, saddest, most painfully honest pieces you have ever written, and count me as a HUGE fan (CHEATERS PROSPER – Issue: 1/16/20). Indeed, what do we tell our children when we see a corrupt bully as president, our Super Bowl heroes as cheaters and liars, our World Series champions – two of them – The Astros and the Red Sox frauds? It is an abomination. Our sports, our politics, our very institutions are abjectly untrustworthy, and would rather cover-up, like the Catholic Church and pedophilia, than come clean. How do we teach our children that cheating is not the way when teams still get to keep their trophies and awards? When the president again and again tramples on decency and ethics? This is a crisis of morality and law. It is a crisis of trust. Do the games or even the system mean anything when they are not on the up-and-up? I do not know these answers but thank you for bringing up the question. Because it is vital to move on and realize we and MUST be better.
As far as I am concerned The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox did not win these titles. And that has been the prevailing thought among players and sportswriters too. History will make a mockery and put an asterisk on this terrible time in baseball. And don’t forget the Patriots. Cheats! And of course our cheating president. Awful.
© James Campion April 4 2020
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”. +, “Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon” + “Accidently Like a Martyr – The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon”
Coronavirus: Donald Trump's Katrina
James Campion 3.13.20
To slap some lipstick on this pig, he put on a baseball cap and lied about everyone being able to get a test for it. Hardly anyone can be tested.