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The View From 90: Adventures in Fall
Martin Green takes stock of October to Early December.
Author’s Note: About five years ago I wrote a mostly fictional memoir, “The View From 85.” At the start of this year I thought I’d try to write a kind of sequel, “The View From 90.” I had no idea this 2020 would turn out to be the year of the pandemic, with its economic devastation, as well as a year of social unrest plus record wildfires in my state of California. I’ve been doing a month-by-month recording of events, but there was the election in November, which overshadowed a lot of other events. So here's two months together. I’ll try to keep it brief.
At the end of September, President Trump himself had come down with the virus, as well as other people in the White House, possibly as a result of a Rose Garden ceremony announcing Amy Coney Barrett’s selection to replace the late Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Trump was moved to Walter Reed hospital and treated with some kind of medical cocktail, which evidently worked, as he was back to the White House in a week or so and then off to a never--ending series of rallies round the country. If anyone thought Trump would receive any sympathy from the media that was a laugh as the reports were either that he was behaving irresponsibly at Walter Reed or maybe didn’t have the virus at all. Meanwhile, Joe Biden stayed mostly in his basement. He did pick Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate because she fit the categories of being a woman and black. She was also pretty far to the left and during a primary debate had more or less accused Biden of being an anti-bussing racist after identifying herself of being that little black girl on the bus.
As it turned out, far-right Judge Amy made it to the Supreme Court without being given the full Kavanaugh treatment, although the Dems claimed the whole procedure was rushed, illegal and immoral and all dutifully voted against her. Another political event was the bringing up again of Biden’s son Hunter making millions on the board of an oil and gas company, an industry he knew nothing about, but he did know the Vice Preident at the time. Aside from Murdoch's New York Post, which broke the story, and Murdoch's Fox, the media dutifully hid this story and Hunter, like Bill and Hillary, who also raked in millions, will likely go unscathed.
After an endless slog and the waste of millions of dollars that could have helped restaurant and other small business owners forced to close because of the pandemic Election Day finally arrived on November 3d. On election night there was no clear winner. Biden led but Trump was ahead in four of five states too close to call. By the next day it was clear that Biden had pulled ahead and as time went on it was clear he’d won. You couldn’t fault Trump too much for not conceding right away but after a week or so his claim that the election was rigged and his numerous lawsuits seemed ridiculous. But anything connected to Trump has always been bizarre. This time he was being at his worst, almost as bad as those with TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) depicted him.
It’s my opinion that Trump blew the election in the spring when on the then televised daily virus task force briefings he could have been reassuring while presenting the facts, or better, letting Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx present the facts and answer questions from a hostile press corps or maybe not take any questions. He also did himself no favors way back at the beginning of his election campaign when, for no reason I could see, he disparaged Senator John McCain, a true American hero, and so possibly lost Arizona. Biden meanwhile kept out of sight and a friendly media asked no pointed questions, especially about his son Hunter.
The pollsters had said Biden would win in a walk and that there might be a blue wave. They were wrong. The Dems lost seats in the House, even in California, where it’s barely legal to be a Republican. And in that far-left state, a proposition to bring back affirmative action was actually defeated as was a proposition to hit businesses with higher property taxes. In the midst of everything else, President Trump pardoned General Mike Flynn, a reminder of the Mueller investigation and whatever happened to the Durham investigation?
Of more importance to the average person, the virus, after a relatively quiet summer, had a fall surge and kept surging in the winter. Number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths rose to record levels. In our Placer county, daily cases, once in the teens or twenties, went up to the hundreds. By the end of November, most of California had reverted to the Purple, or most restrictive, color-code. However, in California and elsewhere, people were getting tired of being restricted and restaurants and other small businesses were closing up for good, leaving millions of people unemployed and no longer having the safety net of the first stimulus bill.
Nancy Pelosi had enacted a 3 Trillion bill in May that was obviously DOA in the Senate and the two parties went back and forth all summer and into fall, predictably blaming each other and accomplishing nothing. Meanwhile our Governor Newsome was caught attending a super-expensive lunch at a ritzy restaurant, called The French Laundry of all things, paid for by a rich lobbyist buddy and Nancy Pelosi had to cancel a lavish lunch she’d planned for newly elected Dems. The friendly media quickly buried the Pelosi story but the Newsome story was, I guess, too juicy to ignore and was held as an example of politicians telling their citizens to do as they say, not as they do.
But, as even Dr. Fauci, not known for his optimism, cautiously said, there appeared to be light at the end of the tunnel. On November 19, the virus task force, it was still there, had a briefing to announce that a Pfizer vaccine had tested 95% effective, would be quickly OK’d for emergency use by the FDA and distributed before the end of the year. Another vaccine, from Moderna, was also tested to be 95% effective and would be ready soon after. Dr. Fauci stressed that, even though the vaccines were produced on Trump’s watch, these vaccines were safe. This assurance was, I suspect, at least partly in response to the declarations of Kamala Harris, Governor Cuomo and other Dem politicians that they wouldn’t trust any Trump vaccine. As part of operation Warp Speed, distribution of the vaccines was all planned but of course it remains to be seen what happens when put into action. So it was the worst of times -- the virus surging to new highs -- and maybe the best of times -- a vaccine or vaccines on the horizon. * Pfizer vaccine is being distributed to all 50 States as of Dec 13th and they aim to vaccinate 100 million people by March.
I said I’d try to keep this brief so I won’t go into any of events of our personal life during these two months except to say we stayed indoors while the air was unhealthy from fires, went to our park when able, didn’t really celebrate Thanksgiving, watched a lot of old movies on TV and continued to shelter in place and tried to maintain our sanity. One thing we had to do was get Beverly’s car, a 2004 Corolla, 'smogged' in order to renew its registration. We’d also been getting almost daily notices that we should bring in the car for still another airbag fix. Our son Michael was off work on Veteran’s Day so we arranged to get the car to the Toyota place, Michael drove it there in the morning and then drove Beverly and myself there in the afternoon to pick it up. We wore our masks, kept our social distance and had the car disinfected, then Beverly drove it back home. By this time it was getting dark and she’d forgotten how to turn on her lights; but we made it back just barely and that adventure was over.
So the month of December arrived with more dire predictions about the pandemic due to Christmas and New Year’s, probably horrible weather, Trump still railing that he was robbed, the start of people being vaccinated and a Joe Biden presidency in the offing.
Good luck in 2021!
Previous Year 2020 memories with Martin
Views from a Lazy boy with Martin
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