Victoria Jelinek


Covid – 19, July 2, 2020

Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness. Honore de Balzac

 

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Email correspondence with a dear friend in London:

A worker in my mom s retirement community tested positive, so they’re on strict lockdown again. My poor mom has barely left her flat in five months. I know that numbers are climbing again everywhere, but I can’t help but marvel/be stunned at how countries like England, the USA, have botched this so completely, and why folks still refuse to simply follow minor safety precautions. And, liberal countries, semi-socialist countries such as Germany, Italy, France, are the ones that hit down hard when they needed to even as the more right-wing-leaning countries that are supposedly ‘tough’ waffled so much. And even in Western Europe, where folks are generally aware of the danger and governments have been clear and precise, folks refuse to wear masks, etc. Can people truly be so selfish? Or is it that they’re truly stupid? I simply don’t understand…(and, of course, for me, understanding the “Why?” of something is key to some semblance of control).

I’m sorry to hear that. It’s hard on your Mum. As to why Britain and the USA have handled the crisis so badly, I would say that both countries are not being run by governments at the moment but by ‘anti-governments’: populist leaders who repeatedly declare their contempt for experts and civil servants. Long before he started insulting Dr Fauci, Mr Trump was insulting everyone from the FBI to climate scientists whilst Dominic Cummings has a long standing hatred of civil servants and his puppet Mr Johnson was elected to ‘get Brexit done’ rather than to actually govern a complex post-industrial country. Covid-19 caught both these ‘anti-administrations’ on the back foot and neither has ever recovered. Britain just lurches chaotically towards an inevitable second wave – the return to lockdown is already underway – whilst the death count in America is increasing so fast it almost defies belief. On the plus side it surely spells the end of Trump come November, and indeed Mr Johnson will be replaced before the next election (much as Mrs Thatcher was in a previous era). In the meantime we must endure the consequences of their rank stupidity.

Well said. I do hope you’re right about the removal of Boris and Trump, though I am skeptical as the powers-that-be are one-and-the-same (moneyed interests wanting to avoid taxes, unfettered profiteering, Russian collusion…). Add to that, I think that Trump has a following akin to a cult who will ‘walk through fire’ to vote for him in November. The ‘left’ will have to vote en masse to counter the weight of the (archaic) electoral college, propaganda, targeted social media misinformation campaigns, ballot tinkering, and voter repression. Not to mention the ‘left’ is often divided in their beliefs about a candidate’s attention to their ‘pet’ interest and consequently don’t vote…but, I’ll hope I’m very wrong in my prediction.


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