It’s been hard to package everything that’s happened in the past month. Based on recent history, if I had to summarize the fate of the United States and the human race as a whole, I’d have to say things don’t look good. The United States is a war with itself. It’s a strange war of attrition. Our government is so evenly divided that only decrees coming out of the White House have any consequence, rendering us under de facto autocratic rule with congress almost completely immobilized. Given the perverted process of selection of Supreme Court Justices since 2017, it would not surprise me if local governments ignored any rulings against progressive interests coming out of the Supreme Court in the near future. Should that occur, the autocrat would have to decide whether or not to support the will of the people or the court. His decision could amount to the second formal declaration of War Between the States either way he decided.
Such is the world we have created for ourselves. I take no satisfaction in seeing mainstream media now using the words I used years ago to describe the direction the country was moving in as a result of the electorate not holding elected officials accountable for their part in disrupting and undermining the Obama presidency to the detriment of working class Americans. Too late the media is finally using words like fascist and white supremacist to describe the policies and actions of people like Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and Donald Trump, instead of the more benign but misleading words like conservative Republican and small government advocates. Had they been doing as much when those people were campaigning for office, we may be living in a different world today.
The tragedy of our disunity is that we are powerless to do the things we all know are necessary to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. The fossil fuel and food industry are free to destroy the environment and slowly but surely poison us to death without the slightest concern or worry about reprisals. We are so shallow and ignorant as a people that we don’t have the good sense to defend ourselves. The old saying “Too dumb to come out of the rain” aptly applies to the average American. I would have thought that a pandemic from a highly communicable virus would surely unit us as a people, and yet we still don’t have the good sense to wear masks and social distance for the few more weeks needed to completely control the spread of the disease. Our stupidity has become monumental. Many of us are refusing to cooperate on grounds on constitutional rights, as though the virus is somehow influenced by our political views. We are too stupid to understand the subtle distinction between contracting the disease and spreading the disease.
COVID-19 is giving us a preview of the death waiting for most of the human race beginning after 2030. COVID-19 like most terminal illnesses (like cancer or intractable diabetes) kills by starving the body of oxygen. In the case of COVID, the lungs are attacked so violently by the virus that the body reacts with a massive immune response. The massive inflammation created by the immune response robs all the organ systems of the body of their precious life-giving oxygen causing all the organs of the body to shut down, beginning with the most vulnerable. First the kidneys, then the liver, pancreas and central nervous system follow. Anyone who has witnessed a close relative die in that way can tell you how horrible that kind of death is. It evokes in the surviving love one a heartbreak that even the most accomplished novelist would have difficulty describing in words that would even begin to convey the depth of hurt, pain, guilt and shame one experiences in watching someone they love die that way, to someone who has not themselves experienced it. The person dying from the disease is in unbelievable agony until they mercifully loose consciousness. If we destroy the delicate balance of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide in our relatively paper thin biosphere as we are currently doing, we will all get to watch the people we love most in the world die that way before succumbing ourselves.
For as long as I’ve been alive, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” has been America’s credo. We are all witnessing the practical consequences of our failure to honor that commitment, leaving us to be ruled by demagogues and oligarchs who are literally killing us a little bit every day we’re alive. I hope my synopsis of what life and death will look like for all Americans a decade from now will in some small way help to shake us out of this trance of stupidity we all appear to be walking in.