I look at the disaster of the coronavirus and I think of words from Bob Dylan’s song, “All Along the Watchtower” — “Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”
I usually try to keep my Facebook posts fairly calm. But watching Donald Trump’s wall of lies regarding how his administration is mishandling the coronavirus emergency does not make me feel calm. I FEEL LIKE SCREAMING! I clearly need to vent, and right now that means I need to let loose this heartfelt rant. Trump’s statements about the outbreak are pure fiction! The number of cases reported is pure fiction! How can it be otherwise when there are almost no test kits for determining the numbers?! Lies, lies and more lies! And these lies are putting us all in grave danger!
We are in unexplored territory with this virus, with the possible exception of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic which killed millions — 5% of the world’s population! We’ve likely only seen the tiniest tip of the iceberg so far. But schools are closing, professional sports are shut down, music events cancelled, much of New York (such as Broadway) is closed for business while grocery stores are running out of essential items.
The economic impact will be huge! Life savings are going in the toilet as the stock market crashes! The wealthy will sustain losses, sure, but as usual the biggest losses will be for the average Jane and Joe — people who live from paycheck-to-paycheck to pay rent and buy groceries. The government and the media advise working from home. How insulting to those who can’t. Tell it to the policemen and firemen and garbage workers. Tell it to the doctors and nurses and grocery store checkers, the truckers who transport our food and other necessities!
Test kits should have been ready. There was even a possibility of acquiring very good ones from Germany or other countries, but we’ve waited to see which American company will be awarded the lucrative contracts. Money over health, just as with our pathetic lack of healthcare system. South Korea is testing 10,000 people a day while the United States has tested well under a thousand total during the first two weeks of the outbreak. And as the number of infections balloon — as they surely will — other misjudgments will become readily apparent. Hospitals will struggle to accommodate the number of patients. It looks like there will be an insufficient number of ventilators to keep all patients breathing. Doctors will have to make the terrible decision of which patient gets to live and which one is out of luck and out of time.
People in the Trump administration have known about this dangerous virus since December! But they chose to play it down. Trump was worried about his damn numbers, don’t you know. So he told us everything is fine, just go about business as usual. Everything is taken care of, etc. If there was ever a lie that should be a crime, that is it! Trump should be doing hard time, not playing golf at Mar-a-Lago! If there’s a shred of justice left in this ravaged world, there won’t be any golf where he’s going!
And I’m sorry, but if you still support Trump at this point, you are supporting a malignant narcissist whose actions (or inactions) are causing the deaths of no telling how many of your fellow Americans!!! I love my friends, including those of you who have supported Trump, and I sincerely would hate to lose a single one of you but, as the song says, “the hour is getting late” and this is no time to talk falsely.
I don’t know exactly what lies ahead, but I strongly suspect it is going to bring fear and hardship like the world has rarely if ever experienced. More than anything, we will need to love each other, love the planet, stop to smell every flower and praise every sunset. Mother Earth has had it!!! She is not going to take any more pillaging — no more taking and taking and taking without giving anything back! She is not out to harm us, but our race has become the virus that ravages her body, and her body will fight off the infection. We have harmed ourselves by destroying the very source that nourishes and sustains us.
Perhaps about this time, some of you are thinking now Jim has gone off the deep end. Well, you know what? You are right. I am off the deep end. And you know what else? We all are. We are all off the deep end. And to quote another Dylan song, “You better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone. For the times they are a-changing.”
Earth can no longer sustain the stress of our serving the false god of materialism. Our entire economic system is built on the ridiculously false notion of INFINITE GROWTH on a finite planet. As the wise curmudgeon philosopher, Edward Abbey, once said, “Growth for growth’s sake is the ideology of the cancer cell.” And that is just what we’ve become to this unique, fragile, beautiful orb in space — a cancer on her precious body. But the good news is we don’t have to be. We just might (no guarantee) have just enough time to wake up, raise our consciousness and realize that Mother Earth is a living organism. And we are not apart from her; we are a part of her. And it is time for us to radically change our minds and change our ways — to serve our common health by curing the viral disease of ignorant disregard and greed.
We are, at last, all in this together. May we use the lesson of the coronavirus emergency to finally find our way.