Today is the 7th anniversary of the death of Google Reader, I celebrate by sharing this post with you on this ancient channel of syndication which we both enjoy.
About two weeks into the pandemic I was stricken with a keep-you-up-at-night anxiety. The thought was three-fold: What if my wife and I got COVID and needed hospitalization, what happens to the kids? Do I hand contaminated children off to my 68 year old mother? And what if the outbreak gets so bad they’re out of available ICU beds and ventillators by the time I inevitably get sick?
That kept me up at night. As a parent, the pandemic presents some unique challenges. It’s not solely your mental health that you have to manage, it’s your kids’ and partner’s as well. And surprise, you teach school now too. Our house in the suburbs is now a prairie home in isolation. Last week a switch flipped in my head from “Working with the kids in the house is temporary” to “Working with the kids in the house is how it’s going to be for the foreseeable future.”
The situation has, to say the least, gotten worse. Texas’ Governor Greg Abbot and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick have chosen the “Kill ’em all and let God sort ‘em out” strategy to managing the pandemic. From the top-down, an unprecedented level of failure in leadership and consistent, science-based messaging. My bones crave one person of power saying “This is hard. We’ll get through this. Wear a mask. God bless.” but instead I sift through incompetence, hand-wringing, finger-pointing, and failure to address the human needs over business needs.
I attended two funerals last week. One remotely. One outside, socially distanced. Both healthy men. Both mysteriously, similarly, and unexpectedly taken. Not officially the virus, but both were going for a walk on a cool morning and fell… away… forever.
A new fear has struck me; what if the numbers get so bad that nothing is safe? Guaranteed exposure. They, the government, have decided inaction is the most cost-effective pathway forward and will prolong the outbreak until all of us, lungs and hearts, are eugenically sorted by this invisble killer.
These are the dire thoughts I scream as I ponder if my country is dead. Can the slowness of democracy provide any meaningful change or, as Cornell West puts it, “nourishment”? It looks as if the system can’t reform itself. If there is a silver lining, it’s clear to me that public education and universal healthcare are at least as valuable and necessary as the tens of trillions we pump into corporations every decade or so. Perhaps one day we will value human capital stock as much as the stock market.