This year hasn’t come close to anything I would have expected in my wildest dreams. It started out fairly normal, back in January. My birthday, my wife’s birthday, and the kids birthdays are all during the winter, so along with Christmas, it tends to be a really festive season with lots of gift giving.
Then March came, and with that came Spring Training. Being a Red Sox fan, I wasn’t terribly optimistic about our chances this year, especially with the Yankees picking up Cole during the offseason, but I still love our team, even though we definitely have lost some of that youthful swagger that helped us win it all just two years ago.
Then we started hearing about the Coronavirus. At first, the only thing that we could associate it with really was the Corona beer. This was such a big thing that Corona actually lost sales by up to 30 to 40%. Then Trump started assuring us that it was over there and we would be fine. He’d shut down travel for a while and it would all blow over.
It didn’t blow over. People started dying all over the world. It hit places with large numbers of elderly the most, especially in Italy. It spread at an accelerating rate and made the leap from country to country. Eventually even the US started ramping up in cases. If it continued at this furious pace and continued having a 1–2% death rate, tens of millions of people would be dead within a year.
Fortunately, most countries took the right action and shut down, asking citizens to stay at home, wash hands, wear protection, etc. Some in the US started taking that advice, but others were defiant and declared that it wouldn’t happen to us like it had happened everywhere else.
My company was one of the many companies that sent employees home early. At the time, we were expecting that it would last a matter of weeks and that we would be back in the office by June or July. There were some real challenges working from home; not everyone has great internet connectivity, some people don’t have a dedicated space to work, and some of us have lots of distractions like children.
We made it work, however, and pretty soon we were getting used to this new routine, although we were still pretty hopeful that life would return to normal in a month or two. The worst part, though, was being isolated from a lot of people we knew. Family and friends became people we only talked to over the phone.
We were supposed to wait until the curve of cases had flattened out and started to go down before beginning to re-open the country. There were planned phases of opening up that would in theory allow people to get back to somewhat normal lives. Unfortunately, some people weren’t willing to wait.
The economy had started to tank. Because of the shutdown, millions of people became unemployed. The government sent out a stimulus check to everyone, even a large number of dead people who wouldn’t be able to cash them. The leadership seemed to think that $1200 a person would be enough to help people through the time that we’d be dealing with the virus.
If you dig deeper, though, you’ll find that the stimulus bill actually helped the average person only a little, but it was a great benefit to corporations and really wealthy individuals. One action it did was to remove the limit on how much real estate losses you could deduct from your taxes. This wasn’t a bad thing, except that it was retroactive all the way back to 2018. Years that had nothing to do with the virus.
Like a lot of things that Trump has done while president, the legislation that was passed was really just smoke and mirrors for the average person and actually targeted at making things better for the wealthy. Trump has certainly delivered on his promises to make America great again… if you are rich.
Now it is July, and while the curve on deaths has taken a downward slope, the curve on cases has gone up. Fast. Faster than it ever had so far this year. Day after day, new record numbers of cases were being reported. Trump tried to blame it on all the testing, claiming that if there wasn’t so much testing, there wouldn’t be all these cases. It’s like claiming that if we didn’t give people breathalyzer tests during traffic stops, there would be less drunk people.
Looking around, America is raging full of arguments about whether there actually is any danger and whether masks actually work and whether schools should open in the fall. Meanwhile, the US now has around 25% of the cases of the world and 25% of the deaths, but only 4% of the population. We have clearly done the worst job of handling the disease of the entire world.
There will be a lot more deaths before this thing is really under control, and it is just a matter of time before we all know someone who either has been affected by this disease or knows someone else who has. Unless the government stops pretending that we can just live with it and it will work itself out, hundreds of thousands of Americans will die. More than all the soldiers killed in any war the US has been in.
Meanwhile, I’m here, stuck at home. Frankly, as long as there is food and water and electricity and I have a job, things will be just fine for me. I am lucky to have these things. Lots of people in this country didn’t have them before this all started, and even more don’t have them now. This is literally the situation that could literally break America.
I hope that doesn’t come about. I still have hope that Americans may be waking up, especially with some of the civil unrest that has been rampant lately. I hope to see a landslide victory that takes Donald Trump and the GOP members that supported him out. The game is rigged (we’ve already proven there was Russian interference before), so it wouldn’t shock me if the landslide goes the other way, and we have four more years watching our country crumble.