A Maskless Proposal

The following may or may not be inspired by a renowned yet these days too seldom read 1729 essay, A Modest Proposal, by the late, great Dr. Jonathon Swift.

Thanksgiving 2020 is upon us and even the most virtuous in American society would have to admit this year has been… memorable.

Pretty much sums it up

The way I see it, we are standing at a precipice.  We can continue on as we have, squibbling and squabbling for the last gasps of healthy air, hair dye, and toilet tissue at our local markets as the weather turns cruel and we are forced inside.

Or we can take matters into our own hands.

We Americans have never been ones to back away from a fight to be EXACTLY who we are and get WHAT we want, WHEN we want it by challenging WHOMEVER we want in order to defend our freedoms to do so.

Through the generations this has meant standing up for our rights, taking to the streets and, well, even bearing arms if necessary in order to defend our TRUTHS that we PERSONALLY hold SELF-EVIDENT, no matter what anyone else says.

We’ll take small victories whenever we can #2020

It is the American way.  It has thus always been and always will be.

In the 1800s a number of us grabbed our whips, chains and gunpowder, holding firm to the grounds of our towns in order to preserve one of the then enduring traditions upon which our country was founded – SLAVERY. 

A very dedicated, very bold, very self-proclaimed group of PATRIOTS had the courage to put their muskets where their mouths were and fight to the death in order preserve their inalienable rights to make a living and feed their families on the backs of anyone deemed 3/5 human.

They dedicated their lives so their future generations could continue to live free and thus pass down whatever property, human or otherwise, they had managed to support, cultivate and grow through the years so their namesakes could continue to live well on what their ancestors had both literally and figuratively wrought.

Where are you going with this Chairy? #keepreading

This same inborn national verve translated to the early 1900s when any number of American men, and even women, did their damnedest in order to ensure that females could NEVER have the right to vote.  The patriarchy was being challenged and, though arguments were vociferous, those patriots upheld this tradition for almost 150 years from the day on which our country was founded.

No matter how you slice it, that’s quite a long winning-streak and just goes to show what can happen in these United States when one side believes in the rightness of their position on an issue and in both the inferiority and made up fake logic coming from the other side.

I can’t look!

Using this line of thought, Americans have continued to stand up for all kinds of rights, particularly from the 1960s on. 

Speaking of which, who could forget the crusaders who, with the support of law enforcement, took to their local bridge in order to beat back the invasion of those who didn’t sport their same pigment at THEIR neighborhood lunch counters, schools or local watering hole?

That is not to negate those who several decades later stormed the Capitol to ensure only members of the same sex could legally marry.   Having years before lost the fight to deprive people of different pigments of that right, those naysayers still managed to hold the line with solely traditional opposite-sex marriage for more than two centuries.

Valid

Particularly impressive was their ability to do so through a murderous, worldwide pandemic in the 1980s and 1990s that they cleverly employed to prove their point of the moral unworthiness of many of those new potential same-sex spouses to respectably enter into our country’s version of legally enshrined, wholly American wedlock.

It is then, that now, in the midst of yet another, albeit different global pandemic, a new but no less patriotic group of Americans are standing up in much the same tradition of those that came before them.

Let them hence be known as THE MASKLESS.

Also these idiots #COVERYOURNOSE

This is not their official title but for clarity’s sake it embodies the right for which they fight.  This fearless group among us CHOOSE to fight the new (though now seemingly old) 2020 virus that has murdered more than 1.4 million worldwide, almost 20% of them American, armed only with good, old-fashioned American GRIT.

Eschewing prevailing societal and medical sentiment and guidelines on public health, the latter of which they consider as freedom suppressing, fake and phony as any expert testimony in our recent history, the MASKLESS have proclaimed to any of us that will listen that this Thanksgiving they are taking to the streets, and the airports, and their houses of worship and any other local establishment or relatives’ home that is open to them.

They will do so in as LARGE NUMBERS as THEY choose because enshrined in our Constitution since the beginning of our time has been their RIGHT to assembly.

Maybe more my speed

They will do so because they say to NOT do so, will mean the DESTRUCTION of the ECONOMY they and their loved ones have built.   Its destruction would mean an equally awful END to all of us, death by a thousand cuts to their businesses, savings and 401Ks, instead of death by some silly, overblown medical condition. 

If it means sacrificing the oldest or sickest of the herd, so be it.  Those citizens should be proud to go down as human collateral damage in order for our society to live on and thrive as it always has.

Dowager energy in 2020

Given the rampant and ongoing polarization in these supposedly United States, and in the spirit of American grit and self-determination, the street would seem a good place to play out this issue that divides, though in their view clearly does NOT plague us, this holiday season.

We certainly don’t want to silence the Maskless, that would be un-American.  But nor do we want to discount the overwhelming majority opinion of professional medical advice and adhere to minority, fringe theory in order to get through god knows what else remains for the rest of this year.

I guess it’s good to be prepared

That would be like applying leeches to a bad bruise you received at a 21st century freedom march that is now suddenly festering with infection.

Therefore, rather than endure years of continued argument and litigation where both sides will get heard but no one will really listen, an immediate 21st century compromise is very much in order. 

And it is this:

Those who want to shelter in place in single, twos or fours during this holiday season should immediately do so and remain SILENT.  Eat turkeys or whatever else you choose with or without masks – in the privacy of your own homes.

Will do!

Of course, it’s unlikely the latter could happen under this plan.

Because given their history and acknowledging their predilection towards street fighting for absolute freedom at the absolute cost of anything that inconveniences their traditional ways of life as THEY know it, the Maskless shall henceforth be awarded their own designated section in every suburb, city and Town Square across the country for public and private assembly.

These areas will be walled off and offer unlimited free food, shelter and even lavish restrooms, during the Thanksgiving and, eventually Christmas 2020 Holidays.  There will be NO MASKS, NO SOCIAL DISTANCING and NO CHARGE for anything.  In fact, those outside the walls will shoulder the ENTIRE cost to keep THEM INSIDE and among themselves in a generous reach of across-the-aisle patriotism.

Ca Ching

There will be a limited but sufficient medical staff comprised of those health professionals who adhere to the same way of thinking as the Maskless.  And these people will have access to every medical treatment available to the rest of us WITH THE NOTABLE EXCEPTION OF ALL MEDICINES AND/OR EQUIPMENT NEEDED TO TREAT COVID-19.

These treatments will remain outside, on the other side of the wall, where the rest of the citizenry now live in constant, though perhaps irrational, fear supplies will run out in the coming winter months. 

Since the Maskless have NO such FEARS, or believe the virus causes nothing more than benign or medium range flu with the usual and very treatable symptoms that can concurrently be resolved with the said medicines available to them, this decision should not be controversial. 

Oh Chairy #nailedit

Thus, rather than be made to eat their words, the Maskless can instead eat their yams, their string beans and their sweet potato casseroles, in addition to their turkeys.  The can do so in peace, without the ranting and ravings from friends, relatives and other unknown or perhaps even illegal American citizens seeking to limit their rights.

In turn, those friends, relatives and unknown/illegal citizens, will  concurrently and finally be able to relax for their remaining  and likely dreaded weeks of 2020.  Crazy, hateful and freedom-hating as THEY… okay WE  – okay I –  might be – we will all also finally feel SAFE and SANE or the first time in almost, well, FOUR YEARS.

Keep Calm and Joe/Kamala on

And hopeful that the Maskless that are no longer among us will finally EAT THEMSELVES alive with the unlimited sides of ALL of the freedoms they feel they so richly deserve.

It’s their right and their choice.  Right???

The All-American Rejects – “Gives You Hell”

The Past, The Protests, The Privilege

I’m a middle aged white guy who grew up with that privilege.   Sometimes I’ve been aware of it and sometimes I’ve been blithely unaware.  Right now, well, it’s hard not to be fully awake.

Many tens of thousands of us of all colors have taken to the streets this week, both physically and virtually, both non-violently and occasionally violently, to demand consequences for the death of a 46-year-old Black man, George Floyd, at the literal hands (well, knee) of a Minneapolis police officer as three of his fellow men in blue watched.

Found in Minneapolis

I dislike violence but I’m not surprised or even OUTRAGED by it.  Frankly, I wouldn’t blame many of us if we burned numerous landmarks in numerous cities down at this point.

Don’t take this as an endorsement of violence but more as an observation of the breaking point of human nature and what it seems to take, now and at various points in our history, to achieve any sort of meaningful social change.

Target will recover, trust me

Mr. Floyd, compliant and handcuffed, was nevertheless prone in the gutter with that police officer’s knee to his neck for a full EIGHT MINUTES, cutting off his air.  As Mr. Floyd pleaded that he couldn’t breathe and called to his dead Mom for help, the officer kept pressing down, on his neck.

In the last three of those minutes Mr. Floyd was no longer breathing and likely dead as the officer blithely looked around him and up at the sky, just sort of passing the time.  Yet his knee never moved, nor did any of his fellow officers.

It’s all captured on video from numerous angles and on numerous cameras.  So don’t even try arguing about it.

The impact of the iPhone cannot be understated

Mr. Floyd’s death is the latest of dozens and dozens and dozens – and dozens – of similar acts perpetrated by police all across the country on an ever-growing list of Black and Brown men, and sometimes women, in the last number of years. They have crossed over the line of guilt or innocence to techniques of interrogation engagement that end in viral recordings of Roman Coliseum-type murders.

What once seemed to many of us informed white Americans as complicated, perhaps nuanced issues of policing are now live examples of what is being perpetrated by representatives of the white patriarchal power structure in our names.  It’s the cost of doing business and what’s perceived as being needed to keep us at the top of the social order and ensure our continued and absolute white privilege.

It’s time to listen

I used to think as an openly gay, Jewish guy from New York City who could never hide who he was because of my surname and less than macho affect, I was not truly the beneficiary of all of this.

But over the years when I’ve considered the fact that I’ve never feared the police, have never been suspected or questioned by law enforcement about crime, and have certainly NEVER been warned by any relatives or friends on how to behave if a policeman happened to pull me over or approach me, I began to recognize the undeniable.

From the perspective of the law, I am LUCKY to be white.

Recognizing your privilege is step 1

Not only was that revelation embarrassing, it was enraging.   Until I indulged in the luxury of partly forgetting about it until the next viral act of racial injustice at the hands of the law came along.

These days it happens if not daily, then weekly or monthly.  So while I am more than able to forget where I put my keys and my wallet I’m seldom EVER able to misplace my white privilege.

What a sorry turn of current events.

Watching spots in Minneapolis and other cities burn as our POTUS fanned the flames of racial injustice and re-tweeted old law and order threats from the 1960s designed to incite more rioting and thus distract from his epic failures in so many other areas, everything seemed hopeless.

It’s hard to even look at a cartoon of him…

But then I began thinking about the death of Larry Kramer, a writer, AIDS activist and one of my personal heroes of courage, and I somehow began to have a vague scintilla of hope – and change.

To call Mr. Kramer a mere AIDS activist is, of course, to sell him short.  By all accounts he was THE FIRST AIDS ACTIVIST in the early 80s, someone who possessed a personal, unrelenting megaphone of activism so loud, unpleasant and in your face that it demanded to be heard until it finally was.

Don’t take my word for it.  Read his NY Times obituary. 

and consider the words of the leading voice of our medical community (Note: And one of Mr. Kramer’s chief nemeses) in 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci: There is no question in my mind that Larry helped change medicine in this country.

The reason Larry did this was that, as he looked around the streets of his neighborhood, he saw dozens and dozens and dozens – and dozens – of his friends being brutally murdered by a relentless foe – the AIDS virus.  But crazy as it was, the white power structure, of which he was theoretically a member of like myself, was doing little to nothing about it.

Worse yet, they seemed to have little interest to radically change their ways and pay more than a little lip service to it despite the pile up of bodies not only in his neighborhood but all across the country.

So he realized if anything were to get done he and his comrades in arms (nee other potential victims) had to take to the streets and do it themselves.

1989, ACT UP protest, Wall Street #thanksLarry

Mr. Kramer founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and later ACTUP, two organizations that slowly, and eventually in very impolite ways, pushed AIDS activism and solutions into the public square by EVERY means necessary.

ACTUP, and Mr. Kramer in particular, set a road map for the modern day, post-1960s activists, creating loud, live events that were so disruptive they couldn’t be ignored.  These included theatrical demonstrations that interrupted Mass presided over by unsympathetic priests inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral and other Catholic Churches; die-ins at the White House and on Wall Street; name-calling political leaders murderers and much worse on national TV (Note: Dr. Fauci included); as well as very publicly outing any closeted gay person (or suspected gay person) in power who he deemed hiding (nee murdering us) instead of helping.

Combine this with more cutting-edge research done by younger people in the movement that backed up his demands with black and white science, and proposing well thought out solutions for improving current policies using logic, medicine and, most of all common sense.

Rather than say something was impossible based on what had happened in the past, they saw things that were possible by dreaming of and then inventing a better future.

It was yet another iteration of any number of American protest techniques that came before but at a different speed and adjusted to yet another time.  Think Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington and the Freedom Riders of the 1960s demanding civil rights, the Suffragettes before them fighting for a woman’s right to vote and to use birth control and then go back a century and a half to the Boston Tea Party and the birth of the American Revolution.

The Boston Tea Party, or as POTUS would say, “Thugs”

Americans have ALWAYS been all about taking to the street, rattling the cages and engaging in very public, and yeah sometimes a bit over the line and occasionally violent (Note: On BOTH SIDES) social protests.

Of course, those were the pre-social media days, not to mention even pre-Internet, so cutting edge radical solutions look quite different now.   In these times we intellectually refer to it as the weaponization of social media via sophisticated disinformation campaigns using fake bots, algorithms and any other means necessary to achieve our agendas.

That friggin bird

If it’s receiving help from foreign actors, such as Russia, China and North Korea, states hoping for the devaluation of our country, it’s never been more available for the average protestor.  We’re all just any number of clicks and screen windows away from marshaling aid from any where in the world.

The ends justify the means is much more than a dusty old bromide of how to get ahead these days.  In many circles it’s a contemporary marching order that you WILL achieve your agenda by any means necessary, dire consequences of their domino effect into any other areas be damned.

And we’re bridling at people blocking traffic and setting fire to a few landmarks??

What is it that writer and philosopher George Santayana, once said:  Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it?

Exactly.  And in endless iterations over time.

Hozier featuring Mavis Staples – “Nina Cried Power”