We Need a Hero

Omicron sounds like a Marvel villain, doesn’t it?  Something like:

INT. HILLTOP HIDEAWAY – NIGHT

OMICRON, ageless, sits on a chair at a glass desk faced away from us, staring straight through a wall of windows at the luxurious skyline.   Then suddenly —

He swings around.  A tightly fitted black synthetic fabric covers his face and entire body, except for a pair of shiny white leather gloves on his hands petting a white cat sitting on his lap.

Twist mustache, purrrrfect

His hands slide up and down the cat almost seductively until he slowly rises, raising the cat high in the air in a moment of victory.

Then he brings it down to his shoulders, where it wraps itself around his neck and rests comfortably, like the powerful and immovable amulet of horror it will soon turn out to be.

Okay, maybe that was more 1960s Bond than Marvel but you get the idea. 

And, sorry to demonize the cat.

Of course, you can demonize anyone and anything these days and get away with it.  Ask Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO). 

This is a good start

In the last few years she’s gone to fundraisers around the country with some D-list shtick about hijab-wearing, Somalian born Rep. Ilhan Omhar (D- Minn) being a terrorist, joking she feels safe in an airport or elevator or wherever else she slithers as long as her fellow congresswoman is not there wearing a backpack.

There was a time when this kind of thing would have ended your career instead of making you a headliner.  But there’s an old expression a lobbyist ex-boyfriend once shared with me about this:  Bedfellows make strange politics.

Meaning if you lay down with pigs long enough, before long you’ll grow to love the mud, muck and manure.  In fact, it might even turn into your life’s blood.

Nope, never

Ask aspiring Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).  He sees Rep. B’s Islamaphobic remarks, as well as the hard right wing racist taunts from the likes of Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA) and Madison Cawthorne (R-NC) as merely a messaging problem rather than the unearthing of a gaggle of mice and cockroaches bent on eating their way through the support beam barely holding up what little structural foundation remains of his party. (Note:  That would be the Republican party, or as he likes to sometimes refer to it, the party of Lincoln.  The latter would be the man who freed the Civil War slaves, the same one that several noted psychics claim to have literally seen turning over in his grave in the last few years)

Not that I’m partial or anything. 

Reality check

But once we get into people like Rep. Cawthorn, who says his trip to the Fuhrer’s vacation home (Note: That would be Hitler’s pied-a-terre) was a memorable sojourn that was on his bucket list, all bets are off.

I mean, there is no prose purple enough you can use to describe that.  Hence, the Omicron excerpt above.  With more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases and 1000 plus deaths in the U.S. daily, the latter stat almost solely among the unvaccinated despite a vast surplus of vaccine, the rest of us have now become the unwitting cast, crew and extras of a new, live and ongoing superhero film missing one basic and very crucial element – a superhero.

All bat signal, no bat

Which brings us to the Supreme Court.  That once hallowed last chance savior body has this week taken up an anti-woman’s right to choose case from Mississippi that will likely end the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that gives all women the blanket federal right to seek an abortion up to 24 weeks into their pregnancy.

But in her questioning, Justice Amy Coney Barrett (Note: Whose confirmation in the during the last days of the Trump presidency was celebrated in a massive COVID-19 virus super spreader event at the White House) reasoned that pregnancy and parenthood are not part of the same burden.  In fact, she posed the idea that as long as women could give their babies up to the state for adoption, the right to terminate a pregnancy could at least be almost cut in half, or curtailed even further.

Because why shouldn’t an underage girl raped by a family member who is too scared to come forward in her first trimester be forced to have her baby?  Can’t she, like, just leave it at the firehouse as girls used to do in the old days?

It literally takes your breath away

Granted, this is my incendiary language and not hers.  But it’s essentially accurate when you read through her questioning.  See, Justice Barrett, 49, has seven children, two of whom are adopted, and a fundamentalist’s view of religious doctrine.  So much so that she once held the title of handmaiden at a small and very conservative Christian group called People of Praise. 

Not a fount of choice to be had there. 

Nope. That’s it. Moving to Canada.

Now, far be it for me to take away anyone’s freedom to live their life in their own kind of personal hell, I mean, dogma.  They are free to think of me as a sinner and try to own me as the self-admitted lib that I am, just as I am free to think of them as the misguided, willfully ignorant idiots that I know them to be.

But I’m just at the point of proclaiming what they are all NOT free to do is to refuse a vaccine against a disease that threatens the survival of life as we know it.  If you can drink a Coke, eat fast food, get your kid a small pox and polio vaccine before they enter school, you can sure as f-k be required to get this f-kin shot. 

I mean, I’ve gotten THREE so far and listen to me here.  Don’t I sound normal???

And I’d get three more shots if I had to!

Not to mention, shouldn’t there be at least an intelligence test you have to take before you get to serve in Congress or the executive branch?  (Note: Can you imagine who wouldn’t make the cut?).  How about a few geniuses get together and concoct a 2020 plus racism test that disqualifies you from serving if you score below a certain number?  The same for the basic tents of democracy (Note: Freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly) with essay questions on each so you can’t just pass by memorizing a bunch of laws.

I’d volunteer to grade them because…who else could I trust?

Red pens are ready!

Now I’m just joking, but only barely.  More than ever, this feels like the part of the film where either a hero or extraordinary power swoops in and saves us or we decide to save ourselves by standing up to the likes of the Omicrons.

Whether they’re wearing robes or abusing their elected offices with stupidity.

I’m by no means suggesting storming the Capitol.   Rather, spending some more time standing up to them in strategic discourse and civil disobedience.

As well as crawling through broken glass to cast your vote and make yourself heard.

Bonnie Tyler – “Holding Out for a Hero”

Not Over Till It’s Over

This is not meant to scare anyone.  But here are some facts.

The U.S. is about THREE TIMES the geographic size of India. 

Yet India is home to 1.3 BILLION people as opposed to the U.S. population of just 333 million. 

That means FOUR TIMES as many humans live in India in about ONE-THIRD of the space we have.

To put it another way:

Imagine if EVERY U.S. STATE IN OUR EASTERN TIME ZONE suddenly vanished and EVERY PERSON WHO LIVED IN THOSE STATES instantly materialized into the states that remained.

That’s how much physically closer we would all be and that’s how socially distanced we would all be, mask mandates be damned. 

Okay, are you with me so far?

Uhhh…. yes?

Good.

Now even though none of us want to think about this, let’s briefly look at the latest statistics about Covid infection rates and deaths.

U.S. infection rates are now 50-60,00 per day, which sounds like a lot but actually is pretty great considering in early January, prior to the Biden-Harris administration taking office, we were at an all-time high of just over 300,000 per day.

Know what the infection rate was last week in India – OVER 400,000 PEOPLE PER DAY.

Putting it mildly

Yup, after enduring a first wave of infections surprisingly well considering its size, India is now exploding with Covid disease and deaths, so much so that crematoriums have been overrun and mass groups of corpses are now being burned in the streets.

I watched one news report that showed 44 ambulances with dead bodies lined up at one site with nowhere to go.

Sad, tragic but, um, thank god (Note: Our whoever you believe Her to be) WE’RE safe.  Right?

You can go ahead and press that

India survived surprisingly well in the first wave of COVID infections but it is now in the midst of a much more deadly second wave.

Why?

Because the second wave in India is due to a NEW COVID VIRUS VARIANT that is much more lethal and virulent than anything that came before it.

This is what viruses do.  As they get eradicated or slowed, they mutate to survive.  Sometimes they do this ineffectively and, other times, quite efficiently.

Not so fast everyone

For instance, I recall vividly being told in the last half of 2020 that the UK variant of COVID was starting to be found in California and today, mid-2021, it is now, by far, the dominant variant.

See how this stuff happens?

This might all seem potentially manageable if the Indian variant behaves like the UK variant.  But there is not yet ANY EVIDENCE of that.

In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci gave an interview on NBC this weekend where he unequivocally stated that, according to early research, in terms of the current science and the vaccines available, the India variant was so far PROBLEMATIC.

Now after decades of going to doctors for various medical conditions for myself as well as for my elderly parents, let me translate to you what problematic means from a physician.

Me, hearing the word “problematic”

 It means not good, it means we don’t have an answer, it means this can be worrisome.

At the very least it means, you are by no means cured or even out of the woods.  It means this is SOMETHINGOr worse.

Q: Oh come on, Chair, wait.  Why are you sending us into mass panic? Will the India variant even be here?  I mean, I just read that the US has restricted all air travel from India.

A:  You mean that edict this week, after we’ve intermingled aerially for several months when their cases were only 200-380,000 per day?  Right.  No reason to think an airborne virus from another country overseas could possibly get here and take over.  (Note: See several paragraphs above)

Sigh

In the interest of fairness, let’s note that the head of one German biotech company that helped develop the Pfizer vaccine, said that his vaccine was “clever” and “would hold” against this new variant.

Well, let’s hope it’s VERY clever because even though Mr. Biotech noted he wasn’t worried” he also let it slip between press sound bytes that they were “still testing” its effectiveness in combatting this new strain.

Meanwhile:

INDIA: 19.2 million Covid cases; 212,000 deaths.

U.S.: 32.5 million Covid cases; 580,000 deaths.

Yes, we’re still in the lead but soon they will soon be nipping at our heels.

 Literally.

My summer plans

And through no fault of their own.

Because the sad truth in all of this lies in something I heard one Indian doctor say live on TV this weekend. He spoke it in his native language but then translated in hopes that the rest of us might hear and then take action.

If it affects some of us, it affects all of us.

What to do?  Well –

– Getting the vaccine and any inevitable booster would be a start.

– Following CDC guidelines on mask wearing and social distancing could also help.

– Listening to science and facts vs. political dogma and conspiracy theories from your favorite cable TV news host or dark web site definitely wouldn’t hurt.

Lighting this nightly

-Donating a small amount of money, time or attention to help out someone/anyone/anything in support of any of the above would also be noteworthy.

And when all else fails, be kinder to others, even yourself. 

Because you never know what’s just around our MUTUAL corners.

Ben Lee – “We’re All in This Together”