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Carpe Diem: 2020.04.01 2020 PANDEMIC NOTES 1 » Dragon City Journal
Essays & Images on Cities, Travel and Contemporary Culture. A web journal of James A. Clapp, Ph.D., an UrbisMedia Ltd. Production

Carpe Diem: 2020.04.01 2020 PANDEMIC NOTES 1

A VIRAL RECKONING AND A LINGERING BERNIE

I happen to be one of those people who do not believe that everything that happens happens for a reason. But I do believe that it is very easy to come up with a reason for anything that happens; there’s not some grand design, only our human need to conjure some cause for any effect.

The two things that are going on right now that command our attention are the coronavirus and the imminent presidential election. Perhaps, because we are only in the primary process of the Democrat side of the ticket, there is far more attention to the virus.

But in one respect these two occurrences might seem to be related, and hence that natural tendency to find things happening for a reason. Okay, if I haven’t buried my lead, I am referring here to Bernie Sanders hanging on to what appears to be now the slimmest of margins for his primary victory while the country is in the midst of a viral epidemic. Why would he carry on against such odds?

You hardly need to be reminded that Bernie is the candidate who calls himself a socialist, who boldly invokes that controversial term “revolution.” These do not seem to be notions that Democrat voters (other than the young ones) seem rally to or perhaps more likely, feel that would not be successful in the ultimate goal of the removal of Donald Trump from the White House.

Yet, here we are, hunkered down against a virus for which there is no vaccine, what the potential of killing millions of our population and sending our economy back into the 1930s. We are facing an outcome that could destroy America as we know it. We are facing a circumstance that exposes all the fundamental and inveterate faults of our undemocratic, capitalistic, unequal, faith-based, corrupt society. We are facing a circumstance that, at other times in history, has brought down the prevailing order. We are facing circumstances that could result in a systemic reset.

It will not take much to expose that our hubristic boasts of greatness can be undone by what our president calls an “unseen enemy.”  It rankles him that this enemy, which is only an organism in nature trying, as all organisms do, to find a host that will help it avoid the Darwinian and Heraclitian inevitabilities that govern existence. It is an organism totally indifferent to his weapons of lies and insults, and nature’s rules of survival and in inevitable change will not be subjected to corruption and deceit. It does not give a damn if he calls it “the China virus.”

And so we arrive at and it is an interesting juncture. Could it be that Bernie hangs around because he wonders–– as do I—whether the “revolution” that he calls for (and I will not reiterate its elements here) might seem more appropriate, more necessary, indeed, something more reasonable, for a society that could well be torn asunder in ways that only months ago were, for most of us, unimaginable even to doomsday-preppers. 

Could it be that these social and economic disruptions of the Corvid virus might be a sufficient wake-up call to American society that had the stupidity to allow the election of Donald Trump, and now has the prospect of replacing him with Uncle Joe Biden, basically a male version of Hillary Clinton, with whom he shared affirmative votes for the Iraq war and other policy positions, domestic and international, of the feckless Obama administration, and joined the Senate Judiciary Committee in the insulting attack on Anita Hill and the placement of a glowering simian on the Supreme Court.   In a 1988 column for the Post of Newark, Delaware Post then Senator Biden wrote: “We are all too familiar with the stories of welfare mothers driving luxury cars and leading lifestyles that mirror the rich and famous. Whether they are exaggerated or not, these stories underlie a broad social concern that the welfare system has broken down—that it only parcels out welfare checks and does nothing to help the poor find productive jobs.” Wow! Donald Trump wouldn’t have any trouble for agreeing with that. Uncle Joe’s decades-long political career is littered with that kind of stuff.  Out of it’s a long, useless primary process, the Democrats came up with the same old shit they have been delivering since the Reagan era. If the Democrats are incapable from Reagan to Trump, maybe a mean little pathogen can do it.

Why were we not more foresighted? Why do we spend so much on bombers, missiles, and nuclear submarines––weapons of self-infection––and cannot seem to have sufficient supplies of surgical masks, goggles and gowns, and life-saving ventilators? Where are the test kits? Where is the capacity of this soi-disant “ great country” whose most expensive and sophisticated weapons of war are totally useless against a microscopic enemy?

Don’t expect a change in the American political/ideological divide.  As the Senate passes a $2 trillion bill to try to keep the economy afloat, support the woefully under-funded healthcare system, and provide some financial assistance too laid-off workers and their families Republicans are typically pushing for corporations and stockholders to be the first to feed at the federal trough, allowing for stock buybacks and other ways of gaming the system. As usual, unless the Democrats can hold off being blamed for the delay, the workers, the unemployed and poor, and the healthcare providers, will get screwed.

It could be the end of American civilization as we know it. But then it wasn’t much of a civilization anyway, and we might have to start over. If things really do happen for reason, maybe that’s why Bernie’s hanging around a bit longer.

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