Wednesday, March 25, 2020

March of the Volunteers

Illustration by Sarah Rogers/Daily Beast, from a piece of last July by old Joel Kotkin taking astonished umbrage at conservatives supporting anti-sprawl zoning.

I'm enchanted by this parade of Republican geezers ready to sacrifice themselves and die for the market economy: Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick
“No one reached out to me and said, as a senior citizen, ‘Are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in … I just think there’s lots of grandparents out there in this country like me — I have six grandchildren — that what we all care about and what we love more than anything are those children. I want to live smart and see through this. But I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed and that’s what I see.”
(From Matt Stieber at New York Magazine, who noted that the 2.6 million American children are being raised by their grandparents, which is not to mention who knows how many millions of American grandparents putting themselves in danger by providing daycare for the kids while the middle generation goes to work in the current crisis.)

radio rodeo clown Glenn Beck

“I sincerely hope that we are not at a place, as Americans, where we are going to let the Democrats jam down the Green New Deal because we’re at home panicked,” said Beck. “...I would rather have my children stay home and all of us who are over 50 go in and keep this economy going and working,” he continued. “Even if we all get sick, I’d rather die than kill the country, because it’s not the economy that’s dying, it’s the country.”
and 76-year-old Brit Hume
I'm overcome with delight by the mental picture of Patrick, Beck, and Hume trotting out to the grocery store or construction site to volunteer as the Forlorn Hope squad that will breach the virus's defenses at the probable cost of their lives.

Then there was this:
And this from The Federalist:

—since removed by the Twitter authorities for violating the rules, but it linked to a Federalist article advising on how
How Medical ‘Chickenpox Parties’ Could Turn The Tide Of The Wuhan Virus

Chicken pox parties! One of those terrific ideas from the 1950s, like Jello salads and blacklists, when disease wasn't a problem. Only kids got them, and they had to stay indoors for a week drinking ginger ale and reading comic books and being told to stop scratching themselves. Nowadays people are all like measles is a tragedy just because kids die from it once in a while, and the "Wuhan virus" (they'll keep racializing it as long as they can) is a cause for panic—what's happened to that good old American spirit of "Let's all infect ourselves and our children"?

It was in this atmosphere that somebody posted this
and I found in it a reason for strange optimism: that the authoritarians are starting to blunder too much, that they're intellectually exhausted, that their imaginations are running to suicide: virus parties, toilet licking, the Masque of the Red Death

and the fantasy of these old propagandists shipping themselves to death like the legendary superannuated Inuit on their little icebergs. Meanwhile the White House and Senate have surrendered, under Democratic pressure, to some pretty remarkable demands over the past couple of weeks, climaxing with this piece of the new Senate bill
The legislation ensures that these taxpayer-backed loans cannot go to firms owned by President Trump, other White House officials or members of Congress. This would suggest that Trump-owned properties, including hotels that have been impacted, cannot seek taxpayer assistance.
Other provisions include $150 billion for state and local stimulus funds and $130 billion for hospitals.
It would significantly boost unemployment insurance benefits, expanding eligibility and offering workers an additional $600 a week for four month [sic], on top of what state unemployment programs pay. Millions of Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the past few weeks, flooding a system that isn’t designed to cope with a sudden wave of applicants.
As the bill was coming together in the final days, Democrats fought to make numerous changes. For example, the White House and Republicans agreed to allow an oversight board and create a Treasury Department special inspector general for pandemic recovery to scrutinize the lending decisions and detect abusive or fraudulent behavior.
Democracy is doing better, and the paroxysms of the authoritarians, their fatigue, their willingness to go along with the most ridiculous lies, their adhesion to visibly incompetent leadership, and all that suicidal ideation look to me more and more like signs of their incipient defeat. I'm not even kidding.

Donald Trump, of course, thinks that the main consequence of the pandemic will be that he'll get to stop shaking everybody's hand everywhere he goes, something that has clearly been quietly bugging him for the last four or five years,

Meditation on Social Distancing
by Donald J. Trump

Well, I think
we’ve learned a lot.
I think that there’s
so much discipline now
that we never had.
Nobody ever said,
“Don’t shake hands.”
I did, actually, before
I became a politician.
Once I became a politician,
then it’s hard getting
used to not doing it,
because, you know,
you do it with everybody —
with literally thousands
of people a week.
You’re shaking hands
with big groups of people.
And, you know, we’ve —
there’s a lot of —
we’ve learned a lot.
There’s a great discipline
that this whole country
has learned having to do
with distancing, having to do
with shaking hands.
I think a lot of it’s
going to stay long after
the virus has gone. I really think
it's probably good
practice anyway, but I think
it’s going to stay long
after the virus is gone.

No comments:

Post a Comment