Isolation, Day 29: It’s hard to believe I’ve been home for four weeks.
I still have plenty to do every day, thanks to the water disaster in my garage, the fact that the big mower is broken and won’t be fixed for another two weeks (we’re using the reel mower, which is great exercise) and the beginning of gardening season. Plus, I still have about a quarter of my granddaughter’s wedding quilt to finish, if the cats will let me work on it.
Around the world, there are reports of pollution being reduced, the air and water clearing, because we’re not out driving, rushing around to buy more stuff, much of it utterly useless. I have hope that we’ll realize there are more important things in life than consuming just to consume.
I’m doing OK except for the moments of utter panic, when I realize how serious this is and how unprepared we are to face it.
Republican friends all think I’m just blaming the current occupant of the Oval Office, but it started way before he ever schlumped into office. We as a society believed we were so smart and knew so much science that a pandemic like the 1918-19 flu couldn’t happen again, even though scientists warned us it was not just likely, but absolutely certain to happen again
But our policymakers knew more than the scientists and, starting with Reagan, we cut funding to public health and the CDC. We denied millions access to care in the name of profit, and allowed tens of thousands of people to die unnecessarily. We cut spending on public health so rich people could get more tax breaks and amass more and more and more money.
Both Republicans and Democrats did it, and now we have a presumptive presidential nominee in the Democratic Party who vows he will not allow Medicare for all to happen, even while 70 percent of Americans want it, and we’re being told that if we don’t vote for this deeply flawed old white man — a man who refuses to apologize for the way he treated Anita Hill or his support of welfare reform and other policies that have proven destructive — that WE’RE the problem.
Since 1980, even the Democratic Party leadership hasn’t believed in Democratic Party ideals of strengthening labor, building up public infrastructure, of government funding of scientific research, of doing things for the common good instead of just for profit. Even the Democratic administrations attacked workers’ rights, refused to take profit out of essential services like health care and education — in fact, they helped the process of de-funding essential services, slashing the social safety net and cutting taxes on the rich.
And now you want to criticize me for saying this nominee is so deeply flawed it may be impossible for him to defeat the most corrupt, the most ignorant, the most despicable man ever to set foot in Washington.
You say I have to get in line to vote for someone who won’t even begin to work on climate catastrophe, which is unfolding before us in the form of global climate change and the unleashing of pathogens like the novel coronavirus because of the way we have encroached upon the habitats of animals we once rarely encountered but now eat.
This candidate is a man who went silent at the beginning of the pandemic, while Bernie Sanders had encouraging words for us and pushed for policies that would help more of us survive.
I’m not saying I won’t vote for him. I waver between saying, OK, I’ll hold my nose and do it, and saying I’m only going to vote down-ticket — although I’m not happy with many of my choices there, either.
I’m seeing people attack me because I think Biden won’t be able to win in November, and I do think he will lose, even if I do cast my vote for him.
The moment Sanders suspended his campaign, I started seeing threatening messages from moderates, demanding we all get in line and not complain about our only choice being this 1960s-era Republican.
I was a Democrat in the 1960s, when the party platform called for universal health care, before Reagan came alone and made “liberal” a dirty word and raised greed to the level of a religion.
I left the party several years ago, when my resolution to include an immediate wage hike to $15 so those making minimum wage could survive on a full-time job, was changed to a raise to $10 an hour over five years. I walked out and never looked back.
This month at home has given me a lot of time to think about where we need to go as a nation, and it isn’t in the direction of do-nothing moderation.
We need to be bold. We need to take the reins away from the fascists and moderates and build a society where everyone can thrive. I will support nothing less, and neither should you.
If we can move Biden to support Medicare for all, a living wage and free tuition for community college, I will be happy to vote for him. Otherwise, I will make no promises, even though I’m likely to be frightened enough by the prospect of President for Life Trump to cast my vote for the slightly-less-bad alternative.
Thing is, I’m not the problem here. The Democratic Party, the Republican Party and all their ultra-wealthy controllers are. Our corporate overlords have stacked the cards against us again.