In the blink of an eye our world has dramatically changed and will never return to what it was.
In his book, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, published in 2012, David Quammen warned that:
“The next big human pandemic—the next disease cataclysm, perhaps on the scale of AIDS or the 1918 influenza—is likely to be caused by a new virus coming to humans from wildlife. Experts call such an event “spillover” and they warn us to brace ourselves. The author has tracked this subject from the jungles of Central Africa, the rooftops of Bangladesh, and the caves of southern China to the laboratories where scientific researchers work in space suits and study lethal viruses. Spillover reads like a mystery tale, full of mayhem and clues and questions. When the Next Big One arrives, what will it look like? From which innocent host animals will it emerge? Will we be ready?”
That was 8 years ago. Today, COVID-19, the so-called “Corona Virus,” is now raging across the globe from where it began in China. It has been assumed to be a mutation potentially derived from coronavirus’s common to pangolins and/or bats. Although there are no documented cases of direct bat-human transmission, an intermediate host was likely involved between bats and humans. Whatever the source, it has been determined it is a natural mutation of other similar viruses common in nature.
In 2016, after the formidable U.S.-led Ebola response, the Obama White House, reviewing the science and realizing that future viral outbreaks were inevitable, established the global health security office at the National Security Council. The purpose of this was to prepare for and, if possible, prevent the next outbreak from becoming an epidemic or pandemic. However, supported by Trump’s anti-science evangelical cabinet and Republican senate that viewed all “science” with a jaundiced eye, the Trump Administration quickly eliminated the US pandemic response team in 2018. Recently Trump claimed that he knew nothing about the disbanded White House unit however a video has emerged of him suggesting about it shortly after his inauguration. Was this a lie or did he just forget? Now all we hear are excuses and rhetoric that point the finger at former elected officials and fantasy and away from the true source.
But wait! Not to be outdone, the evangelical community is cheering the pandemic. Evangelist Rick Wiles called coronavirus a “death angel” sent in retaliation for sin—“God is about to purge a lot of sin off of this planet,” he warned. Wiles, a Florida minister, said the virus is a “plague” sent by God to wipe out LGBTQ people and other sinners.
Steven Andrew, pastor of the USA Christian Church has declared March to be Repent of LGBT Sin Month, and one of the reasons is the emergence of the coronavirus strain that’s so far infected 100,000 people around the world. “God’s love shows it is urgent to repent, because the Bible teaches homosexuals lose their souls and God destroys LGBT societies,” Andrew said in a press release this week. “Obeying God protects the USA from diseases, such as the coronavirus.” And those of us who believe that crap will be whisked through the pearly gates when the rapture occurs…right?
In his book, The Republican Brain, Chris Mooney writes, “Republicans reject reality—it’s just part of who they are. From climate change to evolution, the rejection of mainstream science among Republicans is growing, as is the denial of expert consensus on the economy, American history, foreign policy and much more.” There has been nothing that more proves that assessment than the Republican’s initial reaction to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Even as the infections and deaths were piling up in every state in the Union through person-to-person contact, former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes said, “If you’re healthy, you and your family, it’s a great time to just go out and go to a local restaurant, likely you can get in easily… don’t run to the grocery store and buy, you know, $4,000 of food — go to your local pub.” Fox News, the Republican’s sole source of misinformation (where the tone has now changed as has that of the President as the bodies pile up) only last week was saying said “The more I learn about this, the less there is to worry about.” (Pete Hegseth); “The mainstream-media “doesn’t reflect reality.” (Jeanine Pirro); “It’s actually the safest time to fly” (Ainsley Earhardt); the coronavirus as just “another attempt to impeach the president” (Trish Regan); and Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham labled the press as “panic pushers” stirring up “mass hysteria.” Then there is Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt who documented his “Eating with my kids and all my fellow Oklahomans,” at a local taqueria. “It’s packed tonight!” he bragged. Then we hear from the dumbest Senator, Ron Johnson, who argues that “we don’t shut down our economy because thousands of people die on the highways…it’s a risk we accept.” One can only wonder if the death rate was equivalent to COVID-19, one in every 30 car rides, if we’d have acted differently. And lastly there’s the response from a member of the IAFF Union Firefighters for Trump. “I believe this is all by design. Democrats have wanted to slow down and even kill the economy. It’s the only hope they have of beating Trump. Sad and disgusting the depths of shit the Democrats will descend to in order to gain power.”
The time has come for the citizenry of the United States to come to the realization, as did I several years ago, that our political system is no longer comprised of two dominant “parties.” It has rapidly devolved into two violently opposing entities, one a cadre of intelligent educable and accomplished science-oriented beings seeking to better the human condition for the present AND for the future. The other, a pious cult seeking only immediate self-satisfaction and basing their values on greed and fantasy.
So, my friends, I believe it’s time—likely well past time—for the dismantling of the neo-Republican failed experiment in governance; the moving it from “Party” status into the Jim Jones wing of the American Museum of Failed Cults where future generations can gaze upon wax statues of Donald Trump, Mike Pence, “Moscow” Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Devin Nunes, Ron Johnson, Jim Jordan and another dozen of the group of court jesters who fawn before the orange-haired oligarch sitting on his throne (when not playing golf). The pillars of the initial party values, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and others must be turning in their graves.
Hopefully, those who formerly supported the historical values of this displaced GOP, Mitt Romney, Joe Scarborough, Tom Nichols, Andy McKean, Steve Schmidt, George Will and numerous other true patriots who left the “party” in disgust can coalesce into a new conservative party that believes in fiscal responsibility and international cohesion and who believe that defense of the country means defending everyone, not just a handful of wealthy bandits and religious fanatics.
At 80 years of age I’ve grown weary of supporting those First Amendment rights that promote “that alternative point of view,” especially, as in the past three years, that alternative has been directed to debasing and harming me, my family, my friends and the entire planet we live on through mocking facts, ignoring science and acceptance of an all-knowing oligarch and his cadre of worshippers. In essence, I’m through with listening to their point of view and trying to respond with established facts and I will from now on respond with “BULLSHIT” and walk away. And, to paraphrase their oft-common response that if ‘I don’t like it I move to another country to live in’, I will ask then them to locate their ass on another planet and quit destroying this one that I love.
- Dean Carrier
Eureka, California, USA, Earth