Well, here we are. Buttoned up. As the military says “confined to quarters.” Venturing out only to take the garbage, pull a few weeds and walk the dog. Essential activities.
At the moment, half-a-dozen states - nearly all red - have issued no such orders. Citizens are still congregating. Still churching. Still going to the movies. Still socializing. Closely. One governor says he will never issue orders of “confinement.” So, there!
Our current state of temporary residence - Arizona - for purposes of politicking, has turned purple and may go slightly blue in November. But, we do have a Republican governor at the moment. Ducey, by name. Same as that guy on Faux Nues.
Our GOP Governor Ducey came late to the necessity of “ordering” people to stay home. After posturing and dragging his feet, he finally issued a gubernatorial proclamation the other day, calling it “holistic protection.” We Arizonans should “shelter in place.” But, the “order” is so weasel-worded, with guidelines akin to chalk painting, that we can still wander around pretty much at our pleasure. If we dare.
Of course, he stipulated “essential services” should remain open. So, quick lube shops, candy stores and bicycle repair operations are still in full swing. “Essential” to someone, I guess. And, he had to add continuing “Constitutionally protected activities” as he listed them. Speech, church, right to assemble, etc.. Not much in the way of real restrictions. Most businesses still open. Who’s going to enforce these “non-essential” decrees?
Funny thing about the red state governors who haven’t acted to protect the populace, like our resident Republican “head-of-state.” Looking at the map, they’re pretty much up the Midwest. Lots of rural territory. Florida finally acted when their “conservative” governor said he believed his friend Trump’s recent “come-to-Jesus” conversion about COVID-19 was real. But...Floridians have an “exemption” to go to church!
Idaho’s Governor Little must have looked at that map, too. A rather blue Boise with lots of red out there including Driggs, Mud Lake, Marsing, Hollister, Council, Bliss, Gooding, Post Falls, Hayden, Bonners Ferry, Buhl, et al. Trusty Republican voting areas. Not a lot of enforcement of state-ordered restrictions out there.
And so it’s been with many of the somewhat rural states with no clamp downs on the public. Seems those states with single, major, mostly blue large cities either don’t have gubernatorial restrictions or, if they do, there’s lots of wiggle room. You don’t want to restrict - read anger - those rural Republican voters.
Our White House Liar-In-Chief also came late to the realization that what’s happening is truly a deadly pandemic killing thousands of folk. I’m guessing Dr. Fauci, Dr. Brix, and a few other highly qualified health professionals, pinned Trump to the Oval Office rug and force-fed him graphs, charts and detailed descriptions of the invisible terror we’re facing. Thus, the abrupt about-face in his recent public comments.
As a skeptic of Trump’s daily TV appearances, it’s occurred to me these have replaced his coast- to-coast aerial wanderings to hold political rallies. All that chatter about “15 people sick” and “we’ll be out of this by the end of the month” business. Seemed to me he was trying to keep his base “fed.”
But, now, even he’s a believer. Much more somber appearances. I’m still not comfortable with the projection that if “only 100,000-240,000 Americans die” it’ll be a “victory.”
We, here in the West, behind the coastal states, are being told the COVID-19 wave will begin to be felt in about 10 days with the heaviest blow to hit toward the end of the month. We know of a few cases locally but I’d guess there are more than “a few.”
Local hospitals have locked doors. Lots of signs posted directing people someplace else. Barb badly needs knee surgery but her surgeon told her, pain or no pain, that’s “elective” and surgical suites are closed to him until all this corona virus business is over. Whenever that may be.
So, we wait. Sheltered in place. Cupboards and freezers packed with groceries. Plenty of dog and cat food for the next 90 days or so. Shelves for toilet paper and paper towels barren in the stores. Can’t find a can of baking powder or baking soda anywhere. Remember, we seniors know how to bake. Younger generations stocking up on frozen foods and package goods. So, while being quarantined, we oldsters will enjoy cakes and cookies while the kids have tater tots.
There’s no question the federal government has failed us in lack of leadership and extremely poor preparedness. Many governors - bless their hearts - have tried to use state resources to carry the load. Even as they have to compete against each other in the open markets for necessary supplies and equipment, there’s a spirit of cooperation in most areas.
Despite the claims of politicians, capitalism has failed in many ways. Because of that, when we emerge on the other side of this virus terrorism, there’ll be many changes in our systems. In just one very important case, there’ll likely be efforts to implement a government program to provide health care for everyone. Call it “Medicare for all” or “Universal Medicaid.” Whatever. We’re learning every day just how important it is to make proper health care coverage a right rather than a privilege while tying it to employment.
For now, most of us are buttoned up, fearful for the near future, wondering if we’ll be victims of this plague or if we’ll live to see more days. Fearful but hopeful.