As Betty mentioned in her post, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have decided to cooperate, and all gyms, casinos and movie theaters will be closed. Restaurants and bars will be takeout only. Good! More to come, I’m sure. So, in our states’ rights utopia, little clusters of states will make their own healthcare policy to address a nationwide threat, while Trump alternates between shaking every hand in sight, and pushing Pence out in front of the public so mother’s husband can be scapegoated later. It’s much better to have our precious rights than our precious lives, so I can only say “keep up the good work” to Team Trump.
We can’t do much about this now, other than perhaps the changes Cheryl suggested today, but I have a couple of thoughts about what we need to do in the mid- and long-term, and what I’m storing away in my anodized titanium grudge carrier for later examination.
First, the bankers never got what they deserved after 2008, and goddamit, the fucking Republicans need to pay for all the cuts and other anti-science bullshit that caused us to be the last place country in virus testing. There should be no “bygones being bygones” on this fuckup. There will be an especially fervent effort by FoxNews to tell us that the response to this pandemic was as good as we could have expected, because it was a natural catastrophe that nobody could have predicted (except for the smart government officials that Trump fired or replaced with stupid toadies). Nope! We need a reckoning.
Second, we need to start advocating for mail-in elections, and that’s going to be a fight. Trump would prefer to have no election, so it’s in his interest to throw as much sand in the gears of changing election procedures as he possibly can. Josh Marshall has a good post on this.
Third, James Fallows makes some good points in this essay about the chaos that Trump caused at the airports, but his point is more generally applicable:
You probably can’t see this from seat 23D on United or Delta, but every commercial-flight airport has its own fire station, within a few seconds’ drive of the runway. A fire crew is standing by, every time you take off or land. That’s based on What if? thinking. What if five minutes from now, a plane comes in hard, and has a post-touchdown fire, which could threaten the passengers trapped inside? What if an airplane’s engine catches fire on the runway, and a hundred passengers have to get off all at once?[…] I’m sure there are airports where the “equipment” has never been used in a real emergency, or not in many years. But it’s there and ready, every minute, because: What if?
Fallows makes a distinction between grinding efficiency, which keeps airlines profitable at the expense of making the experience sometimes unpleasant, and the What if? culture underlying safety systems in airplanes and airports. Our hospital system has been run on grinding efficiency, to maximize corporate profits and perhaps decrease the cost of patient care, but not so you’d notice, if you’ve received a bill lately. So we have no spare beds, we’re going to run short on protective gowns and masks because they’re sourced from China, we’re short of nurses, and so forth. When this is over, we need to What if? hospitals and the health care system in general. We need some slack in the system, some stockpiled supplies, some extra beds, increased pay for nurses and educational incentives and student loan repayments just like doctors get, and a recognition that we may “waste” some money on preparedness (just like we “waste” $800K on each of the airport fire trucks pictured). Because the What if? just happened, and we’re woefully unprepared.