Don Rogers: How long till the dawn?
The pandemic grinds on, eroding the economy, while angst tortures us over the endless protesting, sending the kids to school, what to do about work, these last fools who won’t put on their masks, the flu season to come.
Too long, too long. And too much. We’re wearing down.
The New York Post this week cited a report claiming the number of couples seeking divorces in the year of covid has risen 34%. The source is not the most authoritative — a company specializing in providing legal forms. But still, it fits broadly at least with other stories in other news entities citing other sources before court records catch up.
Certainly a lot of us feel more tension in our relationships at home, along with fresh anxiety about leaving the house for some, a sort of screw-it, chin-jutting bravado among others.
Throw in the wildfires, a million acres burned within a week after a rare wave of lightning storms across northern California. A derecho — who had heard of that until now? — tore up something like 15,000 square miles of crops and no small number of trees and buildings mainly in Iowa with hurricane-force winds. Then the actual hurricane striking Louisiana. And the dummies in Sturgis who turned South Dakota red on the covid map, along with the spikes in neighboring states.
All this just in August.
Labor Day Weekend signals the stretch run in election season. Of course 2020 would be a presidential election year, likely the ugliest yet with most of the real ugly yet to come.
My liberal friends and my conservative friends — yes, I count dear ones in each camp — have never been more aghast, more at a loss to understand that other America.
The current president, is he that chosen instrument of God or the poison tree yielding the poison fruit? I wonder how much the election will turn on how voters guided by their Bibles will cast their ballots, and how much on whether enough progressives more than happy to share their views with pollsters will actually bother voting this time.
Cynically, I have more faith in the turnout of the voters I understand least, the ones who know the guy’s rotten, but rotten their way. They’ll hold their noses, perhaps ironically, to stick with their principles if not the person.
The scandalized liberals tend to be more likely to pull their victim of suppression and/or oppression cards, waving signs and marching furiously about, but curiously short of the ballot box. Just enough Democratic voters in 2016 ducked their civic duty — by a grand total of 78,000 ballots across Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — to lead to the result they took to the streets to protest later.
I don’t disagree that the Republicans, a most determined and disciplined minority, have developed a taste for throwing up obstacles. They’re just not all that difficult anymore to climb over and through.
The Democrat commands the opinion polls right now — so 2016 in that way, only more so with a bigger lead. But the race electorally speaking, the way the votes will count, remains very much in reach of the incumbent.
So which America do we choose? Has this choice ever felt so stark, so dark?
Sun will rise, right?
Pandemics, recessions and protests end, always, eventually. This is history’s lesson. We can see the shape of things. We just don’t know how deep, how long, how dangerous, and that wears on us as much as anything.
This pandemic clearly is no Black Death, though it’s serious enough, so far around six times deadlier than the seasonal flu and still killing 1,000 people a day nationwide. On a per capita basis, covid in another month or two will pass the American toll from the Asian Flu, checked by vaccine in 1958. The world’s covid death count is still a little short of the actual million fatalities in that pandemic, when the global population was less than half of the number of people alive today.
Dare we trust the current decline in new covid cases? Seems we’ve been here before, too. My colleagues at work lack some of the sparkle we felt back in May and early June, when a cloud had seemed to be passing and advertisers began spending again. We’ve turned wary at such good news now. Can this trend hold?
Now we view the election campaigns for each vision of America with dread, worry for an economy that feels like it may never come back, the El Diablo winds of hell come fall, a possible double whammy of real flu and covid bouncing back with winter and indoors gatherings.
Too long, too long. How much longer?
So here’s my latest optimistic theory, pulled from the annals of time honored axiom, and you know, I’m going with it, all I’ve got:
The night is darkest just before the dawn.
Amen, amen, dear God, amen.
Don Rogers is the publisher of the Sierra Sun and The Union, based in Grass Valley. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4299.
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