Endarkenment (Part 5)

A photo of empty store shelves with a note to customers apologizing for the missing inventory due to COVID-19.
Wesley Tingey

Fortune.com: USPS warns it might have to shutter by June as $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package provides no funding

What better way to dismantle the rest of the federal government?

We are watching what’s left of the US disintegrate as the systems break down that once sustained our society and we are docile, at home, out of fear. I only hope that the reasons for this docile house arrest is legitimate and not one massive lie built on a shred of truth.

Yes, the virus is deadly. So is the flu, and yet we chose not to hide in our houses for the latter because we had access to a vaccine that could protect the majority of us (even when otherwise sensible people rejected the concept of a vaccine and trusted the rest of us to protect their sorry asses).

I am NOT comforted by the news. Not in the slightest. And don’t even get me started on the nightly opportunity for Mango Mussolini to preach to his base. I am convinced, even as I’m sheltering at home, that there is an enormous lie at the center of this, even as I watch the news that seems to indicate a virulent disaster the likes of which we haven’t seen in the US in over 100 years.

I am reminded of Winston Smith’s description of Oceania: What happened, how it came so quickly. I’m also reminded of The Handmaid’s Tale. How things were normal until…they weren’t.

In fact, I’m reminded of too damn many stories of dystopia and how each became what it was.

How long before we decide that sheltering at home isn’t enough, that the disease is too virulent, and we have to start quarantining in great camps?

Someone has turned the most populated states into ghettos of disease. We should be terrified, but not of the virus.

I would love to think that we will see an end to this by the end of next month, but this has all the earmarks of the start of something truly awful, and all I can do is watch from my own small space, while we figure out how to make our personal spaces into comfortable prisons.

You are welcome to read the rest of my Endarkenment posts for a full picture of where we were and what I predicted and ranted about over time since the election of 2016.

I have a zero tolerance policy for bullshit and I’m still seeing people I know talk about the Democrats as if we are the problem.

Are you one of those people? Fine. I invite you to explain to me with bias-proof, verifiable facts exactly how we are to blame for all of this. Otherwise? Stuff it.

As for the Republicans? Many of them think this is a Democratic disease, and that they are immune. Are there people on whom I would wish ill? While I will not dance on anyone’s grave, as Clarence Darrow (not Mark Twain) once said:

All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.

We are apparently moving to vote by mail in Maryland. There’s just one problem with that. What if there is no mail anymore?

What if the federal government finally, irretrievably, collapses under the weight of unmitigated incompetence and active measures to blow away what’s left of our civil service?

What happens if, after all, we are unable to have our election process, or we have it but it bears no relationship to any election we have ever had in our 200+ year history?

What will that look like, when we are restricted to our homes, unable to rise up en masse because we are afraid of a disease that may kill us?

How long before we lose what little we once had? And what happens when the credit cards are turned off because we can no longer pay for anything?

Still bearing witness, terrified that this is our new, permanent reality.

Who will help us now?

I have no answers, but plenty of questions. And I am concerned that we are playing a game we will all lose. There is no magic reset button, no way to reboot the country and start over.

A week ago, I asked the following question on Facebook:

I have an interesting take on a suggestion from a friend who wants me to write an article.

Can anyone tell me how old Trump was during the last Great Depression?


I’ll be back in an hour.

The answer:

He wasn’t. He was born in 1947, almost two decades after the Black Friday crash. He has no frame of reference for what the Great Depression was like. He won’t read, he hates history, he has no fucking IDEA what it was like for people.

I followed up the first question:

So, let’s see. 17 years after the fact, huh?

Think back. When were you first aware of what your life was like, in context of the economy.

This is leading up to a think piece. I’m interested in how old you were when you first noticed how much money things cost, and what you had to do to get what you wanted.

The answer, in general: Somewhere between 8 and 12.

Perspective: In theory, that places Trump’s first (highly questionable) awareness of money in roughly 1955, at the peak of plenty. (Outrageously floofy dresses, huge cars with excessive decoration, cheap education. Cocktails for the rich.) Even the nouveau riche had advantages.

Couple that with senile confusion over the current era.

See where this is heading?

Here’s the article:

Business Insider: Trump says there will be ‘suicides by the thousands’ if the US coronavirus shutdown continues

Just a little over a week ago, Trump claimed this would all be over by Easter. Yesterday, the governor of my state proclaimed a “stay at home” order to keep people from congregating outside.

And now? We’re home. Same as in Virginia.

That’s how fast this is moving.

What isn’t so clear to me is how those of us who depend on interaction to survive because our jobs are tied to in-person activity will actually survive.

As much as I hate to think he might be telling the truth, it is actually impossible to divide out suicide from economic disaster from death via virus.

Does it matter how you die?

Does it matter what happens while you are trapped in your house, watching free movies or playing board games?

Talk to me six months from now. If all of this is a distant, awful memory, I will thank you for reminding me that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it could be.

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