Thoughts on COVID-19 and the Election

Submitted by Matt on Mon, 09/28/2020 - 11:25
Dumpster Fire

Current failure and precedents to our situation

The last few months have been harrowing. A pandemic has struck the world and caused unprecedented (in modern times) changes to our lifestyle and freedoms. This has caused a huge disruption for small businesses and working class Americans, not to mention the rest of the world. It has become very apparent that America, on paper one of the richest countries in the world by per capita GDP, was uniquely unprepared for this crisis.

But just being unprepared is not enough to account for the dumpster fire you see today. It has been nearly 9 months since the start of this crisis and I still cannot go buy a N95 mask. To contrast this, after Pearl Harbor (which started WW2) we went from building almost none to hundreds of aircraft per week in the same period of time. By this time community wide collections had already secured hundreds of megatons of scrap metal and rubber for the war effort. Mothers and wives on the home front were making bandages for the troops abroad. The United States then led the free world to defeat the Nazi war machine and the Japanese in the Pacific. 

no responsibility

Instead of a rapid and succinct response to this crisis our government is basically pretending like one does not exist. Instead of leadership we have seen cowardice and selfishness. We could have used this crisis as an opportunity to cement our leadership of the free world but instead we have withdrawn. China is now filling that power vacuum. Something as simple as wearing a mask to prevent the virus's spread is now politically controversial with our commander and chief himself refusing to set a good example for the citizens.

The cult of Trump

Throughout all of this our president has become further unhinged and is beginning to become a legitimate threat to our democracy. He has repeatedly tweeted openly racist/insensitive remarks and openly stated his intention to suppress mail in voting using justification (without any evidence) that this will result in massive fraud. God forbid more people participate in our democracy. He has fed the flames of the riots by divisive behavior. His followers have been increasingly less candid in championing Trump 2020, 2024 2028 etc. The man currently has a 90% approval rate with the Republican party, which has lost its backbone and swayed in the political winds caused by Trump. The party of 'financial responsibility' and 'self-reliance' has since quadrupled the federal deficit and simultaneously gutted social welfare programs to ensure the underprivileged are cast out and unable to get proper resources to become productive members of society.

fake fire

The game plan for staying in power is deceptively simple: trash the 'fake news' media, blame anyone and everyone but himself, pretend things are better than they are, congratulate himself repeatedly for making all the right decisions and then repeat. When things start to go bad he tweets to remind everyone about the FAKE polls so things must be OK. It seems anything inconveniently true is also fake in this alternate reality he has created.

trump election
Insensitive and unthinkable: Ever considered we do not give a shit about your re-election chances but instead want to save people's lives? Ever consider this is not just about you?

Most of his current followers have been willfully blind his faults and shortcomings for so long. They are unable to admit they might have been wrong in the past with Trump so they double down on supporting him today. This is a classic case of cognitive dissonance. Consequently the political situation has become uniquely polarized and tribal. He dominates the news cycles in a way no one ever has before.

Millennials have already experienced 3 generation-changing events in their lifetime

For Millennials like me this has been one of the 3 major events to occur in our lifetime. The other major ones were Sept 11 and the Financial disaster of 2008. Since the 90s it has felt like we are in free--fall as a country. When will this madness stop and will our country begin to be able to make forward progress? We need better leadership for a start. But as much as we might like to we cannot blame Trump for everything.

Throughout our childhood and early adulthood we have witnessed an entire generation of politicians from both parties systematically gutting infrastructure, education and other investment for the future in the name of tax cuts. Anything with a ROI beyond ~2030 is simply not worth the boomer politicians time, put simply most of them will be dead by then. So national deficit and global warming be damned, that is a 'problem for future generations.

The problem with massive tax cuts for short term economic growth

Taxes have repeatedly been cut by both parties for questionably sustainable economic growth at the expense of my children and I's financial future. The poor have become poorer and have less of a chance at making it into the middle class. Sure my investment account balance is up double digit percent in one year thanks to trillions of fed QE but how sustainable is this? The massive inflation for this injection has yet to be fully realized, it may look like a huge gain now but we will pay for this shortsightedness one way or another. Not to mention the poor do not typically own stocks and thus do not benefit financially from this crisis as I have.

stock market all time high
Unfortunately this is accurate in many cases.

Nothing is being done to ameliorate the looming threat of massive automation courtesy of AI. Instead of expanding research funding we are shrinking it. Instead of helping our teachers do their job we are making it difficult for them to make a living wage. College tuition prices continue ballooning. We are prioritizing billionaires and upper middle class when while the poor can barely feed themselves much less do a little better than last year. During a health crisis we are trying to dismantle the one health safety net we have to prevent the vulnerable from succumbing to preventable death.

free stuff

Future prospects

We will likely be unable to rely on the 78 year old Joe Biden to make the appropriate changes. Fun fact: Biden was the first boomer senator to be elected and has been in politics ever since. While Trump may be the suicide pill Biden is just more of the same neoliberal poison we have been ingesting since 1980. But we must approach this practically and one step at a time. Short of outright revolution the 'slow poison pill' is the best option for now. I voted Libertarian the last election but will be voting Biden in this one, we cannot take any chances with third party candidates this time.

Millennials and Zoomers of age PLEASE GO VOTE in November. There are now enough of us to begin voting these assholes out if we unite as a bloc. Vote for the progressive and young every chance you get and discard any nihilistic view of life. Let us choose our own destiny and refuse to become victims of these selfish people. Quit defending the rich and powerful, they will be just fine.

Despite all of this doom and gloom there is reason for hope, demographics and other factors are changing rapidly. Every major plague/pandemic throughout history has eventually been followed by a renaissance of sorts. Crazy events change the way people think. Ultimately the people causing us pain right now will be defeated, such is progress. If the Trump 2020 folk had their way every time we would still be stuck in a Feudal society with kings and the church calling the shots. You and I would likely be outright peasants or serfs as the vast majority of the people at the time were.