A penny for your thoughts.

The Covid Dare

Rossini Le Comte Ory is our entertainment today and it’s French so if I concentrate a bit, I can understand some. But just the sound of singers and the music is enough for me. I noticed a prop that had been used in another production, a tall wooden self standing step ladder. I learned something new, I noticed an actress was playing a male role and pointed it to Carolle. Yes she said, she is “playing the pants” an expression used in theater. Another jeopardy answer to remember. It’s a farcical comic opera, with the usual disguise trick without anyone noticing. The singing is brilliant and it’s a pleasure sitting back and listening. The aria to wine, performed by male actors disguised as nuns is hilarious and the scene goes on to be even funnier.

This morning Carolle went to do laundry and I vacuumed the whole loft carefully. That was a good exercise and a great distraction from covid and the worries. I chastised Carolle when she came back a couple of hours later, for not wearing her mask in the short hallway and the court yard leading to the parking lot. She left with it on the way out but forgot to wear it on the way back. I understand, it’s difficult to self discipline, it’s actually in general, easier for her than for me. I have to remind myself constantly to keep my hands away from my face, something everyone is inclined to do so many times a minute. Health experts think the handshake is on its last leg, the bisou, familiar to European folks greeting each other with a kiss on the cheek, is on the extinction list. Yes covid is a social behavior wrecker.

We woke up with a surprise. April is giving us the snow we barely got all winter, covering the ground with a couple of inches and a whitening of the trees outside our windows. Fortunately, the warm weather melted the snow quickly, a good thing for the bloom already started as they are susceptible to cold temperature. The full bloom we are expecting will happen, just like covid will be defeated, eventually.
But the victory is nowhere in sight. The lockdown protesters have a champion in the White House, and he is vocal. The last message from the president to his base is inciting them to break the states law and revolt. When one sees armed men gathering to the states Capitol of any state, to protest the government’s actions during thus pandemic, the message is clear. Inciting riots is against the law for anyone, and promoting it is a felony, this found on Findlaw :

Rioting and Inciting to Riot: Punishments and Protections

The federal crime of rioting is punishable by fines, imprisonment for up to five years, or both.”

How is the president’s abetting his base helping the country in the fight against covid? It obviously does not and it’s an extremely dangerous turn in our democracy. One has to look hard in our country’s history to find any other instance of such extreme announcement by a president. A search for “president inciting riots” does not have any mention of another president inciting rioting. Three pages down on search engines, only one is mentioned, and not only on this occasion but also in 2018 and other times, and it’s our presiding leader.
Of course, when he says in all caps “LIBERATE” this or that state on social platforms, the message to the far right extremists is clear, “aux armes citoyens”, form your bataillons, use your power to overcome an oppressive government, make your individual rights be respected, ignore your civic duty and take over this oppressive government so you can impose my will. Where are we going to do with a leader inciting revolution?
This morning I went shopping for two electrical outlets that needed to replace old ones. The large diy store near me did not inspire safety but I went in anyway. The scene in the parking lot was a preview of what was happening in the store. In the parking lot, a customer chewing the fat with the employee in charge of gathering carts, none of the two guys wearing masks and definitely not keeping distances. Entering the store, I see a half dozen people gathered by the cashier, in close contact, a mix of shoppers and employees, one with a mask on, the other with her mask below the chin, I didn’t notice masks on the shoppers. All of them grouped way too close for safety. I passed the group taking as much distance as I could manage and made my way to the electrical aisles following the blue tape on the floor. Then I remembered that I did not like the brand this store carried, because the brand name is engraved on the face of the items, an advertisement that I did not need. Beside, the intaglios is a dirt catcher, which is worse than just the esthetic reason. So I turned around and went up hill to the other diy store. I was pleased to see that store’s effort to comply with recommendations. The store has a line to enter with signs asking customers to comply with safe distancing, most of the customers are masked and the line flows rather quickly, there may have been a dozen shoppers on line but within a few minutes I was inside. I was pleased to see that at least some managers are taking care and are aware of the dangers covid presents. Checking out was behind a plexiglass shield, the cashier had a mask on. I saw a majority of employees wearing masks, but some were not and inside the store a few did not, including the couple wandering around the aisles.

Carolle was watching Madame Butterfly, the Opera by Puccini, when I got back. I am pushing back on the social platform against the same people the president is egging on, probably not a smart move if there is an uprising, but they have to be countered otherwise they will become the louder voice. They are mostly insulting the opposite party’s members and smearing them as well, making up stuff. It’s rather amusing to counter their propaganda, sometimes with simple facts that they can’t refute, but it’s also very tiring. The good part is, once in a while, one participant is willing to discuss the topic at hand intelligently, without all caps, and that’s an iota of hope around a sea of negativity.

It’s a sad day when Italy declares “only” 483 deaths today, as if it was a number to be glad about. Spain has buried 20,231 covid dead, New York counts 17,610 people who have succumbed to the virus. One headline today sums the gravity of the epidemic “Reported US coronavirus deaths hit a record one-day total of 4,591 in 24 hours on Thursday”.
The global number of infection has risen to 2,317,759, 738,830 in the USA, globally 159,512 deaths have been recorded, of those 39,014 died in our country. And the president is pushing to terminate lockdowns, encouraging public gatherings, flaunting all recommendations from health experts. It’s hard not to feel depressed when such abandonment of common sense is displayed by the person in charge of making decisions. We went to sleep expecting to rise with more bad news.

Yesterday snow, today a sunny Sunday morning does feel like any other days, and so does the news, unfortunately. The protests against lockdown are growing, and even though the protesters are a minority, their voices are loud, amplified by the presidents calls for “liberation”, whatever he means by that. I am starting to think like some folks on social medias. The idea is, the more this folks mingle elbow to elbow, the more covid will spread among them. It’s hard not to wish it on them. We will know in the next couple of weeks how many of these freedom protesters have become infected. Should they get ventilators, should they get full medical attention, they will. But would they deserve it? There was a woman with her seven years old home schooled daughter at one of the protest, exposing both to a deadly virus. How irresponsible is that, what sort of parenting is it when you place your child in grave danger. A divorced doctor lost custody her child, the judge deciding that her occupation was endangering the safety of the child because of the mother constant exposure to covid. It’s a topsy turvy world when covid is around and when have we hear a president screaming disobedience together with harangue to his followers to protect their rights to bear arms in the same breath?

Our holier than thou vp was on the tv asked about testing among only a few questions because he had the stage and milked the propaganda without really answering the question, instead, the whole exercise was to extol the president’s virtues at combating covid. The whole tirades were just vomits of canned scripts, incessantly trumpeted by a so called “Christian“, all with a straight face and an American flag pin label on the lapel. I know atheists with more Christian blood than the voice has in his veins.

That was not a pleasant way to start a day, and after a that disappointing experience it was time to take some fresh air, literally, and try to get the stank of the vp’s propaganda out of our heads. We took the wood path to the end and went wandering trough the streets, passing an abandoned church and seemingly vacant building detached, a fairly large two story structure possibly used as a small school associated to the church. We have many empty buildings in a town and we also have folks without a roof. There ought to be a way to house them, in the greatest country in the world.

The administration is pushing for reopening the economy, projecting ideas that the worse is over, and lying or twisting figures for convenience. Sunday afternoon, while we watched Adriana Lecouvreur, an opera in four acts by Francesco Cilea, the number of deaths climbed to more than 41,370 American. Worldwide, 165,630 people have died as a result of covid, 100,000 in Europe alone. The figures are climbing, here in the USA, a couple of thousand people died in twenty four hours, and some communities are seeing a surge in infections. The numbers are high in Europe, even though a total shutdown is still in effect, and they are still climbing, the infection line on the graph is still almost perpendicular, showing no sign of plateauing. Reopening our country after a disorderly and partial lockdown is unwise at best and probably suicidal for some folks, considering that testing is still sporadic. The administration knows it’s taking a gamble on people’s life and death. Where is the conscience of the Right to Life and anti abortion politicians? When it concerns laborers, blue and white collars, first responders and the rest of the citizenry, their right to life dies not matter anymore, as long as the dollar machine is greased and running, who cares! Is that what you call Christian spirit mr vp?
Governors are livid at the president lying about having enough tests, and even more furious about his last antics of inciting insurgency with calls an appeals to the most extreme segment of our society.

He is telling us it’s time to reopen, that the worse has past, we are done with covid, and his base take it as gospel. The last president who told us “Mission accomplished “ made a small miscalculation, dragging us in a war that we are still fighting. Incidentally, the same folks who applauded the war are the same right wing protesters who are supporting the president on his call to reopen the country, with chants of ‘”health” does not supersede my right’, ‘Freedom over fear’, and ‘I would rather risk coronavirus than socialism’’.
Finally, wearing masks is mandatory in public in Connecticut, some people are not going to like that. A libertarian leaning lawyer is suing our governor over it, his rational: “order of wearing a mask pushed him to the edge”. He does not see the edge of the cliff covid is pushing us over, would you choose this attorney to counsel you?