Originally a day to remember and honor the fallen in the American Civil War, Memorial Day expanded to include later wars. Now it should expand beyond the military. In the COVID-19 pandemic, essential workers risk their lives and sometimes die, defending the rest of us from the disease itself and the societal collapse it could cause.
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In wartime, ignorant and impulsive pols can somehow make horrendous situations even worse. So it is with the pandemic. Medical workers (including EMT-s and hospital support staff as well as doctors and nurses) have been sent into battle with inadequate personal protective equipment for themselves and inadequate intensive care facilities for their patients. Stockpiling such stuff would cost money. Might even need to raise taxes on those who can work from home, if they need to work at all. And so on.
It’s so much easier to claim that all is well until all Hell breaks loose, then claim that all will be well when the weather warms up, if we just go back to work and drink a little bleach.
The governors of some states have stepped up. Learning from each other and from countries (like New Zealand and South Korea) that took the threat seriously, they made tough decisions. They include a few Republicans (like Hogan in Maryland and DeWine in Ohio) and more Democrats. It is too early to be sure, but they just might have saved the USA from criminal incompetence in the White House. Federalism works.
The doctor in Wuhan who first sounded the alarm about COVID-19 was punished for “spreading rumors” and later died of the disease. Remember him also today, along with our essential civilian workers and those who serve in our military. Remember that dark money and gerrymandering and vote suppression have sickened American democracy but not yet killed it.
Remember in November.