The 1918 influenza pandemic killed at least 50 million people across the world, including about 675,000 people in the United States. And yet, until recently, it has been elusive in our popular memory. America’s curious amnesia about the 1918 pandemic has come to mind lately as the United States appears to be shifting into a post-pandemic era of job growth and optimism.
Your first two paragraphs had my blood pressure rise. Just the mere mention of Kushner and Navarro bring furor.
Grifters grift. If we have learned nothing else these horrid people wanted government out of their pockets but they helped themselves to money made off of our PPE equipment. The snide comment by Kushner, telling states that they were in their own, was so inhumane and cruel. I pray after the DOJ’s office finishes with going through the millions of papers they discovered, Kushner and Navarro will be held over a flame until they cry “uncle”. That really is my vision for any of the seditionists.
Biden is our guide. He has appointed competent people. We have to be grateful for that.
It is a good thing to remember how incompetent the previous administration really was. (Paul Krugman has an essay in a similar vein about the 2017 tax cuts in the OpEd page of today's NY Times.)
There really are things, very necessary things, only government can do. Dealing with a national pandemic probably tops the list.
"But what it [the 2020 pandemic] has taught us about government is important to remember."
It certainly is. When I saw Kushner's name again, I was reminded just how successful Trump's family was in looting the country during the pandemic and during Trump's entire term of office. I want to see Jarvanka (Jared + Ivanka) held to account for all the money they made during Trump's time in office. I'm sure Trump delayed telling the public about Covid in order to use the time figuring out how his family could make a fortune off of it.
Time to bring in the forensic accountants.
Thinking about the loss of the vote to unionize at Amazon and President Biden’s plea to keep wearing masks, I’m wondering if the former failed 45, the iDJT, and his followers have turned into smarmy 2 year olds saying “You’re not the boss of me.” The mass murderer should be ashamed to show his face. I recently watched the outstanding Ken Burns film on Mark Twain (Amazon Prime) who was embarrassed that he had to declare bankruptcy and worked years to repay all his debts. Before his publishing company failed, General Grant’s autobiography was Clemens’ biggest moneymaker. Now our democracy is threatened by a bully who declared bankruptcy 6 times, left thousands unpaid, and said not paying taxes makes him smart. Fauci and others needed protection against threats by bullies. Biden’s election should have given him setup time and money to form a new government but he was shut out for almost three months. He has done an amazing job since January 20 righting the wrongs Republicans would like us to forget. Thank you HCR and other historians for keeping truth alive. Let’s do our part!
Governments are only as good or bad as the people elected to run them. This should be our new national motto.
It is difficult for me to understand that an administration elected to protect the citizens of this country, failed miserably. And, yet 70 million people voted to re-elect that same administration in 2020. Thank the Universe that more people voted for the Biden administration. I have never understood what the draw was for DT, but I woke up on January 21, 2021 able to breathe for the first time knowing that the country was going to run the way it was designed to by those who fought for our freedom and, later, established a Constitution for us, all. Now, my frustration lies with the citizens who are simply ignoring what needs to be done, and overwhelming an already precarious health system, to end this pandemic. Just venting
But the right wing folks won’t remember. And the left is also rapidly forgetting. We are at risk for our next election cycle. Government has its place and if the Republicans get power again they won’t relinquish it easily. We must remember what Capitalism unchecked has wrought!
Next door to me is an infant cemetery for twenty or thirty infants who died of influenza in 1918. It is a little spooky in there with the low hanging oaks and dim light. We are lucky that Covid doesn’t like to kill infants and kids, so far at least.
I enjoyed reading Stuart’s take on France. Just because of the feeling in the posts that I am hearing an inside story, a truth. I do think there is a flavor to the truth. We have just lost its taste because it is so rarely felt. Today we just get spin from most news outlets. That is what I like about HCR. And no, I don’t think it matters that Maine is mostly white.
At the beginning of the epidemic I was in the Bahamas and I gave a talk on what to expect. This was February. I said that since it was a novel virus, meaning none of us have any immunity we would all either have to get it or get a vaccine. Our only choices were when and where to get it or how long it would take to develop the vaccine. There was a noticeable glazing of the eyeballs in the group at that point. It was a sign I didn’t quite recognize as the inability for a fact to penetrate. There was a great willingness to discuss various ancillary details but no return to the solemn central fact. That fact is still true and is a fact that should/could be in play regarding people’s individual choice to receive a vaccine. Eyes are still glazed apparently.
From this I’m reminded of how as a species we thrive on hope even if it is a fantasy. Realism just can’t compete. I hope our situation with the For The People Act doesn’t go the same way. If the notion of free elections becomes a hopeful fantasy because the reality is that too many of our current leaders were elected more for their personal monetary concerns than the concerns of democracy then we are there. Every day I try to understand what is happening with the bill. What is the process for getting it out of committee? Still, I have no idea. The senate rules at .gov just say the committee will vote on it. Clearly, that doesn’t always happen so what’s up? Clearly, it would be preferable for the repressive opposition to let it fade in the national attention by being wound up in committee while the state level fights take center stage.
I also find it interesting that the bill to improve voting is a national bill while the bills to restrict voting are state bills. I guess I have been a strong federal government advocate for some time. I believe we have to be one country not a bunch of states loosely held together. I recognize a past where statehood was important. Transportation and communications over long distances were not as they are now. No one tries to limit their business or their travel or anything at all to their state boundaries. But contrarily, it seems that if you are spending money to influence voters the best way to do it is locally. So it makes sense that repressive voices focus locally. It is hard to argue with your neighbors even if they are nuts but especially if they are more willing to be violent. I have so much respect for those black people who stood up to the Klan. Wow.
There is so much complexity it’s bewildering.
There is no worthy credit due to the previous administration. Now we must only certain that we rid ourselves of the remnants and make certain that our Democracy survives their scourge against voting rights.
When Ohio went for trump in the 2016 election a primal scream of distress was elicited from this household. Across the country, my siblings, children, friends and I noted he would, figuratively and/or literally, kill us all. The combination of incompetence throughout the so called “administration” and trump’s corrupt and dishonorable ways left no other outcome. We recognized the election of this evil person went beyond “normal” and fell into the category of a non-benevolent dictator-wanna-be who picked up the vitriolic rhetoric and modus operandi of the Newt Gringrich era. trump and his minions should be charged with crimes against humanity given their blatant and intentional mishandling of the pandemic.
The US is the largest global corporation and government in the world (and in history). Thank goodness we now have an administration that exhibits benevolent and compassionate leadership combined with a widespread network and deep bench of smart, experienced people who actually know how to govern and understand the massive departments they oversee.
Thanks to people like Heather, there is a growing number of people becoming aware, educated, and involved.... re-awakened to understanding the fact that a well run democracy requires participation and paying attention! That the republicans stonewall any and everything that doesn’t line their own pockets is abhorrent and deadly. There is zero cooperation or intellectual prowess on their part and hopefully the Biden/Harris administration and “we the people” can maintain the momentum to turn the tide against those who only want to do harm.
The folks that lost someone during these sad times will not forget. My moms mother died of the 1918 influenza. She was 34 years old. My mom was 4 years old. This time around it has, so far, been older folks that have been taken but old or young these premature losses are very heavy to bear for the families they happen to. I look at the picture of my grandmother in her organdie gown in 1905, so beautiful, hopeful and happy, her whole life before her and am so sad that neither my mother or I ever got the chance to really know her. When I look in the mirror I see her smile, and my mom’s smiling back at me so perhaps, they are not so far away after all.🥰
Thank you for the powerful reminder that history may repeat itself if we let it. The grifters and scoundrels we have had running our government and ruining our lives since Ronald Reagan are shameful. Hopefully we are moving out of the Reagan era for good. As HCR writes, "Remembering the nation’s suffering under the pandemic matters because the contrast between the disastrous last year and our hope this spring is a snapshot of what is at stake in the fight over control of the nation’s government."
It is time to continue bold actions: Make the Electoral College irrelevant, eliminate the filibuster, pass voting legislation to make gerrymandering illegal, etc. All of these things are possible. With eight years of Biden we can make Republicans a thing of the past.
We must not be timid. As the professor writes,"In America, the two very different responses to the pandemic have given us a powerful education in government activism. 'For the past year, we couldn’t rely on the federal government to act with the urgency and focus and coordination we needed,' Biden said, 'And we have seen the tragic cost of that failure….'"
Influenza is with the world every year, all the time, and it's not going away in seasons but travelling round the world evolving as it goes. The world is round, it comes back. It has had massive peaks such as the 1918 epidemic and again with the Hong Kong Flu in 1968. Each year the vaccine for Europe, which takes 6 months to develop, is based-upon the "beast" as it passed through Australia the previous summer. This year we have hardly heard about influenza! The beast hasn't gone away but people are taking precautions by washing their hands frequently, adopting masks, practicing "social distancing and limiting the size and scope of gatherings. The beast has largely been tamed and we take it in our stride. We will learn to do likewise with the Covid, mostly master it and get on with our lives.
What we have most clearly to control better is the panic created around the epidemic. Panic leads to chaos and very bad decision-making. The French government and many other such administrations in the Western World accerbated the panic, creating fear and other psychoses in the people and chaos in their response to the challenge. They screwed up on the mask question; saying first that they were dangerous, then unnecessary before admitting that they had destroyed all their safety stocks (1B masks!), they screwed up the testing program....they had no tests, they failed appallingly at tracing the contacts of those infected, they canned programs to test and validate viral infection drugs that might help as they were selling an "only vaccines can do the job" message....but no french company could produce, masks, tests or vaccines. Now they are screwing up the vaccine program by starting with an insistence that Europe handles it...not them and then poo-pooing the idea of mass vaccination centres.
Despite this government, with dedicated hospital workers of all sorts and the people's perseverance and courage we are beating the bug down to a level where it can be "managed" in the future as it will not now be going away entirely. Fortunately our "Nov 3" in May 2022!
Being a senior I was able to be vaccinated in February and am very thankful for that. My older son got his first shot just over a week ago, his wife (a bit younger) is still trying. Then there is Japan - a son and family live there. The vaccine roll out there makes states like Mississippi look good. They have approved just one vaccine for use - have not started to work on their own vaccine yet so are dependent upon imports. They have just started to roll out vaccination for health care workers and in a week or so make it available for seniors but the pace is very slow due to lack of vaccines and a reluctance on the part of the Japanese leadership (almost all elderly males) to come to grips with the reality of their situation. The virus is not going away - they may be an island and be able to keep non-Japanese residents out - but it is spreading internally. Yet in July they have the Olympics with athletes and support staff coming- and vaccination for them not required. There is little to nothing in the US press about this but will be come summer when Japan has a tidal wave of infections. The US does not have a monopoly on shortsighted national leadership. I write this not to excuse US shortsighted leadership under "45" but to say that stupidity about epidemics knows no international borders. And a country where the government is controlled by a sclerotic leadership that does not respond to public pressure can do immense harm by its inability to act quickly and understand that hope is not a solution.
Morning, all!! Morning, Dr. R!! Looking through the lens of the Republican ideology that a strong central government should have no role to play in our society, it's no surprise that the previous administration handled the pandemic as they did. More's the pity that there seems to be strong support for this ideology as millions of Americans are reluctant to follow the advice to continue to mask, social distance, et cetera, let alone receive the vaccine. I wonder, however, if it would get more anti-vaxers on board if the Biden administration were to put out a statement crediting the previous administration for the success of Operation Warp Speed in producing these vaccines so quickly. Just a thought.
On a personal note, yesterday (Friday) a small impromptu "party" ensued during our 15-minute wait post-vaccine administration. It all got started when I asked the 80+-year-old wheelchair- bound woman how good her "driver" was as she was wheeled toward us. We attracted the attention of one volunteer who approached us, applauding our lively discourse. A good time was had by all, but sadly, there will be no reunion as no names or contact info was exchanged!
Sorry, one other thing. In the aftermath of the election, Donald Trump showed his true colors. As Americans were dying every day, he barely mentioned the Covid crisis. Instead, his focus was on pushing the Big Lie of election fraud. The blame for not calling him out on his narcissism falls squarely on his supporters' shoulders. His lack of character, integrity, honor and empathy meant nothing to millions of Americans, who chose to focus on his lies. Shame on them. Shame on us.