Today, I met with the co-chairs of the transition COVID-19 Advisory Board, Dr. Vivek Murthy, Dr. David Kessler, and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.
They briefed me on the accelerating public health crisis. The facts they presented were alarming. Our country is experiencing surges in reported infections, hospitalizations, and fatalities all over the country, with virtually nowhere getting spared. Our doctors, nurses, and other health care workers are under enormous — and growing — strain. This week’s news on progress toward a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is positive, but it will be many months before there is widespread vaccination in this country.
This crisis demands a robust and immediate federal response, which has been woefully lacking.
Here in Illinois we’re on the brink of another total shutdown, and all our extracurricular activities got axed this weekend, closing the park district fieldhouses and all the programs that were keeping us sane. I am pricing out ice rinks for our backyard, but somehow I’m still less panicked than I was back in March, because: in 8 weeks this will be run by adults and not a bunch of idiot reptiles.
Adults we may give a hard time to, adults we yell at lot, adults who might not do everything right the first time around but goddamn, adults we can trust to return a phone call and give a shit when somebody — millions of somebodies — is sick and dying.
I mean, read that over, above, and keep telling me both parties are the same. One has … scientists, that they’re listening to, and a plan to get things under control that will actually be carried out without constant drama. Another has Marjorie Taylor-Greene out here screaming about the tyranny of closing down Crossfit, what the actual fuck, government shutdowns are not causing these problems, A QUARTER OF A MILLION DEAD PEOPLE AND TEN MILLION CASES of a preventable disease are causing these problems.
And if I read one more op-ed citing “personal responsibility” and “local control” for a disease that cannot be prevented by either one, that crosses state lines and doesn’t care who your fucking mayor is, I’m going to lose my mind in several languages. There are things that are so big we can’t do them alone, people. That’s what a system of government is for.
We’ve spent the past four years in an experiment that says we don’t need a federal government. We’ve spent the past four years without one, actually, without any national leadership on anything at all. It’s not just that that leadership has been dumb and bad; that we’ve seen before. It’s that we’ve taken the GOP at its word, that government is useless, and we’ve erased it entirely.
It’s very clear now that there are times we DO need to be one country. When we do need to give California and North Dakota the same thing, which is a rule to wear masks and money to keep people home and out of the shopping mall hacking germs all over each other. When we ARE all affected equally by the actions of others, and there is no reason to pretend help has to stop at the state border when the problems don’t.
No one state can do this without closing its state borders. We almost did that last spring, and had we kept it up I doubt Illinois would be as big a trash fire as it is, thanks a lot Indiana and Wisconsin, but this is the point. We CAN’T close ourselves off from one another or the world. We have to be responsible for Indiana and Wisconsin even as they’re led by absolute nuclear-grade jackwagons. Our fate is your fate. There’s no other way to do this. We don’t have any other choice.
And in eight weeks we’ll have leadership that understands that, that fills jobs that need filling, that can distribute any vaccine in a coordinated, reasonable, scientific manner. And yes, the screaming Trumper morons we’ll always have with us, but remember the way you feel whenever a new announcement comes out of the Biden team. Read that statement up there. Think of what it will be like when the loudest voices in the room aren’t the morons anymore.
Hold fast, help one another when you can, and whatever you do, hold on. We’re almost there.