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Thoughts from Lockdown

By March 24, 2020No Comments

Not a whole lotta climbing going on. Not a whole lotta taking pics or making movies. A lotta reading the news. A lotta home improvement projects. A lotta getting better acquainted with our bikes.

We’ve almost finished watching the Ken Burns docuseries The Roosevelts on PBS. We highly recommend it. Now, I know it sounds kinda boring…lots of photos and old-timey voices reading old-timey letters…but what we were not prepared for was the shock of seeing what strong leadership in times of crisis can do. FDR took office when 100,000 people were losing their jobs every single day. He was in office during Pearl Harbor. In neither case did he A) minimize the problem, or the challenges ahead, B) Speak to Americans like we’re idiots, or C) Ignore expert consensus. He was able to rally the nation by listening to people (he and Eleanor famously toured the country, seemingly non-stop, to try and understand the daily lives of Americans), identifying that which we do have to fear (you know, fear itself), and setting solid and appropriate expectations about the path ahead.

What kills me about this moment in time is that apparently more than 50% of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the crisis, and saying that it’s the fault of partiers in Florida, or beach goers, or whatever. How are we supposed to take self-quarantine seriously when our elected officials can’t (and continue to sicken each other)? Or how about when Trump gets in front of the microphones to self-aggrandize and then introduce the experts, and he’s busy shaking hands and touching the mic?

I don’t want Covid to be about Trump, but I do want us to think about the anxiety, uncertainty, and fear hanging over the country, and I want us to think long and hard about what an effective leader would have done.

On a similar topic, FUCK THE “FREE” MARKET. Yes, I agree that price gougers are shitty people, and it’s because they would rather profit from the needs of others than help out or stay to themselves. And yet, when we celebrate and reward (if not culturally, then materially) people like Martin Shkreli, Warren Buffet, etc. etc. who “wisely” saw opportunities and exploited them, then I have a hard time coming down on Kenny and Karen for trying to make a buck with the tools available. This is Trickle-Down Economics, people. The utter lack of conscience trickles down, because the money sure don’t.

Thankfully the R’s are trying their best to give a bunch more tax money to the rich, with no strings attached, so that wealthy corporations can make sure the shareholders are taken care of. And Apple just got another tariff waiver in the trade war with China, so that’s cool. How’s your relief coming along then?

And by the way, what about those job creators we keep hearing so much about? Why aren’t there any job creators coming to the rescue? Suppose they gave a war, and nobody came?

One more thing: Vikki’s dad pointed out the other day that it’s not Social Distancing, it’s Physical Distancing. How many of us have gotten on more 3-way phone calls and virtual group hangouts the past couple weeks than in all of 2019? ¡Yo tambien! So that’s cool.

OK. Hangboard time.

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