Happy New Year, the World is Ending

I started writing this back in January, right after Kobe Bryant died. Much has changed since then.

2020 started with an impeached President, dire climate warnings, and the death of a beloved basketball star. It can only get better from here. [UPDATE: actually, it can get a lot worse.]

I read this article imagining that the world population finally gets its shit together in the next ten years. It shows how, with radical (though very doable) change, we can make our quality of life so much better than it is now. Also, I found two articles dealing with possible cures for cancer. One comes from T-cells that latch onto cancer cells — and only cancer cells — while the other comes from a man’s very aggressive T-cells, which have shrunk life-threatening cancers in his system and rendered masses that should be cancerous, non-cancerous.

With John Bolton’s “bombshell,” the Republicans might actually have to follow the Constitution and the rules of a trial and actually call witnesses [UPDATE: not happening because Republicans have had all their spines removed, minus Mitt Romney). I’m not holding my breath that two-thirds of the Senate will vote to remove him, but anything is possible [UPDATE: also not happening]. Hopefully Pence also gets caught up in this scandal and is removed. More likely is that people who usually don’t vote in elections get so pissed off that they vote in this next one and remove all Republicans from power [still waiting on the update for this one, but their handling of COVID-19 is making this scenario look more and more likely].

MARCH 2020: I wasn’t sure how to proceed with this post after the Senate didn’t do its job and remove a criminal President from office (nor censure him), but then a pandemic came along. Gatherings have been limited since last Wednesday. I’ve been out of a job since Friday the 13th (they closed the theaters where I work). Restaurants and bars have been closed since Tuesday, except for take-out and delivery.

I’m in the middle of writing diary entries about the approaching pandemic, and if it gets worse, I’ll have even more time to write about it. In the meantime, here’s what supermarkets around here look like:

At a local Safeway on Tuesday of last week
At a local Fred Meyer late last week.

Grocery stores and hospitals seem to be on the front lines of this pandemic. Many stores have reduced hours, and/or offer senior-only shopping hours early in the morning. If we’re really 10 days behind Italy, a complete lockdown (or as close as can be mustered) might be in our future — unless our experiments with social distancing and hand-washing work. Some people are paying attention, but looking around Seattle, I see many people who walk around as if invincible. Even if the symptoms of the disease are mild (and mild only means “no need for hospitalization”), having any kind of flu (particularly one that could lead to pneumonia, which could lead to death), is not something I want to risk, even if I’m young and healthy.

But there is hope. Helpers are everywhere. For cinema staff who were furloughed along with me, our GoFundMe campaign raised $20,000 in less than two days (and it’s still going). People I hadn’t heard from in ages offered aid, advice, and empathy. I received texts and messages from so many people that first weekend that I spent most of that Friday and Saturday crying at their generosity.

Also, while COVID-19 is much worse than the flu (for starters, there is no vaccine or cure), it’s not as bad as the Black Death (which wiped out almost a third of Europe) and it isn’t targeting young, healthy individuals, like the second wave of the Spanish Flu did (though the mortality rate is about the same). Maybe, too, people will realize that healthcare should be a right, not a for-profit business, and people who are trying to profit off this tragedy will be thrown out of Congress. Maybe we’ll start taxing the rich more so that we can have emergency funds stowed away for these types of emergencies, rather than send people a one-time payment for less money than most of them pay for rent. Finally, at some point, this virus will be beaten by herd immunity and/or a vaccine. In fact, I hope this disease is a death-knell to the anti-vaxxer movement.

I leave you with this: one of my friends decided to play all 24 studies in J.S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 as a Lenten project. She began posting videos right before COVID-19 jumped to American shores. As a balm to the daily updates of death, infections, and incompetent leadership, they are essential listening. Enjoy.

Follow Kristina Lee on Youtube for more: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCchfWQB20iXHsXdjtmjxn2g/playlists

Author: Greg Salvatore

Writer. Voice Actor. Humanist. Feminist.

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