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Virus Without Borders: Chapter 93


Political Triage



Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.

     -Mark Twain


True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.

-Kurt Vonnegut



It's odd what I remember overnight in my sleep and then record in my journal first thing in the morning. I'll get an email that calls me prejudiced and insane and wake up with that slam dunk in my ear and have to get it down in writing, not to savor it, but to expunge it. This week an anti-vaxxer let me have it. Whoa, that took up several paragraphs to expunge.


Apologies and thanks rarely arrive in my in box, the occasional compliment, maybe, if I should be so blessed. A nurse in my doctor's office blessed me as she scooted out of the room with the blood pressure monitor and I said, "I accept all blessings."  I'd just heard her story about the cruise she's going on with her mom to the Bahamas and she'd slipped the mask under her nose as she was talking and taking my blood pressure, all at the same time. Politely, kindly, I said, "Could you please pull your mask up for me, Honey, otherwise my blood pressure will white-coat skyrocket. This is an annual wellness visit and I want to stay well."


Had I really called her Honey?  She was young enough to be my daughter so I figured she'd accept that I am her elder, someone to be cherished and respected, someone I could ask ever so politely and kindly to please put up her mask.


 "These damn masks," she said.


Indeed. Damn helpful, I'd say. Damn useful. Damn necessary.


Have we—the most vulnerable—been triaged  aka strategically prioritized, shunted to the bottom –-I  ask myself, for the sake of mask-free faces before the election in November?  This is the third summer of magical thinking, but we can't admit that, because if we admitted that, really felt it,  the mask mandates would still be in place, as would the testing sites.


There's an organization in Oslo called The Peace Research Institute that set my mind straight this morning. They study the conditions for peaceful relations between states, groups and people. Needless to say, the trusting neighborly conditions for peaceful relations among the people in the American nation state have broken down. And the constantly shifting and confusing Covid protocols have contributed to this breakdown, or, at the very least, exacerbated it.


Last week my husband went into the city and came back with the news that he had been exposed to Covid. This is common and constant these days, the new normal, I'd say. Onto the CDC  website for information about  quarantine and when and how to test. Good thing we have a computer and a few stockpiled tests. But what if we didn't have a computer and stockpiled tests, then what?  


Is anyone out there watching over us during this still ongoing, still Global Health Emergency? Well maybe in my house, but not in your house. Hard luck if you are vulnerable, and have no access to tests, or masks, or vaccines, and have to get to work, have kids to look after. And so on, or so it goes, as Vonnegut would say.


Government officials—forget  their party affiliation for now—are responsible for  this confusing birthday party. Some people have been invited and others haven't and that is the reality; the vulnerable have been triaged, nationally and globally. Define vulnerable any way you want:  poor, weak, immunocompromised, old, too far away to care about, or in a war zone, maybe.

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