May 2, 2020

Michigan protestors showing Blue Lives matter

I’ve been looking at the photos of various protests of lockdown orders happening around the country, from waves of people looking like they’re about to storm the beaches of Orange County to angry yahoos overly armed marching on the Michigan capitol building and trying to figure out the various motivations behind these ‘spontaneous’ actions. It’s pretty clear that big money from the usual ‘conservative’ sources is ginning them up and providing logistical support and communications infrastructure. Most of these demonstrations aren’t terribly large when you consider the population as a whole and are being amplified by a media eager for something to provide content and sensationalism and ratings.

Personally, I stopped watching televised news and information programming years ago. Between the rise of Fox and the sale of CNN to Time Warner with it’s transformation from a legitimate journalistic enterprise to infotainment,there’s no cogent analysis or impartial drilling down to facts any more. It’s all dumbed down to some sort of hyperpartisan sports competition cast in terms of which side is winning and it’s not very helpful in understanding what’s going on. Not to mention the sensationalistic punditry that’s designed specifically to engage a viewers emotions. My first prescription for older people with high blood pressure for years is to limit themselves to one half hour newscast of choice daily. That’s enough to keep you up to date. Everything else if filler and is just going to raise your catecholamine levels. Those who actually listen to that advice, a distinct minority, often don’t need further pharmaceutical intervention.

The militia type folks parading around with their AK-47s aren’t especially scary to me, just sad. I see a lot of young men raised on a media image that a major societal transformation would resemble a combination of Mad Max, The Walking Dead, and Fallout Video Games. What did they get instead? People staying home, bonding with their families, working on their gardens, and learning home baking techniques. I think they’re having a major cognitive disconnect. If it ever comes down to shooting (which it probably will somewhere at some point), it’s going to go about as well for them as the second act of Les Miserables when they go up against trained military and law enforcement. I doubt any of the provocateurs has given much thought to such things as intel and logistics.

Ambulances lined up outside a Florida senior living community

The much scarier thought to me than untrained hobbyists with assault weapons is the quiet agenda that seems to be playing out at the highest levels of the government and business communiities, the one that seems to have decided that certain classes of people are expendable for the greater good. It’s the sort of thinking we’ve seen before in other societies and even our own (HIV anyone?), Moves are being put in place to hide what’s going on in senior living communities in Florida, in midwest agricultural plants staffed mainly by immigrants, in communities of color in large cities, in the homeless population. It’s a very slippery slope and very easy to begin casting that net wider and wider, especially if there’s positive reinforcement. What do I mean my that? Fewer nursing home residents means fewer Medicaid long term care dollars are needed relieving strained state budgets. A need to keep essential businesses open gives an opportunity to reduce ‘bureacracy’, in terms of worker safety protections, environmental regulations, and allows for union busting. A shrinking of ‘problem’ communities reduces a demand for social services. There’s a word for the merging of the needs of the state with the needs of the business elite, one that encompasses the use of symbols of patriotism, and holds up an idyllic and virtuous people as clean, while those that are ‘other’ are classified as diseased, and it’s not a pretty one.

No matter what the gestalt of the moment is, the virus isn’t beaten. It’s not going away, and it’s continuing to spread. Lockdowns have slowed things but until there’s widespread testing, an effective medical regimen, or a vaccine, there’s no other real weapon against it. We can give them up and try to return to a semblance of normal but doing so will kill a lot of people. What I suspect will happen is we will open up some, more people will die, but we’re just not going to hear much about it. The majority of those who do die will not be reported on by the media who, on a corporate level, have the same vested interest in opening things back up as every other big business. Personally, I’ll keep going to work – it’s my ethical and moral responsibility and I will follow the directives of my employers on staff and patient safety. They have made prudent decisions so far and I trust them to continue doing that. Other than that, even though I’m as ready to bust out of here as everyone else, I’ll continue to stay home. I have books to read, Netflix to binge, jigsaw puzzles to do, walks to take, food to eat, and I’m still trying to move over the course of the next month while using appropriate sanitation and social distancing.

Be safe, be well, wash y’alls hands

3 thoughts on “May 2, 2020

  1. Hi Andy, I’m glad UUCB publish a link to your blob, interesting reading I am glad to know exists. I’ve a question about your statement that you trust your employers directives on staff and patient safety. Are you referring to your department employers or the top UAB health decision makers? I ask because I’m so surprised to keep getting calls to come in for nonemergency eye surgery. Based on what I hear from my health provider son-in-law in NYC, that is not a good idea. I respect your views and would like to read a clearer opinion on this.


    1. I’m referring to my department. I trust them pretty implicitly. Callahan and opthalmology, while part of the UAB system, is its own entity and makes certain decisions independently from UAB. If it’s non-emergent and you’re not comfortable going in. Put it off.


    2. Sorry I missed this earlier. I trust my department folk. The people at the very top are motivated a bit more by finances than I might like but without money, the institution ceases to exist so I get it. To my knowledge, no one has yet been exposed to Covid through any sort of outpatient procedure or elective visit and the eye surgeries, happening at Callahan, well away from the main hospital, should be fine. But if it’s non emergent, by all means do what you’re comfortable with.


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