Forget About Roger Stone. The Pandemic Is Still The Emergency.
It’s time for a new strategy: hammer our local governments about Covid-19.
I am a pragmatist.
Perhaps because of my background in disaster response, I am a firm believer in cutting my losses and dealing with the emergency at hand. Dithering wastes precious time.
One of the most important aspects of disaster management is prioritizing what needs to be accomplished. There is great power in making a decision. There is very rarely a perfect solution to any problem. What matters is lining up actions, then putting your head down and doing the work. That’s how to get a high survival rate.
For that reason, today, I beg of you, people: forget Roger Stone.
However, it should come as no surprise to any of us that the president has fewer ethics than Tony Soprano. This isn’t news. He’s going to do all sorts of awful things in the next six months, unless GOP leadership suddenly decides their personal careers are not worth the fate of the nation.
I am not holding my breath.
Another thing that should startle exactly no one: this is what Trump does. If there is a problem, he throws another grenade to divert our attention. The infection rate for Covid-19 has never been higher, and death rates are once again on the rise.
That’s the emergency.
Over the last few months, I have wondered who, exactly, is running the nation. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is that Donald Trump is incapable of doing so. People that live in a fantasy world are not practical.
My conclusion is that the country basically runs itself.
The caveat to that is it cannot run itself in a pandemic.
For the nation to function, everyone has to be able to show up at work. People who show up at work need to know their kids are safe, in school or day care.
That is an impossibility in our current circumstances.
What do we do? What do American citizens do, when our federal government will not provide for the common defense?
We protect ourselves. There is no other choice. That means we have to utilize our local governments.
In a month’s time, hospitals and morgues are going to be overflowing. The need for refrigerator trucks is already happening in Arizona. We have more infections than we did in April. Texas and Florida hospitals are nearing capacity.
Everyone needs to inundate their local government with a demand for a response plan.
Unlike contacting our senators, congress members, and even governors, our mayors and city council members are accessible to us. You may even know them, personally. We can call their offices and have a reasonable expectation that our messages will be relayed to them, even if we don’t speak to them personally. If they are particularly stubborn, we certainly know where they work.
This will have a ripple effect. When their offices are overwhelmed with calls from voters, they themselves will get on the horn to state leadership. When governors are getting calls from local leadership, they are much more apt to do something than if you or I called them directly.
The ripple effect is important, because here’s a newsflash: with the infection rates rising, by the end of August, the amount of new cases may prevent anyone from going to go to school. All this hand-wringing about how to send kids back to brick and mortar classes is fruitless. It is a distinct possibility that it will be too dangerous to send anyone, child or teacher, into one of those buildings.
The same goes for work. American people are going to need more financial help. Pandemic Unemployment Insurance (PUI) enables citizens to stay afloat. It is set to expire at the end of July.
If we pressure our local officials, the ripple effect should get to Republican members of the House and Senate, who are currently standing in the way of extending relief. Republicans want us back at work, so corporations don’t take losses. That’s their concern. They are holding up any relief package because they want to make sure we can’t sue our employers if we get Covid-19, after being called back to work too early.
We can vote them out, but for now, we have to deal with them.
Let us remember that our tax dollars are ours. Perhaps the 15.4 billion dollars designated for Space Force would be better spent on PPE for our emergency workers, or enhanced unemployment for us. There’s plenty of money in the defense budget. If we need to raise taxes on billionaires and corporations, so be it. This is the emergency we handle; not an imaginary one.
We of course cannot rely on this administration to do the right thing by us. This shouldn’t be the case, but like Roger Stone, there’s no time to fret about it. If we organize at a local level, we will have a greater success rate than lobbying professional politicians in Washington.
Below is a list of some questions and demands that everyone should be asking their local government officials, particularly their mayors:
-Do you realize that the coronavirus is airborne?
-Is there a local ordinance requiring a mask in public? If not, one must be implemented immediately.
-Is there a web page that explains the pandemic, in particular, how the Coronavirus is transmitted? Are infection and death rates posted there? Is there a graph that shows the changes, on a local level?
-Have you put a moratorium on evictions?
-Does our local government have a coronavirus response team? Who is on it? Are medical professionals, including nurses, on it? Are teachers and school administrators? Are members of the Black community? Are members of the Hispanic community?
-Do local hospitals have enough PPE? Have you called all the administrators of hospital systems within a thirty-mile radius and asked them?
-Do local hospitals need a satellite building in case of case overload? Do they have enough workers?
- Are free masks distributed to citizens in low income areas?
-What is the community emergency ordinance plan if infection rates go up?
-Is there a plan in place to get children in need a tablet, so they can attend online class?
-Has a food bank been set up with curbside pickup?
-Does the town have a hotline for seniors?
-Does the local police force have adequate PPE?
-Are there N95 masks for paramedics and other EMS workers?
-Do hospital systems have a sterilization procedure for their N95 masks?
-Has the requirement to wear an N95 mask been expanded for hospital workers, now that we know the virus is airborne?
-Has the town called the Governor and asked for emergency funding, if needed?
-Have you demanded utility companies not turn off services for customers over the next 90 days?
If they start sputtering about money, tell them it is their job to get the Governor to declare a state of emergency, should infection rates rise in your state.
If they are one of the people in denial about this disease, start a petition asking for their resignation.
Make sure your own household is prepared. Look around. Is there enough food for a couple of weeks? Make sure you have enough medication for a month.
Lastly, and this is important: epidemiologists are discovering aspects of Covid-19 that they did not know previously. One cannot be too careful. If you must go out, you must wear a mask. People can be infectious without symptoms. Someone can look perfectly healthy, and exposure to them may kill you.
Good luck. Do not count on your federal government to save you. Hammer your local government with your demands. Above all else, keep yourself and your family safe.
Someone has to do it.