To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Monday, May 16, 2022


Devaluing Lives


I was born while the Korean War was raging though I have no memories of the actual conflict – or Harry Truman as president. But I was a child of the ‘50s when part of the ambience of the times was the public memory of the Red Chinese hordes and the corollary assertion that the Chinese – having so many people – did not value individual lives like we good Americans do.

They could throw waves of soldiers into our machine gun fire with no qualms because there were so many soldiers in waiting. Those godless commies just did not care how many soldiers died.

Sounds like the blueprint for Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch, Fox Faux News mouthpieces and their following host of anti-vaccine, anti-masking, anti-precaution followers insisting that they will do as little as possible to protect their communities. [Then, when Trump finally changed his tune, the mob he had indoctrinated booed him for his heresy.]

And it is their followers who suffer the most. The bulk of those dying are people who refused to get vaccinated. The thrice-vaccinated can still catch COVID-19, but their illness is not usually as severe.

Republicant governors, including Oklahoma’s own Kevin Stitt, still fight against public health measures in the name of a freedom of personal choice that they would deny women. It is quite clear that they think they have plenty of pawns to sacrifice to the cause of political posturing. These public-Christians just do not care how many people die.

That’s been their outlook the past two years. Now, they have company.

“Pandemic Fatigue,” boredom or raw economics has encouraged the sports and entertainment industries to re-open and fill their venues with potential coronavirus victims.

The stands were full for the football playoff games. Screaming hordes, mostly unmasked, shoulder-to-shoulder. It is as if the pandemic is in the rearview mirror. But it’s not.

The infection rate in the country was heading downward from a second spike lower than the first when, in early November, holiday impatience swept through the populace. This was predictably followed by a third spike in infections that set new highs. COVID hospitalizations seem to be heading downward again, but, at the end of January, they were still 10,000 beds higher than at the same time last year.

Broadway has reopened, though a performance or two has been canceled and a few stand-ins have made it to the boards as stars tested positive.

Most TV personalities are back in their studios – and “so happy” to have guests joining them in person.

And while all Oklahoma counties and most of the rest of the country remain in the highly contagious category, local boosters and promoters stage weekly events to draw crowds of expendable visitors to boost local economies at the expense of their neighbors’ lives. Our good capitalists just do not care how many people die.

Gregaryous guy, that I am, I do care. You can still get vaccinated. It might not keep you from getting sick, but it could save your life. You can still wear masks. They are not perfect, but every little precaution helps. Limiting your exposure to others protects both sides of that equation.

Take care out there.

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Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democrats. He lives in Duncan, following a sporadic career as a small-town journalist, mostly in Texas, and as an editor of educational audio-visual materials. Some days he's a philosopher/poet, others a poet/philosopher.