The rush to 'open up' in parts of US is worrisome
The new “normal” in the United States continues to be genuinely weird. While the experience in Oregon and neighboring Washington states is more like the graph for the New York metro area (not that we have had the horrendous number of cases or deaths, but that reported cases here are sharply declining and the deaths have been relatively minimal — Washington’s early tragic number of deaths was quickly halted), the picture for the rest of the US is very worrisome, especially as many states — primarily in the South and Midwest — are rushing to “open up.”
Unfortunately, my home state of Iowa is one of those opening up, although the governor is requiring some 17 counties to stay closer to a lockdown mode for that is where the concentration of coronavirus cases are.
As you may know, Iowa has (unfortunately) allowed a lot of agri-business companies to create huge meat-processing plants there, in addition to places where hog and cattle production is concentrated, too.
And, of course, the ongoing tensions between people who want to know facts and base their decisions upon them and those others who are part of the radical Right have become even greater.
Incompetence and denials
You may have seen photos of demonstrations in several state capitals in recent weeks that feature large groups of men — many of them armed with rapid-fire weapons of war — and some cheerleading women demanding that their states open up and return to “normal.”
This is one of the results of 20 years or more of an increasingly fact-disdaining Right-wing news and social media ascendency.
The parts of the country rushing to open up are mostly states supportive of the current administration and it reflects the reality that the burden of illness and death — besides falling upon the elderly — is also disproportionately hitting the poor and people of color.
As those photos show, most demonstrators are overwhelmingly white males.
And, of course, the politicians in the White House, having failed miserably to take to heart the lessons coming early from experience in China, are now seeking to cover up their own incompetence and denials by pivoting — as is their custom — to attacking others while never taking any responsibility for themselves.
Thus, in recent weeks they have amped up their criticism of Obama for really being behind the American unpreparedness (despite the fact that this is year 4 of the current administration) and, of course, turning to blaming China for “causing” this to happen.
While some of my fellow Americans are behaving most admirably, others keep sinking to new depths.
Greg Cusack is a retired US congressman from Iowa. He now lives in Oregon. The views expressed are his own.