Spoiler Alert: This is not a happy post. It is, in fact, a rant.
I have a history of not being angry. I learned to suppress my anger as a child, and it's taken me years to learn that's it is okay to feel anger. Which is useful now, because I am extremely angry at how our government is handling this entire pandemic situation.
First, the local government. Okay, I think my local government is actually doing okay. The county commissioners have held a few publicly broadcast meetings about the pandemic and our local response. And a few of the commissioners - Lisa Cupid, Mike Boyce, and Bob Ott - seem to get the magnitude of the situation. But the commissioner for my area - Joan Birrell - seems confused, at best. She doesn't really contribute, except to want to allow people to burn their yard leftovers longer. Because breathing isn't really necessary, right?
But at least the local government acted in a more timely manner. Governor Brian Kemp is at best inept, at worst a liar who seems willing to trade lives for a "better" economy. The entire country needs to be in lockdown, but he reopens the beaches?? Really? And he "didn't" know that viruses can spread before someone has symptoms. Again, really? I don't believe that. I think he knew and just didn't want to hurt the state's economy for a "silly" reason.
But the biggest offender is the federal government. Back in January, advisors from the CDC and WHO were warning Trump and the White House about this pandemic. And what were the American people told? Nothing, to begin with. Then we heard rants about a "Democratic hoax"; how there is no problem; COVID-19 isn't a problem; people just want to make Trump look bad. When people started to get ill in New York, still no real information or direction from the very people whose jobs are to make the country safe and secure.
Do you feel safe or secure? Because I certainly don't.
Then we learned that the country needs to "reopen" by Easter. Because only 15 people would get COVID-19 and would recover with no problems. This is just like the flu, why panic? Everything seems fine, right?
First off, when an epidemic (or pandemic) hits, everything does seem fine. Right up until you are so screwed there is nothing you can do to make it better. I assume that the White House and Congress has access to experts who can explain this, but for the rest of us, here's a great video that explains why everything seems fine.
You will notice that none of this is rocket science or brain surgery. It's well known information that's been available for years.
But did that mean that we had competent governing?
In fact, it wasn't until a study done by a British organization came out predicting that 2.2 million people will die if we do nothing that the federal government decided that maybe we need to do something.
And what did they do?
They printed $2.2 trillion dollars to help out large corporations.
It took a public outcry for them to even consider what this means for the population of the US who aren't billionaires or multi-millionaires.
So a stimulus package finally passed. And some American adults will receive a check worth than less one month's salary if you work a minimum wage job. As for all the college students, high school seniors over the age of 16, and other young 20-somethings trying to make it in an absolutely crap economy? They are completely screwed. Because the rest of the stimulus needs to go to the large corporations. Oh, small businesses do get some free money if they don't lay anyone off. But that merely encourages small businesses to reduce their employee hours, so that the people can't qualify for unemployment benefits but also don't get enough money to live off of.
And that just covers some of the economic problems caused by the pandemic. While mortgage companies, banks, and utilites are "graciously" agreeing to postpone payments, what happens when the pandemic is over? Now people have more debt, people who couldn't afford the debt.
But don't worry, all those "job creators" in the private sector will help out, right?
Sorry, but no. Jeff Bezos, one of the richest people in the entire history of the world, told his employees that they needed to pool together their sick leave so that if someone gets COVID-19, they still get a salary. But that they only get company time off with a positive test. Oh, testing not available? Sucks to be you.
He also asked people to donate to a fund for Amazon employees.
And now other problems are coming to light.
People in domestic abuse situations are stuck at home with their abusers. Charities who help out can't because of the pandemic. And the shelter in place orders make people feel out of control, triggering more abuse.
Grocery stores struggle to keep certain items in stock, because people are still freaking hoarding toilet paper.
Our schools won't reopen to in-person education again this year. That means that all the high school seniors are missing out on all of the senior year events that people talk about: prom, senior picnic, graduation...
Sometimes I lay awake at night and have to mediate to relax enough to sleep, because I feel angry both at the situation and at how helpless we are to do something and make a difference. And for the record, I absolutely and completely hate feeling helpless.