Pandemic Reflections #8

Although 2020 has been dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic, other things have happened, too. George Floyd, an election, post-election crazy period, and on-going culture wars. Forgive me if I wander a bit.

Vocabulary

Have you learned any new words this year? “Autogolpe” stands out for me. It took a while before I got any response to my searches for its meaning. Seems it’s Spanish; the English equivalent would be auto-coup, but how dull to use an English word when a foreign one could do. In any event, it refers to a situation in which an elected leader decides to stay on by either canceling the election for a successor or, in our case, simply not acknowledging that he has lost the next election. I’m up one word, but I fear it doesn’t compensate for the general decline in my vocabulary due to loss of the need to use words in my life with limited social contact.

Culture Wars

At the beginning of 2020, I was just becoming alarmed by some culture war issues. As a Twitter user (@anncantweet), I was not totally in the dark, but neither was I totally alarmed. Then, in January, I realized that our public library was being asked to deny a meeting permit for a group of radical feminists. Pressure was coming from trans activists who claimed harm by the feminists who would not agree that “trans women are women.” The library did allow the radfems to have their program, and soon thereafter the pandemic came to dominate the news. I naively hoped that the culture wars would be terminated by the pandemic, but no such luck. Purists of all stripes continue to punish people for wrongspeak. But if there is any good news, it’s that I see stirrings of pushback. (Ex: Jodi Shaw at Smith College Big Dig on YouTube)

There’s way more going on in the culture wars than I could ever cover, but here’s one example of how this is playing out. I was across the street for a medical procedure yesterday, and among the questions I was asked was this: “Are you now or could you become pregnant?” My answer was: “I’m 76.” The reply was: “We ask everyone this question now; we can’t make any assumptions.” So my husband will get the same question should he ever need the same procedure. Seriously. I’ll be thinking and writing more about this.

I Fear for My Country, Still

Joe Biden will become our president at noon on January 20, of this I am confident. I am less confident that Biden can put our country back together again. Even if two Ds defeat the Rs in the January 5 Georgia Senate races, so many agencies and departments have been hollowed out that it will take months to get the government up and running again. That’s if there is any amount of goodwill left on the other side of the aisle. Daily, I’m shaken up by the accusations of stealing the election. This is dangerous, folks. Where are we headed?

Cyberwars

Apparently, the US has a pretty good cyber warfare team. Our election was protected; foreign interference was attacked at the source; well done! Then this week our retirement home online information resource went down. Email from the executive office said the company that hosts it had been taken down by ransomeware. (Ransomware is when hackers take over a server and demand money in exchange for returning it. This is an ongoing issue for companies and governments. Britain’s National Health Service was attacked in this manner a couple of years ago. Just imagine.) Fortunately, we got our resource back in fairly short order. I don’t know if the thieves were identified or not. I’m not sure which I hate more: ransomware attacks or ACAB graffiti.

Lonesome Holidays

All of our holidays are lonesome, but we enjoy seeing decorations as we go about our lives in November and December. Not at all sure what we’ll see this year. Merchants are hoping they can remove the plywood that’s been covering their windows for months, but with election challenges continuing, there’s no guarantee that we won’t see clashes once results are final. Will the carousel return to Westlake Park? What will be the point of it if we’re all still avoiding crowds? I just really want to have lunch with friends! 

Book, Movie, Podcast

Book: Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration by Bryan Caplan and Zach Weinersmith. Blurb by Rob DenBleyker, “Wherever you stand on the immigration debate, this book will change you mind about at least something – maybe a lot of things.” (note: an example of graphic non-fiction that works well)

Movie: Fisherman’s Friends streaming on Netflix. A nice diversion, this is the story of a group of fishermen friends who also sing sea shanties.

Podcast: Bill Gates and Rashida Jones Ask Big Questions. In addition to a chat with Anthony Fauci, Bill and Rashida speculate about ways Covid will change our culture in important ways.

Vaccines

I wonder if Republicans will get the vaccine before the Democrats. Ha ha, just kidding. Stay safe, folks.

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