Way back on April 14, 2020, (that was two days ago? Really?) I blogged about Benjamin Franklin and his contributions to the lore of this country. Specifically I referred to his aphorisms, the little space-fillers in Poor Richard's Almanack that people still quote today. One of them, Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other, and scarce in that, I even put in boldface type. It was that important.
Now I wish I had paid attention to my own advice (or Franklin's), because yesterday I became involved in another no-win Facebook discussion with someone who never refuted a single point of mine, but simply repeated Limbaugh-Hannity talking points, and finished by reminding me that Hillary lost. A coup de grâce for the ages!
His response came after I had written this:
I was disturbed by your “final answer" yesterday—you vote for Biden I’ll vote for Trump—see who wins, etc. Let’s see who wins in terms of us. The border between New York and Pennsylvania is about 400 miles long; between New Jersey and Pennsylvania another 200 or so. Now let’s say Trump declares America “open” on May 1, but the governors of NY and NJ still have a high number of cases and deaths, so they say no. A lot of people from those two states, tired of being cooped up, will cross the border to Pennsylvania bars, movie theaters, restaurants, and then pretty soon Little League games, malls, food courts, etc. And yes, many Pennsylvanians will return to their jobs. Assuming that we can currently test only one out of every hundred Americans, we know that some of those visitors will be asymptomatic. And assuming also that Pennsylvania was in good shape on May 1, what kind of shape will it be in on May 15, for instance, assuming the usual rate of spread and 600 miles of border crossings? If there are hot spots in a state that was under control, won’t that state explode again? And won’t the cycle start over? Maybe I’m wrong about this, but so far all I’ve heard from politicians is wishes that it will go away; the scientists tell a different story. Politics aside, what makes more sense to you? What would make more sense if your loved ones lived in Pennsylvania? Or if Pennsylvania were Connecticut? I don’t require an answer—I doubt if there is one—I just think it’s something to consider.
If I had known what I know today, I'd have written a single word: Singapore.
But Singapore is not the only dreadful news assaulting our sensibilities today. There are the horrific deaths at a nursing home in New Jersey—as many as 68 victims, including residents and nurses. There are banks, yes the institutions that caused and were bailed out of our last financial meltdown, garnishing the relief checks of anyone with an account overdrawn. There are more and more heart-rending stories of what death is like in Trump's America—alone in a hospital room and announced with a phone call.
In England the joy over Boris Johnson's recovery has obscured the fact that England (including Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) now has 14,000 dead, and that Johnson's lackadaisical and flippant early response has much to do with the total. The possible death of a world leader was a frightening possibility, but we can't forget his role in worsening his country's fate. And leaders in Spain, a nation closing in on 20,000 deaths, are admitting that the real total might already be twice that—and growing.
To argue logically with Trump supporters at times like this seems worse than counterproductive. It's almost obscene—a waste of breath when so many victims are barely hanging on to theirs. We have passed 30,000 deaths—what some claim may be the halfway mark—but based on expert opinions and what has happened in Singapore, 30,000 may be nowhere near the final total. Thus citizens who follow Trump blindly need to be confronted with facts, so that even when they call it fake news, they themselves know they're lying.
Thirty thousand dead, and like Spain, countless thousands more whose deaths have not been officially attributed to Covid-19 but who, according to medical personnel, did die from it. And at a time like that some Trumpophile sees fit to remind me that Hillary lost?
He that won't be counseled, can't be helped.
I'm going to try extra hard to remember that one the next time someone baits me into forgetting about today's suffering and dying by throwing in a four-year-old news story.