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“Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny,” Thomas Jefferson.
Yesterday while installing cabinets in my COVID kitchen, I listened to an interview between New York Governor Cuomo and a local radio host named Shawn. The interview followed the predictable script, with Cuomo explaining information he received as COVID ramped up, and why it caused him to take such aggressive actions. He talked about sharing his information with President Trump, then praised the President for both understanding the severity of New York’s situation and springing into action faster than expected. I respect both Governor Cuomo and President Trump for setting politics aside to work together. Now if we could just get the children in congress to start acting like adults perhaps our government wouldn’t be such a joke.
I was however surprised that in an era of bitter partisanship that an ambitious Democratic governor would praise a Republican president. When asked about the way President Trump communicates, Cuomo laughed and said people just don’t understand how New Yorkers talk.
From there the interview devolved into the surreal as Cuomo and Shawn speculated on what post-COVID life would be like in New York once the crisis had past. They discussed New Yorkers working in shifts to lower building occupancy, of restaurants reducing seating 70%, of youth programs being canceled, of movie theaters and bars never reopening, and of utilizing cell phones to monitor people’s behavior.
If that’s not weird enough, they postulated that professional sporting events would limit occupancy to 30%, that popcorn would be banned at these events, and beer would have to be drunk from straws. Yes you heard me homies, they expect New Yorkers to drink beer from a straw. Why a straw you ask, after all, didn’t the good liberals ban straws just last summer? Well, how else are you supposed to drink beer through your mandatory face mask?
To contrast their vision for America, the Spanish Flu of 1918 killed 675,000 Americans while COIVD is projected to kill 50,000, which puts it in the range of a normal flu season. How many years did post-Spanish Flu people wear face masks? How seasons were professional baseball games played in empty stadiums? How many beers were drunk through straws? Answer, zero, zero, and zero. If the New Yorkers Governor Cuomo thinks live in New York were who we depended on to fight in WWI, we’d all be saluting the Kaiser.
Let’s cast COVID in a risk-based perspective. The national odds of dying from COVID are 1 in 10,000. In New Mexico it’s 2 in 100,000. Meanwhile, the odds of dying in a car accident are 1 in 114, the odds of dying while on a walk are 1 in 647, and the odds of dying in a commercial aircraft accident are 1 in 9,821. If you want to carry this logic to the absurd, the odds of dying from a legal execution are 1 in 119,012.
This means Americans are a eighty-seven times more likely to die in a car crash than from COVID. In our post-COVID hysteria should we outlaw driving? Americans are fifteen times more likely to die on a walk than from COVID, should we ban walking? American’s are just as likely to die in a commercial aircraft accident as they are from COVID, should we ban air travel? New Mexican’s have a slightly better chance of dying from COVID than from a legal execution, but keep in mind New Mexico doesn’t allow capital punishment.
As Americans begin to rebuild their lives, the most important question to be addressed is how each of us choose to live our one precious life? Do we allow politicians to implement their brand surrealism or do we dictate the terms? Do we stand strong with the same pioneer spirit our ancestors demonstrated in the aftermath of the Spanish Flu or do we let politician’s diminished vision of American resiliency prevail?
Note to Governor: Hey Michelle, you are wrong to believe New Mexico cannot open for a year. I get that with governor’s Cuomo and Newsome out of the VP sweepstakes and the governor of Michigan having gone down in flames you may think your star is rising, but shutting New Mexico down for a year is not a pathway to the White House. You may not know this, but New Mexicans are strong proud people with a keen pioneer spirit. We placidly sat by while you had your run at hegemony, but we won’t placate you much longer. I urge you to review Department of Homeland Security studies done around 2003 that looked at how long Americans will tolerate Marshal Law before erupting into Anarchy, its not as long you estimate.
Note1: Part of what is driving up global deltas, as shown in the plots above, is that China finally admitted they’ve been suppressing their infection and death counts so have revised their numbers upward. Probably still not accurate, but better. Even though the CDC admits we are the only country over-counting, they have yet to revise their numbers downward.
Note 2: I’ve been meditating a lot during quarantine and enjoy these teachings by Sarah Blondin because she starts each meditation with a philosophical exploration of some topic. During a recent meditation, Sarah posed the question, “how do you choose to life your one precious life?” I wanted to give her credit for the line I borrowed in my essay.