Double Trouble

There is a peculiarity about this virus that the respective governments of the United Kingdom and the United States cannot seem to get their heads around. This virus does not respect timelines. It does not obey projections. It does not care if you are a Republican or a Democrat or a Tory or a Liberal Democrat. It is stubbornly unimpressed by large numbers, such as how many tests you have performed or how many N95 masks you have produced. It doesn’t give a crap, to be blunt, at how brave or patriotic you are, or pretend you are. It will make you debilitatingly sick and even kill you — whether your god is Jehovah or Allah or Brahma or nobody, if you do not carefully and consistently practice staying at home and social distancing. It is the worst of times, and neither Britain nor the United States have quite figured that out just yet.

To be sure, the respective stylistic differences between the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom are strikingly dissimilar. While Boris Johnson has been cautious and fearful, has introduced vague stop gap measures and braking features on his measures to reopen the country in phases, Donald Trump has been scattershot and incompetent and inconsistent and incoherent, supporting both the “official” government position on staying at home and the protesters who want to return to work right away. Either way both governments think it’s time to reopen, and they are both equally wrong. Again, this bug just doesn’t care. There is an eerie correlation between the metrics of Britain and America: the percentage of coronavirus cases, percentage of tests and percentage of deaths are quite similar.

I am sorry to report that, since last I wrote to you twenty four hours ago, approximately two thousand Americans and approximately six hundred Britons have died from coronavirus. The United States has over a million active cases, the United Kingdom has almost two hundred thousand. Those numbers are steadily creeping ever upward each day. If it made sense to close down our countries when the numbers were relatively few, how does it make sense to open them up again when the numbers of cases and deaths are so alarming and continuing to rise? Neither government will say, and, as already observed, this virus doesn’t care.

The common denominator is that the governments of both countries are all about money. Without money there would be no Tories in Britain and there would be no Republicans in America. Corporate lobbies have enormous power in both, and if you ever doubted that major corporations would hesitate to sacrifice your life or the lives of your loved ones in the interest and protection of their bottom lines, wonder no longer. They will eagerly kill you and your loved ones in the name of those bottom lines, with countenances hypocritically swathed in sad regret and lips enunciating false pledges of thoughts and prayers. You mean less than nothing to them.

It is also important to remember that billions and even trillions of dollars and pounds sterling mean absolutely nothing to these governments. They will spend vast amounts on corporate bailouts and tax breaks for the rich and pork projects for their cronies and weapons of mass destruction — unhesitatingly. But when it comes to actually helping people on the ground, their constituents, people who can give them nothing more than their meagre vote, they suddenly become regretfully fiscally responsible. The dumbest members of their constituents will believe them anyway.

There is really only one answer. As a planet we must unite against this bug, stay home, wear masks and gloves and keep up social distancing or we will suffer untold millions of deaths before the year is out. Our governments, for once, must become governments of the people and foot the bill. The numbers are there, they exist for all to see, and they don’t lie. We are heading for a disaster of unparalleled magnitude if we do not unite against this plague. That is why it is essential that we also unite against the plague of Donald Trump, because Trump and his regime represent the greed and criminality that very well could kill me and you and the people we love. Vote Biden in November. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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