Master of the Universe

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We’re gonna make Life on Lockdown a weekly thing for a while. You’re not obligated to read it. (Advisory: political opinion ahead.)

—Since the election of Scott Walker as governor in 2010, we have had many painful, embarrassing, infuriating days up here in Wisconsin, but yesterday was the worst. The callous, cynical, power-at-any-price actions of the legislative majority and the four conservatives on the state Supreme Court who voted in a bloc to order the spring election to go ahead are a shame my state will never live down. Bad as it is, however, things would be much worse were it not for our current gov, Democrat Tony Evers, who has done what he can to fight the plague, and thank the gods for him.

—Wisconsin has temporarily taken the crown from Iowa for most fubar’d plague response. In my former home state, GOP Governor Kim Reynolds is way out over her skis. A friend of a friend says that years ago, she used to wait tables with the future gov, who got flustered if she had to take care of more than two at a time.

—The other day, I went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, where the woman at the checkout greeted me with a sunny smile, which is more than any of us should expect right now from somebody who’s making $10 an hour. People like her deserve our profuse thanks, for it is they who are keeping society functional, to the extent that it still is. (Waitstaff, too: on restaurant pickups, we’re tipping far more than the usual percentage these days.) When all this is over, if we do not ignore the GOP and raise the minimum wage to $15 or higher, a lot of these people will literally have died in vain.

—I also went to our local drive-through farmer’s market, not a necessary trip, but one made in support of a vendor we hope will survive all this. It was the first truly surreal scene I’ve witnessed since this crisis began, with all of the vendors wearing bandanas like wild west outlaws. (Although being able to make a left turn from a stop sign onto one of the busiest streets in my suburb at 3:30 in the afternoon was pretty surreal, too.)

—I come from a long line of farmers, which is how I got to be a weather nerd. But I find that I care less about the weather forecast than I used to before all of this started. It’s not merely that we’re staying inside rain or shine. It’s a deeper sort of apathy.

—I made a quick run to the mailbox one day and saw a young mother across the street, pushing her toddler in a swing. As a childless person, I cannot imagine the dread parents must be feeling right now. And I wonder and worry about the children who will have to grow up in the new world that’s coming.

—I keep hearing people express the hope that things will start getting back to normal by the end of this month, but that’s simply not going to happen. The old normal is not coming back, ever. But beyond that, the safest course—which you know will not be the one we take as a nation—would keep us locked down until summer. But even then, we’ll have no vaccine against the virus and no herd immunity. Thus it will still be risky to sit in a crowded office, classroom, restaurant, or sports stadium. No vaccine and no herd immunity means we’re inevitably going to have to go on lockdown again at some point, this fall or next winter, and you can imagine how well-received that will be.

—And because of all that, here’s a prediction: the current NBA and NHL seasons are done, MLB’s new season will never start, and the NFL and college football seasons this fall are in jeopardy. MLB, the NFL, and the English Premier League have made noise about bringing all of the teams into central quarantine at some relatively near date and playing games in one location without fans, which is the kind of master-of-the-universe reality-bending BS beloved of super-rich idiots from Donald Trump on down. They’re used to having their every command obeyed, because it usually is. But not this time. As Dr. Anthony Fauci says, “You don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline.”

And right now, the virus is the master of this universe.

10 thoughts on “Master of the Universe

  1. It’s true. This lockdown is showing the best—and worst—of us. The partisan politics we’ve seen gave been the absolute worst. Some of the comments worshiping Donald Trump are baffling. Some of those comments applaud him for being a shrewd businessman, instead of a politician. Yet, being a government leader is not the work of a businessman…it is the work of a leader. These people love Trump simply because he disparage people they do not like.

  2. mikehagerty

    I was just talking with my wife about this. Essentially, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has disenfranchised eligible voters who want to avoid risking their health and the health of others.

    It won’t be soon enough to matter, but I can’t imagine that will go unchallenged as a violation of those voters’ rights.

    In another administration, a team of Justice Department lawyers would be in Madison right now—but not in this one.

  3. Wesley

    I wore a bandanna over my face to pick up a few items at the grocery store this morning. The checkout clerks wore masks as well, as did some of the other shoppers. I’ve been on again off again wearing the bandanna when I walk around my neighborhood, which is probably foolhardy on my part. But at this point in this new reality, who knows?

    I did get at the store a cheesecake and brownies for a friend who works as a nurse here and is celebrating his birthday Saturday. He insisted he didn’t need anything. I told him it’s the least I could do, along with supporting charities involved in fighting this pandemic and soliciting local businesses where and when I can. I know he and I will come out alive on the other side of this, but what awaits us is the big unknown. Still, as a much better occupant of the current White House once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

  4. spinetingler

    “Essentially, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has disenfranchised eligible voters who want to avoid risking their health and the health of others.”

    That’s not a bug, that’s a feature. GOPers/fakenewsers/itsahoaxers will go out anyway.

      1. mackdaddyg

        Exactly. I don’t understand why they were so gung ho to go ahead and do this primary RIGHT NOW. It has been suggested to me that Republicans are afraid that any rule bending they allow will hurt them in future elections, but who knows?

        Times of crisis always brings out good in a lot of people, and I’m seeing that with this one. but it feels like I’m also seeing a lot more of the bad in people this time around. It’s hard to be optimistic about the human race these days.

      2. mikehagerty

        mackdaddyg: It’s been suggested to me that the Republicans wanted to suppress Democratic turnout and make Democrats scared to show up later in the year, when it counts.

  5. The election here in Wisco yesterday included the Democratic presidential primary, yes, but that’s not why the GOP insisted on having it. The real prize was a state Supreme Court seat, in which a Walker appointee is vying for a full 10-year term. The GOP knows it needs low turnout and/or voter suppresion to win elections here, and hopes to install itself as the permanent ruling party regardless of the will of the electorate. The Biden/Sanders primary has gotten practically no news coverage up here that I’ve seen, and my suspicion is that between the attempt to steal the court seat and the virus, nobody cares.

  6. Tim Morrissey

    ^^^^…not to mention the horrible “Marsy’s Law”, which, given the lack of any significant voting in Milwaukee will become law, giving Vos and Fitz more tools to punish poor people.

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