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.