Wednesday, July 22, 2020

How to Win over an Anti-Masker

Why are some people so resistant to wearing face masks, even though there is ample scientific evidence that they prevent the Covid19 virus from spreading? It’s easy to say: ‘Well, they are misinformed. They are just plain stupid. They are selfish and not thinking of others.’ But covering your face to protect yourself from an enemy that you cannot see, smell, hear or feel is like trying to punch someone in the dark. Some of us have no problem following the recommendations of the medical experts, but to others, it seems pointless and not worth the inconvenience it creates.

The only ‘proof’ that this faceless, odorless, silent enemy exists at all, is the reported number of infected individuals and the many deaths, but even this horrible truth is not enough for some Americans.

These same Americans gladly don a gas mask when they see toxic fumes emanate from a chemical site. They don’t shout: “If God had wanted me to wear a gas mask, I would have been born with a gas mask.” They have no problem wearing a diving mask when they go deep sea diving in Belize (unless they are suicidal, of course). The welders among them do not invoke their ‘individual rights to choose’, when they are sent on a job, where highly concentrated ultraviolet and infrared rays would cost them their eyesight.

These same anti-maskers wear ski masks to prevent frost bite. Were they to visit Saudi Arabia, (which they never will, since it is Satan’s country) they would wear a Bedouin scarf to protect them from swallowing sand and coming back home the color of a cooked lobster. Their right to choose in those situations is as relevant as asking a starving person if they would rather eat now, or wait till next week.
To anti-maskers, the face mask has become the whipping boy of the Coronavirus, like the princes of yore, who had a whipping boy receive corporal punishment in their stead. They cannot tell the virus to take a hike so they refuse to wear a mask instead. Read more...

Thursday, July 9, 2020

America has become very Self-Destructive

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a piece, “America.” It was a pep talk to this country: I argued that throughout its history, whenever the US has faced daunting obstacles, it has ended up overcoming them - often spectacularly,- even if often slow on the uptake.

Most of you liked what I said, if for no other reason because it’s good to try to be positive once in while. Some of you did accuse me of being a brown-nose immigrant, one of those who slavishly embrace their adoptive country.

Actually, I am only high on America part of the time. The other half of the time, I am enraged by what this country is doing to itself. Today is one of those days:

EVERY country in the world is doing a better job warding off the Coronavirus than we are. We have become the epicenter of the pandemic. Covid-19 is becoming an American disease.

Both our absolute and relative infection rates are the highest in the world (apart from a few city states such as Bahrein and Qatar). Brazil, which not coincidentally is also ruled by a strongman, is a distant second. All other major countries have managed to beat back the virus - Italy, Spain, Britain, France and all the other European countries that were once in deep trouble. Read more...

Friday, July 3, 2020

Being Serious

One of the Black Lives Matter movement’s goal is to remove offensive statues and symbols that remind one of slavery and racism. Many (but not all) of these symbols are located in the old Southern Confederacy. For example, John Calhoun’s statue in one of Charleston’s major squares was recently taken down.

In San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, protesters just brought down the statue of Ulysses Grant, the country’s 18th president. He, of course, led the Union forces which defeated the South and ended slavery. However, he married into a slave-owning family. The San Francisco action also brought down the statues of Father Junipero Serra, the 18th century Spanish missionary and that of Francis Scott Key, who wrote the Star Spangled Banner. He owned slaves.

In Washington, D. C., New York, Raleigh N. C., New Jersey, Sacramento and elsewhere, offending statues, symbols and names were removed. Some of these represented confederate leaders; some were historical figures who had mistreated native Americans (E. G. John Sutter); some were US Presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

So far, so good. Some historical revisionism is in order. By all means, rename most places, monuments and institutions that bear the names of people like Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. These men were traitors. Their statues are best kept and viewed in museums, as is done for instance in Berlin. There, Nazi paraphernalia can be viewed by museum visitors without offending holocaust survivors. I also laud removal of confederate flags from events such as NASCAR. I have always felt that the display of confederate flags is a bit as if Germans today were to wave swastikas. Read more...