April 5, 2020 --
So far as LPR knows, the United States national motto is still "In God We Trust." It has not been changed to "In Coronavirus Logarithms We Trust." Much less has the state motto of New Hampshire been changed from "Live Free or Die." to "Live Quarantined or Die." And the cry of Patrick Henry has not been changed from "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death," to
"Keep My Neighbor Six Feet Away or Give Me Death."
True, one may with justification wonder how strong is America's trust in God, when places of communal prayer - churches, synagogues, mosques -- are closed, for the duration, it seems.
On the glorious side, the Spring budding of leaves and the burst of bloom of blossoms cannot be halted by executive order of governors or mayors.Local magnolia trees in the Riverdale section of Bronx, N.Y. are particularly colorful on a sunny afternoon in late March, set against a bright blue sky.
The banner headline across the front page of the March 27 New York Times warns of economic and medical collapse. The headline proclaimed: "JOB LOSSES SOAR; U.S. VIRUS CASES TOP WORLD." More than 3 million people filed for unemployment the previous week, the paper reported, going on to write of "alarming numbers," of a "grim record," of an economic cataclysm in progress."
The editorial in the Times, March 25, urged that "We Need a National Lockdown." But don't we have one, effectively, already, and couldn't that be why the unemployment figures have zoomed upwards, from 200 thousand? This editorial warns that the coronavirus could result in two million deaths in the United States. Source? London's Imperial College. The paper called for "a National Lockdown," the day it reported on its front page that India Prime Minister Mohdi ordered a three week ban on leaving the home for India's population of 1.3 billion. And what will that do to the economy of India?
The front page of the Times, March 25, also reported that President Trump wanted the U.S. economy to be opened up by Easter Sunday, April 12. The disparate views of theTimes and the president underscore how far apart the continued to stand from the President -- about 180 degrees apart. (April 12, incidentally, marks the 75th anniversary of the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.)
In The Bronx, LPR found that buses were running but not accepting money, with passengers instructed to enter by the rear door, not the door by the driver. People were walking on local street largely free of vehicular traffic, as if they were extras in an apocalyptic sci-fi horror movie. Milk and eggs had returned to shelves in a local supermarket, but many shops were closed, even a bank branch and a cleaner's shop (although cleaners had been exempted from the order to stores to close).
Offices and stores had been ordered closed, but food shops were allowed to stay open, along with post offices and mail deliveries. By March 27 courts were closed, so a closed restaurant had no place to bring a lawsuit challenging the officially decreed closure.
LPR had an experience suggesting the good nature of the citizenry had not yet been affected. Early evening March 26, the phone rang, from a caller who was kind to tell me she found my waller, that had disappeared few hours earlier. To indicate that the phrase "what goes around comes around" also has a positive aspect, this good Samaritan lived in an apartment building where, several years ago, I returned a lost dog tag to the dog's owner.
On the other hand, LPR experienced the direct result of this virus, earlier, March 26, being told by an acquaintance, walking her dog, that this virus had killed a friend.
To read a newspaper is to wonder if anything is happening these March days other than reports dealing with the coronavirus, or collateral matters, like the action by Congress to appropriate more than two trillion dollars -- for what purpose, it is not clear to LPR, as the appropriation includes 25 million dollars for the Kennedy Center, and what does the Center have to do with dealing with the virus. LPR has feeling that the Democrats, being so good at this kind of thing, are milking the treasury to grow government ever larger, even without having a Senate majority or a Democrat in the White House yet.
And what of the national conventions to nominate presidential candidates. The Democratic National Convention is scheduled to convene on July 13. The Summer Olympics was to open on July 24, but has been postponed to Summer, 2021. Obviously the conventions cannot be postponed until next year, but will there be pressure to put them off until September or October?
As LPR sees it, a shorter post-nomination campaign would not be a bad thing. The Democrats have been campaigning, pre-nomination for some nine months. Curious how quickly, Joe Biden became the presumed Democratic candidate about a month or so since Sen. Bernie Sanders seemed headed for the nomination after he won inn New Hampshire and Nevada.
It is to be expected that the major issue argued by the Democrats will be the United States will not survive another four Trump years. There may well be more truth in the claim by the president that if the Democrats are voted in power, they will wreak havoc on the idea of America as beacon for liberty, citing their efforts to turn a particular form of virus into an engine to establish totalitarian government in the United States, where The People passively submit to official decree, not representative government.
LPR would point out that as early as January 30, this year, The New York Times quoted Dr. Anthony Fauci as remarking, of the early reports out of China of the coronavirus, "'I think that things are going to get worse before they get better." Indeed they did, but to put heavy emphasis on the negative is, LPR fears, is to give self-serving officials the excuse to impose their rule on the populace. Stated differently, perhaps one can now appreciate just how officials, in Salem, Massachusetts were, the late 17th century, able to use emotion, not reason, to put to death innocent victims smeared with the accusation of witchcraft.
As already noted here, LPR would prefer that we put trust in God and common sense rather than in artful extrapolation of logarithms. Doesn't common sense advise that whatever the coronavirus is, it is not the bubonic plague; that if we can tolerate flu deaths numbering in the tens of thousands, and without shutting the country down, the losses of this virus, grievous as they are, are no cause to transform the country to oppressive government, where even basketball hoops are no longer tolerated?