LIBERATE SCIENCE

Trump tweeted to liberate Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia.  His supporters have taken to the streets across the country to demand lifting restrictions and wanting to get back to “normal”.  Right wing outlets are fanning the flames.  Georgia’s governor has decreed a lifting of the restrictions so that businesses can open, including gyms, nail salons and massage parlors.  How do you maintain social distancing at a massage parlor?  He acknowledges that virus numbers and deaths may rise, but he’s ready for it.  Really?

We all want to get back to normal.  But science tells us if we drop our guard too soon, we’ll just be back in the soup, only deeper.  The problem is a significant minority—I hope it’s a minority—of Americans don’t believe scientists who are experts and believe there is a vast deep state conspiracy to squash their freedoms.  Those are the same people who believed Trump when he said the virus was a Democrat hoax.  So why not get out of the house and congregate mask-less with your buddies and protest?  It is your American right.

Last night I saw on the news a group of protesters chanting: “fire Fauci”.  Yes, that’s right, see no evil and fire the messenger.  As if firing the truth tellers would solve the problem.  As Jack Nicholson said in the movie A Few Good men:  you can’t handle the truth.

I’m afraid science has been chained up in the basement.  It needs to be liberated.  We need to understand that truth is truth whether we believe it or not.  We need to understand that science gives us the truth, and that the truth will set us free.  Eventually.

In the meantime, most Americans seem to be complying with the shelter at home orders, are maintaining social distancing and washing their hands.  Most fear that lifting the orders too soon will lead to a rebound.  Most understand what science is telling us—we are in it deep and there is no easy way out.  Let’s just hope that the pressure to open up prematurely doesn’t Trump science.

 

2 Comments

  1. It’s all getting just too much to bear, isn’t it? I just finished reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Leadership in Turbulent Times, which I recommend. She uses Lincoln, TR, FDR and LBJ as examples of various styles of effectively leading in crisis. I couldn’t help but think that many of her lessons drawn were made in direct contrast to the total lack of leadership shown by Trump. It made me long for the kind of leadership the US has been fortunate enough to have in past crises. I don’t think Biden has the ability that FDR had when he quickly worked to undo the damage of the Hoover administration’s incompetence, but maybe he can rally enough knowledgeable people to try.

    I also recommend the George Packer piece in Atlantic for a really depressing but unflinching look at the mess we’re in. I can’t quite even fathom how we get out of the mess, but figure defeating Trump – and McConnell – has to be a top priority. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/06/underlying-conditions/610261/

    We have a dear friend who lives in Athens, Georgia, who is livid and petrified about the idiocy of Brian Kemp’s opening the state. I read an interesting theory today about why Kemp did it; it’s cynical to the max, but I fear it’s probably the best explanation possible of why bowling alleys and tattoo parlors are open while high tech companies are not. https://decaturish.com/2020/04/dear-decaturish-governors-decision-to-reopen-businesses-is-political-murder/

    The good news is that Minnesota has a savvy governor. We also feel lucky that the Netherlands seems to be doing the right things and it’s not generating any crazies to come out and protest. We, like Minnesota, are still in shut-down mode until May 15, though apparently elementary schools are reopening with teachers being given a choice about whether to be in the classroom. Not sure how this will work.

    May we see better times soon…

    Susan

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  2. I don’t want to get back to “normal,” if normal was the state of affairs before the lock-down. Before the lock-down we were trying to upgrade “normal” significantly. It’s even possible that’s easier from our current position. I suggest we steer towards a new version of normal.

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