Writing in a Time of Peril: 3.24.2020

The US CDC reported 33,404 total (confirmed and presumptive) COVID-19 cases and 400 deaths nationwide on March 23, more than double the number of cases reported on Friday and just shy of twice the reported deaths. 

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard is reporting 46,485 US cases and 591 deaths as of 8:45am on March 24. 53,000 cases and 755 deaths as of 6 pm PST.

–DJT “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem.” 3.23.24

Covid-19 feels like a combination of the Influenza Pandemic of 1919, The Great Depression, WWII, and the white supremacist, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, elitist, gaslighting, greedy, self-serving, self-dealing, and narcissistic leadership of Orange Julius. 

I didn’t live through the 1919 Influenza Pandemic or the Great Depression or WWII, but my grandparents lived through all three and my parents lived through WWII. They told us stories of sacrifice, rationing, long lines, many deaths, everyone pitching in, even though all of the social ills and inequities still existed. Our household was always frugal, our pantry was stocked with vegetables and fruit we canned in season to help feed us in the lean and poor times. We sewed most of our own clothes. We had kitchen gardens and our family living in rural areas grew a lot of our food. Our family members hunted and fished to augment our food. We cooked most everything from scratch. During my childhood, in the 1950’s, there were still shortages of things. Butter was not served in my home until my late teens. Margarine was still the cheapest and most abundant butter substitute. 

I’m having a pentimento experience. A new image of my experience since Orange Julius’ campaign and inauguration is being painted over by these Covid-19 times. Eerily familiar images swim below the surface. A campaign and presidency awash with hate mongering, departmental purging and replacing career civil servants with acting political appointees with little experience of their posts. The current administration, dismantling the provisions of legislation for the ACA, environmental rule, voting rights provisions, assaults on immigrants and children, the passing of a lavish tax break for the rich, while burdening the most vulnerable and under-resourced. 

A painting of the previous three years of the current administration are illumed from beneath by new images being painted over by daily briefings by the World Health Organization, the CDC, an array of medical and public health professionals, and Orange Julius. The current wrench today, Orange Julius wants to eliminate, not increase, containment and social distancing to get people back to work to save the economy, i.e., big business, not individual people, regions, and nation. I experience Orange Julius to be about glowing PR for his presidency and his re-lection, rather than preserving and saving our lives. He appears to favor having billions of dollars to be able to dole out to himself and his family or curry loyalty and favor with, rather that provide resources for American citizens to meet the urgent, life threatening demands presented by Covid-19. 

The admonition to the American Public has been that we not panic. However, I experience Orange Julius as constantly panicked and now his hair is on fire as he burns through science-based professional spokespeople, i.e., Deborah Brix, Alex Azar, and now Anthony Fauci, because Covid-19 requires containment, shelter in place, universal testing, access to the entire treasury for a minimum of two months. 

Like the wicked witch of the west, Evillene, singing “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News,” in the musical, The Wiz, Orange Julius demands only the news that will profit him or burnish his image. She has a vulnerability, though. She’s allergic to water and she melts when a bucket is splashed on her. Orange Julius is allergic to authenticity & faithfulness & fidelity & trustworthiness, in one word, Orange Julius is allergic to truth.

Responsible and accountable legislation is trying mightily to emerge from the congress. 

I go down my to-do list of selfcare: meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home, except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there a very few people about. Watch less TV, but stay informed. Play games and laugh a lot. When I smell hair on fire, I ask myself to look in the mirror and see, that I realize the hair of fire is not mine. Channel fear and rage into expression, action and art. 

I put on The Wiz album and continue to chronicle these times.

© Andrea Canaan, MSW, MFA


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