The Shit Has Hit the Fan: Shut the Country Down to Save Lives

All my life fear is all I’ve heard.

Fear the immigrant, Muslims, foreignness, black people protesting, black athletes kneeling during the Anthem, germs, foreign travel to non-Western countries, terrorism, etc., etc. Before 9/11, as a teen in the late 1990s, it was fear of marijuana, public welfare abuse and, as always, inclement weather.

There is a clear economic driver to sensationalizing fear in the mass media: viewership and advertisement revenue will increase as more of the public watch to ‘learn’ what to fear and how to keep ‘safe’. In this sense, the American public are like people anywhere, albeit, with a different system conditioning them.

From an evolutionary perspective, reflexive fear may help an animal survive. But acting like a prey animal, with eyes on either side of head to detect approaching predators, is no way to live. For a cornered, frightened rat will do anything their master says to not be crushed underfoot.

Today, after decades of crying wolf in fear, the **it has hit the fan. Over the past three days, the US has seen 5,000+ new daily coronavirus cases. This is an exponential increase of about 5,000 cases higher than Italy at Day 21. Because of the virus’s newness, the human immune system, unlike flu, has little resistance to its spread. There is no clear drug treatment for the virus, and we are about a year away from a vaccine. This virus kills at rate several times higher than flu, and new data shows that young health people are not invincible to severe cases.

Therefore, it is time to channel decades of irrational fear and repurpose it into extremely cautious behavior. The federal government must close all schools and nonessential institutions and businesses in the United States, including bars, restaurants and public areas like beaches, until the threat of coronavirus transmission has diminished. All other nations stricken by even half the US case numbers have done so, as rational responses to their public health emergencies.

Yet, anti-American coward-in-chief, Donald Trump, is different. (Trump is anti-American in many broader ways, but, more strictly, in his combatting the First Amendment in crushing protester rights at campaign events and on the NFL field. And in his shifty response to coronavirus, in which he hastened the virus’s spread through encouraging people to go to work with the disease, displaying that handshakes are ok and acting like all is fine – as Americans suffer one of the worst public health crises ever. In short, anti-Americanness reeks in his utter disregard for Americans’ basic well-being. This was true before the pandemic, but more obvious today. Cowardice evinces in Trump’s xenophobic fear of immigrants, Muslims, foreignness and his inability to stand any criticism.)

Nationally, restaurants, bars and places of public gathering remain open as cases surge past 27,000 – over 23,000 new cases in the past week alone. The federal government must shut down all schools and nonessential businesses and institutions to prevent further transmission.

Why this hasn’t happened yet is due to a mix of the anti-American coward-in-chief’s utter stupidity and because the economy will suffer. But Mr. Coward-in-Chief, I’ve got news for you – the economy has already tanked and this will only exacerbate the more that the virus spreads. Also, semi-rational advisers and/or political allies will eventually push you to shut the country down anyways.

Immediately shutting down the country will help the economy in the long run. Far more importantly, it will help mitigate Americans’ suffering and death under your irresponsible watch.

For decades Americans have been conditioned to be perpetually afraid, fearing everything from immigrants, Islam, marijuana and non-European foreign travel. Now there is actually something to be rationally fearful over.

In response, we should act responsibly and in solidarity with our neighbors by staying inside. But many people, including Trump supporters dubious of a ‘hoax’, are unlikely to do so.

Therefore, we need the federal government to mandate a shutdown today to save lives.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
August 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Lights! Camera! Kill! Hollywood, the Pentagon and Imperial Ambitions.
Joseph Grosso
Bloody Chicken: Inside the American Poultry Industry During the Time of COVID
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: It Had to be You
H. Bruce Franklin
August 12-22, 1945: Washington Starts the Korean and Vietnam Wars
Pete Dolack
Business as Usual Equals Many Extra Deaths from Global Warming
Paul Street
Whispers in the Asylum (Seven Days in August)
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Predatory Capitalism and the Nuclear Threat in the Age of Trump
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
‘Magical Thinking’ has Always Guided the US Role in Afghanistan
Ramzy Baroud
The Politics of War: What is Israel’s Endgame in Lebanon and Syria?
Ron Jacobs
It’s a Sick Country
Eve Ottenberg
Trump’s Plan: Gut Social Security, Bankrupt the States
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Fake News
Jonathan Cook
How the Guardian Betrayed Not Only Corbyn But the Last Vestiges of British Democracy
Joseph Natoli
What Trump and the Republican Party Teach Us
Robert Fisk
Can Lebanon be Saved?
Brian Cloughley
Will Biden be Less Belligerent Than Trump?
Kenn Orphan
We Do Not Live in the World of Before
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Compromise & the Status Quo
Andrew Bacevich
Biden Wins, Then What?
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
The Criminology of Global Warming
Michael Welton
Toppled Monuments and the Struggle For Symbolic Space
Prabir Purkayastha
Why 5G is the First Stage of a Tech War Between the U.S. and China
Daniel Beaumont
The Reign of Error
Adrian Treves – John Laundré
Science Does Not Support the Claims About Grizzly Hunting, Lethal Removal
David Rosen
A Moment of Social Crisis: Recalling the 1970s
Maximilian Werner
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf: Textual Manipulations in Anti-wolf Rhetoric
Pritha Chandra
Online Education and the Struggle over Disposable Time
Robert Koehler
Learning from the Hibakushas
Seth Sandronsky
Teaching in a Pandemic: an Interview With Mercedes K. Schneider
Dean Baker
Financing Drug Development: What the Pandemic Has Taught Us
Greta Anderson
Blaming Mexican Wolves for Livestock Kills
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Meaning of the Battle of Salamis
Mel Gurtov
The World Bank’s Poverty Illusion
Paul Gilk
The Great Question
Rev. Susan K. Williams Smith
Trump Doesn’t Want Law and Order
Martin Cherniack
Neo-conservatism: The Seductive Lure of Lying About History
Nicky Reid
Pick a Cold War, Any Cold War!
George Wuerthner
Zombie Legislation: the Latest Misguided Wildfire Bill
Lee Camp
The Execution of Elephants and Americans
Christopher Brauchli
I Read the News Today, Oh Boy…
Tony McKenna
The Truth About Prince Philip
Louis Proyect
MarxMail 2.0
Sidney Miralao
Get Military Recruiters Out of Our High Schools
Jon Hochschartner
Okra of Time
David Yearsley
Bringing Landscapes to Life: the Music of Johann Christian Bach