Dear Millennials, Gen X,Z and Alpha,
I apologize for the world we are leaving you. It sucks.
The Novel Coronavirus will create profound changes in society. It could be a catalyst for political change in our country, but that will be difficult because of the president’s mobster-like grip on his party. The Democratic nominee will get votes against Trump but that may not be enough to win. I’m not even sure a new POTUS could handle what lies ahead. Look at what happened with a capable and intelligent president, Barack Obama, during his first term cleaning up the financial catastrophe that unregulated financial derivatives created after eight years of a Republican president. In the 2010 midterm elections Republicans picked up seven Senate seats, 63 seats in the House of Representatives, won a net gain of six gubernatorial seats and flipped control of twenty state legislative chambers, giving them a substantial advantage in the redistricting that occurred following the last census. Obama wasn’t fixing the financial crisis quickly enough for some American people. Oh. and he is black.
In the mid 1980’s Jack Vitek and I would meet at Flanagan’s Pub on Monday nights and drink a couple of beers. One of our regular topics for discussion was the impact the peace/love movement had on our country. At the time we thought we were really changing society. We were passionate about what we believed in; no more war. You too will need passion and commitment to face the challenges ahead. Your American dream will not be the same as mine was. The burden of student loans and stagnant wages has put home ownership out of reach for many. Just 35% of households headed by someone younger than 35 owned a home in 2017. This epidemic will worsen economic worries for you. And then there is global warming.
The progress made between 2008-2016 toward stemming the steady rise of carbon emissions has been undone in three short years. The US has left the Paris Climate Agreement and federal standards created to regulate our country’s carbon emissions have been rolled back. If this shortsightedness is not addressed soon, your grandchildren’s world will be very different from this one.
You cannot afford to be complacent. Our American democracy is being destroyed before our eyes. Our leaders have abandoned their oath to serve the people. The nation is more divided than it has ever been: rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal, black versus white, Christians versus Muslims, rich versus poor. People who have led productive lives find themselves homeless while there are hundreds of vacant luxury apartments in cities. This pandemic will only widen those divisions. —Brevard NC, April 14, 2020,
Brevard, NC, May 23, 2020
Brevard, NC, May 16, 2020
Brevard, NC, April 18, 2020
Brevard, May 23, 2020
Brevard, May 23, 2020
Brevard, May 23, 2020
people from parking along the road and walking into the park.
Hand sanitizer, check. Alcohol wipes for contact surfaces, check.
Easter, April 12
Here it all seems so distant. Is this really happening? When I read the news in the morning am I confronted by reality. Although we probably could not have kept the virus out of our country, denial of the potential catastrophe kept officials from acting to mitigate the pandemic earlier. The news depresses me and although I keep telling myself to not read it, my depraved curiosity draws me to it like a car wreck on the side of the road.
This is a tight-knit community. Although we have gathered a few friends outside on the deck once or twice, we miss seeing them as we did, in our homes. I worry that the warmth we feel toward each other will be diminished going forward. Will we look at each other with suspicion, wondering if the person facing us is a vector for the virus?
The only remaining relative from my parent's generation is my aunt. Her home is in Pelham, NY, about two miles away from the New Rochelle synagogue attended by one of the first reported US coronavirus cases. She lives alone in an early 20th century home in need of maintenance. I went to visit her the first weekend in February. It was her 93rd birthday. She has not been out of the house or seen anybody since mid-March, although her neighbor has been by a few times to wave at her through the kitchen door. A friend does some grocery shopping for her. We have been sending packages of soup, boxed milk and granola bars. Early on we sent her bath tissue. She is not tech savvy and has no online access which further isolates her. Before the pandemic She still drove and was able to do her own grocery shopping. I don't know if that will be possible after the quarantine is lifted. Although the virus seems far away from our corner of North Carolina, it is very close when viewed through the lens of my aunt.
Pelham, NY, January 31, 2020
The Calm Before the Storm
Grand Central, January 30, 2020
New York, January 30, 2020
|April 3, 2020||245,442||6,098|
|April 4, 2020||277,607||7,406|
|April 5, 2020||311,637||8,454|
|April 6, 2020||336,851||9,620|
|April 7, 2020||367,659||10,943|
|April 9, 2020||435,160||14,797|
|April 10, 2020||468,895||16,697|
|April 11, 2020||503,177||18,761|
|April 12, 2020||533,115||20,580|
|April 16, 2020||644,348||28,554|
|April 17, 2020||678,210||34,641|
|April 18, 2020||710,272||37,175|
|April 19, 2020||738,923||39,015|
|April 20, 2020||764,265||40,565|
|April 21, 2020||792,938||42,518|
|April 22, 2020||819,175||45,343|
|April 23, 2020||876,174||49,651|
|April 24, 2020||886,709||50,243|
|April 25, 2020||925,758||52,217|
|April 26, 2020||960,896||54,265|
|April 27, 2020||987,322||55,415|
|April 28, 2020||1,010,507||56,803|
|April 29, 2020||1,035,765||59,266|
|April 30, 2020||1,064,572||61,669|
|May 1, 2020||1,095,304||63,871|
|May 2, 2020||1,131,856||65,782|
|May 3, 2020||1,160,997||67,448|
|May 4, 2020||1,188,826||68,606|
|May 5, 2020||1,213,010||69,925|
|May 6, 2020||1,238,052||72,264|
|May 7, 2020||1,263,243||74,809|
|May 8, 2020||1,292,902||76,942|
|May 9, 2020||1,322,171||78,716|
|May 10, 2020||1,347,318||80,040|
|May 11, 2020||1,367,963||80,787|
|May 12, 2020||1,385,893||81,796|
|May 13, 2020||1,408,745||83,449|
|May 14, 2020||1,430,348||85,197|
|May 15, 2020||1,458,241||86,492|
|May 16, 2020||1,484,463||88,508|
|May 17, 2020||1,507,798||90,113|
|May 18, 2020||1,528,179||90,998|
|May 19, 2020||1,552,140||92,603|
Data from worldOmeter
Brevard, April 18, 2020
It didn't take long for people around here to accept the new way. Most, but not all, people wear a face covering in public. There is no clear demographic defining those that do and those that don't. But those that don't are different from me. I wonder if they are just reckless or so-called "patriots" who view any government dictum as an infringement on their civil liberties. In the same way they see any discussion of the Second Amendment — A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed1 — our rightful civil liberties can interpreted to suit one's needs. Owning an AR-15 has nothing to do with a well regulated militia, i.e. the National Guard. Regardless of the reason behind their defiance there are now two camps of people: those who mask and those who don't, giving us another reason to be suspicious of people who are not like us.
Brevard, May 16, 2020
Lines everywhere. Lines on the pavement to keep us six feet apart. Lines at restaurant takeout. Lines in the list of cases and deaths.
I have been keeping track of the numbers. I record and tally them every morning. It gives me a clear, data driven picture of where the US stands with the pandemic. I cannot grasp what it is like to be a family member or health care worker having to deal with a sick person or their death. I try hard to see the numbers as people's lives. I feel guilty because I cannot.
Friday, May 22
An hour from now North Carolina enters Phase 2 of the state lockdown. That means I will be able to get a haircut or go to a restaurant for a limited seating meal. While I welcome the lifting of restrictions I wonder how this will all end up. The daily new cases of COVID-19 are staying the same, between 20-25,000 and daily deaths are down slightly. Our county now has 11 cases, up from 7. We know so little about this disease. All scientists can do is err on the side of caution.
|CASE INCREASES||DEATHS INCREASE|
Today is Memorial Day in the US, a day when we honor those who died defending our democracy.
Today the US death toll from COVID-19 will surpass 100,000.
We should also honor those who have died from this virus and those who have served the sick.
And the forest continues its march through the seasons.
Summer is just around the corner.
This summer will be unlike any other I have experienced.