So now it’s not me, it’s not the Bay Area, it’s the entire state of California. I used to say that Silly Con Valley is where your future comes from, and you won’t like it, and it sure as Hell seems that way as more and more places realize the only way to stop this thing is to lock shit down as tight as humanly possible. The big fear at this point, obviously, is that it’s not going to work – that it will have to go on for so long that the lag time between action and results makes people say “hey, it hasn’t gone away despite everything, why am I still being cooped up if it doesn’t make a difference.” Which is a real risk, because we are a pretty dumb country being led by pretty dumb people.
Which is where the bailout shit comes in. It’s hard not to think about the last time, when Wall Street got rescued and promptly turned on the public. If you need a quick summary, grab your King James Bible and re-read Matthew 18:21-35, and think about it. A bunch of corporations and industries that got a tongue bath of tax cuts for three years and wasted it on CEO pay and stock buybacks now needs a bailout? Fuck that. Give everyone who made less than six figures last year a check for $5000, and let the free market decide what companies need to get bailed out. That seems a lot more fair and sensible than just saying “we’re going to save these specific industries” – especially when the main thing that needs saving is employee salaries.
Because a lot of salaries aren’t high enough, and right now we’re seeing just whose. The guys driving the garbage truck that’s keeping us from being buried in our own waste. The grocery clerks ringing up all the people who can’t be bothered to social-distance. The teachers handling your rabid kid every day times thirty. We’ve spent a generation or more deprecating actual work when we aren’t trying to abstract it away, and a lot of affluent twentysomething Stanford grads in this valley are running up against the limits of what happens when the app that does what Mommy used to do doesn’t have anyone willing to work for it any longer.
It would be nice to think that we can come out the other side of this okay. That people are being repelled by what they see every day from the White House and are being affected by having to think about other people around them and realize that we live in a society that depends on us to rub along in a civilized fashion. It’d be nice to think so. But we’ve got to make it to the other side first. We have to have enough testing, which we don’t have yet. Until we have a vaccine, which we won’t for a year or more, our only hope is testing so we can actually find out who has it and keep them safe. In the meantime, we have to keep everyone safe, which means we all live on lockdown. And anyone who doesn’t like it needs to think long and hard about who decided we didn’t need pandemic funding or planning at a federal level any longer. And vote accordingly.
I can’t think about November now, though. Right now is all about win the day, and then win the next one, and then and then and then.