Year-Ending Thoughts About The Pandemic

Since the pandemic first crossed our shores, all of us— baby boomers and everyone else— has had to learn things about our society, and perhaps about ourselves, that we wish we’d never had to learn. Some are consequential, some are frivolous. That’s what led BoomerCafé’s co-founder and executive editor Greg Dobbs to think through what he has learned during the pandemic.

➤ Back in the pandemic’s early days, for those who lost a job to go to (but not the resources to survive), a month of Sundays sounded kind of nice. But every season runs its course. Now it feels more like a month of Mondays.

Grim numbers… Covid-19 cases and deaths are tracked in real time by Johns Hopkins University of Medicine (click on map for latest).

➤ Maybe the luckiest generation in America today is mine, the baby boomers. For the one venerable generation even older, the pandemic has laid bare its vulnerability to this virus, and laid low a record number of its victims. For the generations younger, it’s not just that life has been put on hold, but that so much forward progress has been lost, from job growth to social contact to precious parts of education. Boomers are the lucky ones because by and large, we aren’t yet exposed in nursing homes, but are well past the developmental years where for others, the pandemic has brought such life-shattering changes.

➤ Truer than ever now, life is not a fairy tale. Some stories don’t have a happy ending. From the first hellish death from the virus, from the first plunge into poverty, this one hasn’t. And won’t.

➤ If we didn’t know it before, we know it now: men really don’t need neckties (we just need to be neater when we’re sipping soup). Women probably feel the same about 6-inch stilettos (well, except for Ivanka and Melania).

➤ Some shortages make sense: propane-powered heat towers for people with outdoor space since seeing friends is safer outdoors than in. Bikes for people who don’t want to go to the gym or take the bus. Even flour, because so many more people are spending so much more time at home. But the toilet paper thing? That one will never make sense.

Greg Dobbs

➤ Years ago, I wrote a book called Life in the Wrong Lane. It is mainly about the life of a foreign correspondent— my life. I came up with the title when I thought about television coverage of hurricanes, where you’ll see shots from local news helicopters of highways packed like parking lots because everyone who’s smart is in the right lane, trying to get as far from the trouble as they can. But every once in a while a car goes whistling down the wrong lane, racing toward the trouble. Those are the first responders… and the journalists. Now, with the pandemic, it’s frontline workers who live life in the wrong lane. They walk knowingly toward trouble, day in and day out. They are healthcare workers, nursing home aides, teachers, grocery clerks, police officers, and others we never fully appreciated before. Maybe now, that changes.

➤ Plenty of people just don’t read any news from reliable sources. They don’t read it, they don’t watch it, they don’t listen to it. So to be magnanimous toward some who show no obedience to good guidance from public health experts, maybe we can cut them a speck of slack. But when people we know are smart and well-informed but still ignore reality, there’s only one appalling lesson: we truly live in alternate universes. And only one alarming conclusion: trying to explain it with logic is a total waste of time.

➤ Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt (and if you don’t get da point, say da sentence out loud).

➤ One of the key questions for which we don’t have all the answers is, what won’t ever again be the same? This pandemic has forced changes in how we gather, how we shop, how we work, how we eat, how we communicate, how we learn. It has blighted businesses, it has heightened homelessness. It has made some of us forlorn of our loneliness, and others fearful of our fellow man. Some of these impacts will be long-lasting for sure. But which will be permanent? We just don’t know. Not yet.

➤ But maybe Zoom? I’ve come to hate Zoom. Sure, it lets us connect with those we love and those we miss and right now there is no substitute and until we reach the light at the end of the tunnel, I wouldn’t trade it. But still, I hate Zoom.

➤ From its birth, America has been great. At least until four years ago when one man, enabled and encouraged by many more and showing a lethal lack of leadership during the pandemic, threatened to take it down. But last month, the majority of Americans took him down. There never was a need to make America great again. Beginning January 20th, its enduring greatness will be affirmed.

But not before we must endure a few more weeks of the dangerous and despicable doings of Donald Trump, who is like a little boy screaming, “If I can’t have what I want, no one will.” Now, on top of his continuing campaign to depreciate our democracy, this petulant president has refused to sign, without empathy or remorse, a bi-partisan funding bill, letting programs for the poor expire— on which millions depend day to day for their survival— and retarding relief for the twelve-and-a-half million Americans who have been thrown out of work.

Trump on a golf course.

Two New York Times White House correspondents, trying to figure out what drives this cruel creature, wrote, “It is not clear that Mr. Trump’s latest behavior is anything other than a temper tantrum, attention seeking or a form of therapy.” I beg to differ. It is an act of domestic terrorism. The basic definition of terrorism is, an act that is dangerous to human life, committed against non-combatants, for social or political gain.

Trump is a terrorist.

But soon he will be out on his ear. Good riddance. The tunnel does have an end.

13 Comments

  1. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Greg Dobbs.

    Your writings (full of wisdom and common sense) give me much-needed comfort in these days of tRump and Covid.

    1. America might be great, we are also very lucky. Size, geography, fertile land, protecting oceans, wonderful Constitution, etc…
      The last 8 weeks has shown how vulnerable our democracy really is, definitely shaken my confidence in its institutions today. And as implied above, it’s not yet over. Let’s hope the soon to come transition is normal and without hiccups…

      Bar-giora Goldberg
      Author of The Mind is Mightier.
      San Diego, CA

  2. Thank you Greg, and all the contributors, for helping us put 2020 into perspective and always calling out truth to power. The Evil-doer will be gone from power on January 20 and it will be up to all of us to put him far enough back in the rear view mirror so his evil ways will fade into oblivion forever.

  3. Greg and Dave,
    It’s been a wonderful experience writing for Boomer Cafe these past years, even though it’s been frustrating for Dave. I hope he has recovered. I wish both of you the best for 2021 and the years after. I look forward to Boomer Cafe’s articles on current events, humor pieces, and opinions.

  4. I enjoyed your first 10 bullet points, Greg. But then you just couldn’t resist descending into Trump-bashing. I just hope that, if the new administration spends us into the poorhouse and raises taxes through the roof, then steers us toward socialism, that you have the guts to call them out on it and bash them. Biden’s already pissing off AOC by naming Cabinet members from the good-ol-boys club. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  5. “news from reliable sources”. Can’t find any. They’re all biased. Watch Fox, then CNN, then try to find the middle of the road. No one is reporting “just the facts” without their own spin. No wonder no one is watching anymore.

    1. Denver, I couldn’t agree with you more. I can’t wait until everyone who thought that Trump was a horrible president sees what happens after the president-elect with his vice-present elect gets in the WH late January. This country will go from democratic, to socialism, and then directly into total dictatorship. Trump was far from perfect, however, what you saw is what you got. This new administration is beyond devious and manipulative. It’s funny how so many people think people like you and I are in denial, blinded by mass ignorance. When in fact, they are the ones who are in denial, blinded, and ignorant, because they’ve lost their ability to think for themselves and to actually “see” what’s going on right in front of their eyes.

      1. And we, who completely disagree with you are amazed you can’t see what’s right in front of YOUR eyes. You don’t have to watch what you call “biased” news to see what a disaster trump is, he shows us constantly in his own actions and words.

        1. Hmmmm. Lowest unemployment/best economy in 10 years. Brokered two Middle East peace treaties. Couple of Noble prize nominations. Yeah, disastrous. I do admit his election charges aren’t panning out his way, but there are election irregularities that need addressed.

  6. Greg, another observant and important piece. Am with you and indeed hoping that there will be light at the end of this dark tunnel for all of us around the world and that peace and good health are the only things to go viral! To only a better year ahead!

  7. He may have accomplished a very small amount of “good” things Peace Treaties being one. He’s a mess as a human being and a total egotistical morally bankrupt man. After 200 some years of voting things don’t all of a sudden go sideways because one man doesn’t get his way. It may not be a perfect system but standing by a man who incites violence and acts like an immature idiot. Wow, what a disturbing era we are in right now – fueled by people like you who go along with a herd of minions who care nothing about democracy. If live coverage of riots and words coming out of mouth don’t convince you what kind of evil person he is, you ARE blind.

    1. You need to just back off and chill out. You don’t know me or what I stand for, but for example, I (two months ago) changed my voter registration from Republican to Libertarian. As far as Trump goes, I’ve already said he was the better of the two choices at the time (2016). And as far as the inciting/treason/sedition charges being thrown around by talking heads on CNN, Trump’s actual recorded words have been reviewed by several law professors on Reason.com and they agree, he could not be charged based on his speech. Is he an egotistical idiot? Sure, sometimes we all are, but that’s not prosecutable. The actions of the idiots in the riot are prosecutable, and I hope they do. Care nothing about democracy? My whole career (23 years active duty) was defending democracy, 17 of it overseas. Minion? Yeah, we wore camo and took orders from the SecDef.
      Trust me, I don’t stand by him. I stand by conservative principles and the Constitution. So just find a way to get along with everyone and not calling names.

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