Will You Stand by Me Them?

For starters I will spare you all the verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, hyperboles and related expressions associated with our current and collective conundrum. The only thing expanding faster than the pandemic are all of these expressions-ad nauseam generated by well meaning people who do not realize they are just adding to the noise while trying to be part of the signal. Perhaps we should call it ad-noiseam.

Call me a cynic but I am at the point where I have heard Stand By Me once too many times, seen one too many related hashtags or watched one too many celebrities claiming ‘we are all in this together’. Go ahead and asked them for a donation and you will find out soon enough what being alone really means. And of course I applaud everyone’s efforts but I think we have all reached the breaking point of tolerating the redundant. And as you are reading this last sentence I will now accept your apology about thinking I were a cynic but not to worry, no offense taken J.

However, I will NEVER get tired of the admiration, adulation, worship and acknowledgement of the sacrifices our heroic health workers and first responders have demonstrated to date. No expression or hyperbole can ever reach the point of redundancy in this case, which is why I am deeply concerned for their collective future well being, and not just their physical state but, even more importantly, their mental health. Let me state my concerns as undiplomatically as I  am known to!

As a proud son of a decorated anti-Nazi warrior in my birth land I learned early in life just how quickly brave soldiers and victorious warriors are forgotten by the general population once the battle is over. We see its effects here at home each and every day; homeless vets from several useless military campaigns being treated like street trash or, worse, not even being acknowledged as human beings. Their crime? Not getting the help needed to treat their PTSD. Imagine that – we train our young men and women to become killing machines, we then send them across the globe to fight useless perpetual wars so we can brag about being the ‘only superpower, blah, blah..’ and when they return with deep physical and emotional scars we show them the sidewalks. Wow, what gratitude!

This is precisely why I fear what may happen after we lick this global pestilence once and for all. Our frontline fighters will go back to their lives, their families and friends completely exhausted and deeply damaged not just physically but emotionally as well. Think PTSD on steroids. Who will help them and where can they go to get help? Our healthcare system does not reflect our ‘only global superpower’ mantra bullshit, not even close. In his poignant documentary Sicko Michael Moore showed us that Cuba has a universal healthcare much better than ours! I am talking about Cuba, as in Castro’s Cuba while the press and the politicians were hammering Senator Sanders’ fighting for the same thing here at home. See the irony? But don’t worry Bill, will shout many of you and once again accuse me of being a cynic.

As we are all experiencing physical isolation, emotional anxiety, economic uncertainty our brave and overworked warriors are soldering on with subpar equipment and limited supplies while understaffed with no reinforcements in sight. Yet the politicians, including our executive branch, many governors and mayors are talking about reopening the economy en masse. For full disclosure, I am hyper-apolitical but I have noticed that many of these ‘brave’ politicians who couldn’t science their way out of a wet paper bag happen to be Republicans. Hmmmmm, it’s tempting but no comment for now.

Even doctors have joined the Covid Chorus; Dr. Oz stated that if we reopened schools mortality rate wouldn’t exceed 2%-3%. Huh? And what 2%-3% of his extended family is Dr.Oz willing to sacrifice so he can get back into his studio and glam himself to a more youthful appearance? His aging parents, aunts/uncles and relatives in Turkey or his children, God forbid!

Not to be overshadowed, Dr. Phil’s floated the logic that we don’t close our economy because of 40,000 car fatalities and drownings each year. Again, huh? To my knowledge the only people who are hurt in these unfortunate accidents are the victims’ families and not the paramedics or police officers who arrive at crash scenes. Talk about False Equivalency! Talk about Professional Irresponsibility! Talk about Stupidity! And yet another TV medic – Dr. Drew – didn’t even think Covid-19 was really dangerous and he is an educated biologist with a medical degree in internal medicine from USC! In other words an educated medical professional who is supposed to know about deadly bacteria and viruses. It’s times like these when we find out the heroes from the zeros. They sound more like countless TV evangelists peddling snake oil than medical professionals. If our ‘trusted TV docs’ are not supporting their very own weary warring colleagues, many of whom are also fighting for these very shamans and charlatans how can I expect the rest of us will when we are called upon to do so. Oh yeah, pretty cynical of me, right?

And as if that wasn’t bad enough on a very recent CNN appearance Carolyn Goodman – the Mayor of Las Vegas – made her comical case to reopen The Strip so laid-off workers ‘could go back to work and start earning a living again’. I will give anyone top Vegas odds against Mayor Goodman’s real concerns about the workers’ economic well being, many of whom are minorities and live on the edge of economic insanity. Mayor Goodman is much too clever not to realize The Strip without bartenders, bellhops, cooks, dealers, cabbies, hotel housekeepers, waiters, etc. is like Disneyland after closing. And her plea comes at the same time when deaths from Covid-19 in the US just topped 60,000, which represent a whopping 25% of the total deaths worldwide while the WHO states the number will go much higher. This is no different than many-a-military conflicts when the politicians never ask the soldiers in the fox holes or their commanders yet make life-and-death decisions on their behalf. But there is always an exception and I truly hope those low-wage workers follow congresswoman AOC recent call-to-non-action: “Not to go back to work!” Or imagine how our first responders feel when they hear that we need to reopen tattoo parlors and hair salons to get the ‘local economy back on track’ or, as one ‘patriot’ said on TV ‘being quarantined violates his constitutional rights’. To quote Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump: “Stupid is as Stupid Gets”. The only part of the local economy which will see increase in business will be funeral homes that are running out of capacity!

Very sadly, as I was writing this I heard on the news that Dr. Lorna Breen , a top ER doctor fighting on the front lines of Covid-19 committed suicide. All of her colleagues agreed the pandemic is creating an unbearable emotional havoc on everyone. With their patients dying all around them I saw grown men and women sobbing with such pain that shedding tears will just not be enough to wash the deep depression and trauma they are experiencing and will for a long, long time. Contrast that to images of all those idiots flocking to the beaches of Southern California I can’t help but wonder just how much compassion and respect they have for the Lorna Breens of this world? And how many tweeted ‘we-are-all-in-this-together’ before hitting the waves’? Still think I am a cynic?

I can go on ad infinitum but pretty sure I have made my point, undiplomatically I hope.  Will there be a concert featuring celebrities who will come together to raise money for our brave modern day David Crockets? Go ahead, call me a cynic again but I seriously doubt it! And as all of us get back to that superficial quality time I fear we will soon forget who fought for us bravely and selflessly. Shouldn’t we stand by them and try to prevent a Perfect Pandemic Storm? This is about science and NOT about personal or economic liberties as many think. Would hate for them to feel what my father felt. Instead, we need, and I dare say WE MUST provide them with everything they require including the best healthcare on the planet even if it means transporting them to Canada or Cuba for treatments. We can’t afford to lose any more Lorna Breens. I am not a cynic but I do know human nature, which can be very selfish at times. Let’s focus on what is truly important now and #standbythem! Best..–bb