I just read that the American political writer, Richard Reeves, died on Wednesday. He was 83 and I hate to admit it but, when I first heard he had died, my initial assumption was that he had died due to COVID-19. According to the New York Times, the cause of death was cardiac arrest and Reeves was also in the process of recovering from a battle with cancer at the time of his death. (So, in other words, my initial assumption was incorrect.)
Reeves was a predictably liberal columnist and, during the twilight of his career, he made the same mistake that a lot of veteran political writers did by refusing to hold Barack Obama to the same standard to which he held previous presidents. However, Reeves’s political books from the 70s are among the best ever written. A Ford, Not A Lincoln and Old Faces of 1976 provide an acidic look at American politics in the years immediately after Watergate.
Convention, which Reeves wrote about the 1976 Democratic convention, is one of my favorite political books of all time. By following several different people, including Ohio’s Lt. Gov. Richard Celeste and 17 year-old delegate Clare Smith, over the course of the convention, Reeves paints a portrait of democracy at both its worse and its best. While Celeste plots his future presidential campaign and Clare tries to track down Hunter S. Thompson, candidates like Jimmy Carter, Mo Udall, and Jerry Brown shape the future of the nation.
With Reeves’s passing, I may just have to find my copy of Convention and give it another read.
…would be bringing them back too early.
Trump undoubtedly wants to announce an end to all of the lockdowns as soon possible (even thought it’s not really within his power to decide when a city, a county, or a state reopens). Hopefully, he’ll listen to the doctors when they say not to.
I think the scariest thing about Coronavirus is how unpredictable it is. Some people get exposed without getting sick. Some people get exposed and become sick immediately while others can walk around for weeks without feeling the least bit ill while spreading the virus to others. For some people, it’s a death sentence and, for others, it’s just a shitty couple of weeks. We can’t easily predict what the virus is going to do and that’s a scary thing.
It also means that we don’t know when our lockdowns are going to end. We don’t know what type of world we will be entering after the virus has run its course. Worst of all, we don’t know who is still going to be in that world. When you see the statistics and the projections, it’s easy to imagine that, whenever this does end, every survivor will have lost someone to the virus. I’m not ashamed that I find that to be a scary thought.
It’s got me thinking about the way I talk to people. It’s got me thinking about all the times that I’ve wanted to say something but I haven’t because I always figured there would be a better time in the future. This pandemic is making me think about not just the way that we make assumptions about other people but also the way that we speak to each other. At times like this, we should be aware that anything we say to another human being could potentially be the last thing that we ever say to that person. It’s a terrible thought but that’s the world that we’re living in right now.
I wish my thoughts were happier right now but they’re not. I’m happy to be isolated with people who I love but I’m also missing my family up north and across the ocean. I can’t wait to see everyone again, in person. Take care of yourselves.
As of 11:59 tonight, Dallas County is under a “shelter-in-place” order. It sounds more ominous than it is. You can still go for a walk. You can still go to the grocery store. You can still do “essential” things but otherwise, we’ve all been asked to stay inside for the next two weeks.
Don’t worry. I’m healthy. Lisa’s healthy. We’re all doing okay. And don’t worry about me getting bored. I’ve got some light reading to keep me occupied for the next couple of days:
Everyone stay safe out there. As soon as this is all over, I’m going to head up to West Virginia, Baltimore, and Rochester and hopefully get to see everyone. It’s scary now but we’ll make it.
To be honest, I do kind of wish Trump would stop calling the coronavirus the “Chinese Virus” because that does make it sound like we’re blaming the Chinese people instead of the Chinese government.
I’d call it the Communist Virus. Or maybe the ChiCom Virus, if you really want to make clear which set of communist overlords we’re blaming.
But, as angry as we have every right to be at the Chinese government, we should always make it clear that we stand with the Chinese people.
Most of today’s primaries were delayed and move back because of the Coronavirus. Votes were cast in Florida, Arizona, and Illinois and Joe Biden wiped Bernie Sanders out. By all normal logic, Bernie should suspend his campaign and acknowledge the obvious. Continuing to contest the nomination is not only futile but it will also potentially cause voters to put their health at risk just to cast their vote in a meaningless primary.
Biden is a pompous moron and I’m not looking forward to him being president for four years. Still, Sanders has never met a dictator that he disliked and, even with the country on lockdown because of the coronavirus, he refused to criticize forcefully criticize China in the last debate. I’m happy to see Bernie not only lose but also lose decisively.
Just because you’re stuck inside, that doesn’t mean that you can’t listen to House of Pain: