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    • Interview Part 2: Politics Thru Climate Change
      This second excerpt from my interview is more interesting and longer. This is the second clip from my interview with Ian Welsh (Ian blogs at ianwelsh.net). For this segment, we went on a wild ride discussing the big picture mess that is US politics and society more broadly. I asked Ian what might happen if […]
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Some legislators are really clueless.

One of our brightest Republican state legislators here in PA doesn’t think it’s the government’s responsibility to keep us safe.

Somebody should remind him of 9/11, the Patriot Act, the ridiculous level of screening we go through at airports, taking off your shoes, unpacking all your electronics, the tiny bottles for your hair conditioner…

What about the Food and Drug Administration so we don’t get contaminated food or medicines? What about the EPA and the Clean Water Act and the fact that you can’t dump just anything into a river? Oh, that’s right, the GOP thinks those agencies regulate too much.

🙄

Oh, but this is *different*. In this case, all those infection control safety measures mean the economy is tanking. So we didn’t do them or we did a half assed job and let ammosexuals and Karens run around exercising their Freedom!!

The Republicans wouldn’t look so transparently stupid if they had held Trump’s feet to the fire back in February. There is a time and place for free market “let’s privatize everything!” debates. This is not that time.

This catastrophe is on them.

When this is all over, we need to have a talk about public education.

I had a conversation the other day with someone who I thought was a pretty smart person about Covid-19. There was all kinds of wrong with this conversation. There are a couple of things I figured out. One is that when someone reassures you over and over again that she gets her news from a variety of sources, those sources are Fox and other right wing media. I’ve noticed that only right wingers do that. If you’ve been really getting your news from as many sources as you say you do, you shouldn’t have such a messed up understanding of infection control.

One of Florence’s wine doors built in the 14th century to serve wine during the plague.

No, no, don’t you Trumpers out there try to deny it. You know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. The conflation of Covid with Flu while throwing a dash of Ebola in there and fretting about “why is the MEDIA trying to SCARE everybody?!?” shows a hodge podge of confusing messaging that Fox is notorious for. I don’t even want to get into it because it was messed up, except you *should* be scared of Covid. Not hysterical, peeing your pants, we’re all going to die scared but scared enough to know that people who would rather strut around with guns strapped to their backs getting up in your grill about their “Freedom!” instead of wearing a mask are dangerous in a multitude of ways unrelated to their ammosexual lifestyle.

By the way, I’ve also noticed that people take this virus a lot more seriously after someone they know has had it. When even someone in their 20’s is sick for a month or more, you get a lot more religious about social distancing and mask wearing. Eating at a restaurant just doesn’t seem that urgent anymore.

Trump and Fox couldn’t have gotten away with this level of misinformation and confusion if our population was more conversant in science. I know there are a lot of lefties out there who are well intentioned so they console themselves that they don’t need to really understand science as long as they’re on the right side. But this can lean dangerously into the magical thinking camp as well as we can see with antivaxxers.

This is bad.

We ALL need to understand biology and the immune system. Does everyone need to know it as well as Dr. Fauci? No. But enough to explain to a maskhole exactly why they should cover their freaking face and how different viruses spread? Yes.

We should all understand why testing and contact tracing in the early days of the pandemic was critical and why NOT doing it is resulting in millions of human incubators hosting coronavirus busily mutating its gene content and putting us all at risk for a new more lethal or contagious version of itself.

Back in the day when we had 3 TV channels and a fuzzy PBS station, we used to watch documentaries during prime time where a lot of nerdly stuff was explained in living color. That’s why so many people my age wanted to become marine biologists and astronomers. It sounds trivial but we all learned a lot from those beautifully rendered masterpieces on billions and billions of stars.

You can catch that stuff on Nova and Frontline but you need to go out of your way to find them and then wade through the Byzantine layers of PBS websites to actually watch them. It shouldn’t be that hard.

Now, I know that a lot of students are going to tune out mandatory biology in 10th grade. But you know what you almost can’t graduate without getting a passing grade in?

Health class.

Yup. Along with teaching you the reproductive system, we should let Mrs. Taylor, the gym teacher school us in infection control and why it is important. Don’t they have to go over STD transmission? Yeah you should have to learn about contact tracing and social distancing and WHY IT WORKS before you get your diploma. There should be a test with randomly generated questions that you must pass before you graduate.

There’s simply no excuse for this country to be this ignorant. Imagine if you’re a neat and cosmopolitan European seeing an American visiting one of your museums. To them, we are dirty. Like physically dirty, with billions and billions of invisible pathogens on us.

Dirty and stupid. Where is our national pride? Or does Trump think that’s only relevant to his own class – not yours?