Musician recovered from COVID-19 warns of caution during holiday season

The Guardian

The Republican Party started a dark Christmas, in fact. We deserve better

This year, hundreds of thousands of Americans died from Covid and millions fell into poverty. Thanks to Republican insensitivity, Santa Claus will not be satisfied. Not to mention Jesus. This guy is going to be pissed. When they find out what happened here, the United States will have a very dark Christmas. I am not one of the unfortunates so poisoned by the distorted inhalation of holiday capitalism that they were cynical about the whole enterprise. My family takes Christmas very seriously. From a young age I learned that this time of year was not about shopping orgies or disdain for distant relatives, but about putting our latent innate generosity into practice. The spirit of Christmas is love. Our bitter cynicism should be properly oriented not towards the Christmas spirit itself, but towards those who corrupt it. Three hundred thousand Americans died from Covid this year. Well over 200,000 of them died needlessly. If our government had managed this public health crisis in a mature and rational way, deaths would be a fraction of what they are. Our government chose not to do this. Our stupid and malicious leader chose to make wearing masks a defining political issue – not out of necessity, or for any financial gain, or out of adherence to any philosophy, but out of aggressive stupidity, laziness and self-rationalization. Usually, the Republican party hangs with ordinary people because someone can get rich from it. In this case, it was only because they formed a line of cowardly puppets behind a terrible leader with a loud voice. In every community in America, people are killed because their elected officials were afraid of being tweeted by a former reality show host. Merry Christmas, America. Tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs this year through no fault. Tens of thousands of small businesses, each representing the dreams and ambitions of one human being and the employment of many others, have failed this year through no fault of their own. The money that our government allocated to transport all these people and businesses during this natural disaster ended months ago and nothing else happened, even as we watched our friends and neighbors sink into bankruptcy, food insecurity and despair. Many other nations have paid workers to stay at home, easing financial pressures on employers and employees. Republicans in Congress refused to do so because the stock market remained high and also because they don’t care. Our incompetent and insensitive Republican leaders have ordered stoppages without providing an adequate safety net, thereby causing a predictable public reaction against the stoppages, which Republicans are happy to encourage because it directs public anger away from them and towards public health professionals. The White House idiocy combined with the Republican Senate, which worships wealth, to produce the worst of both worlds: an avoidable public health disaster and an economic catastrophe from which the very wealthy were isolated. Your loved ones may die, your business may collapse, your work may evaporate, your unemployment benefits may dry up, your stimulus checks may disappear, and in return, your elected leaders will offer you mocking jokes about masks and lies about who won the elections. The rest, they will largely ignore. Merry Christmas, America. Donald Trump is a tasteless and pathetic man controlled in every case by his own worst impulses, but he is not the biggest villain of 2020. Without all the Republican Party superstructure behind him – voting for him, campaigning for him, degrading him stand before him, praising his stupid ideas and supporting him politically – he would not be in a position to cause hundreds of thousands of deaths. There is a long, direct line from Richard Nixon’s southern racist strategy, to Reagan’s deregulation and union breakdown and to Trump’s deadly narcissism. When a political party is willing to tell any lies and demonize anyone to protect the right of the rich to have everything, it will eventually discover that it has become the home of eccentrics and fascists. The Republican Party has spent decades harboring an evil ignorance in the service of greed, and has now been devoured by it. What afflicts us now is not just a virus, but a national philosophy lovingly cared for by many generations of conquerors who value avarice and call it individualism. We are all in this pandemic together. The disease passes from person to person without regard for identity. The economic decline affects all cities and states at the same time. Overwhelming crises like these can be catalysts for the unit. Shared pain is also an opportunity for shared love. Such widespread suffering can open everyone’s eyes to the common destiny of humanity and our responsibility to support each other in good and bad times. But that is not what the United States is gaining from this crisis. We are receiving suffering without sharing and pain without the promise of mutual support. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, a man who told people to love their neighbors and give their wealth to the poor; he is personified by Santa Claus, a man who rewards generosity with more generosity and vows to bring gifts to everyone’s home, no matter who they are. And yet the people who talk the most about Christmas – those who display the biggest tree, carrying the most ostentatious Bible – are the ones who chose to allow hundreds of thousands of us to die, instead of doing what needs to be done for Christmas. public health and have chosen to allow millions of us to sink into poverty, rather than doing what needs to be done for public welfare. They chose this because they believe that this is the path that will maximize their own power. This is their gift to you, and they don’t really care if you like it. Yes, Virginia, there is a “Christmas War”. But it is the Republicans who are holding back. And the Christmas spirit, I’m sorry to say, is losing. * Hamilton Nolan is a labor reporter for In These Times