January 27, 2021
New Orleans The inauguration was hardly a week ago, and the honeymoon is already over. Ok, you’re right. There was absolutely no honeymoon ever! Who is surprised? Probably no one. Maybe Ol’ Joe, but I even doubt that.
I was talking to a friend in San Francisco yesterday while waiting to sign papers at the bank for an hour for the second time in as many weeks. They called me in, and then couldn’t find the right forms via the online portal. I mentioned that the tellers were now having the everyday experience of the customers, but that’s not the point I want to make here. My buddy was telling me about the mass confusion in California over who, when, and how to get a vaccine. There’s a healthcare worker and age cutoff, but somehow if you are in different insurance groups, you can be called out of order. Huh? I cracked wise, saying, damn, we’re living in a failed state.” What the US State Department used to call Somalia and South Sudan is now America itself. And, that was before I listened to a radio report about vaccine shortages in Florida, where they allowed 50,000 people from other states and foreign countries to get the vaccines before they asked for any Florida ID. Heck, you can’t vote there without an ID, but you can get the shot that no one else can get it!
Every state has a different plan along with their cities and counties, while the federal government stumble-bums about over the last year. Even now with a new sheriff in town, it will take months to fix, and even when production is up and distribution arrives, it will still be every state brewing its own chaos. This mess reminds me of what? Hmmm. Yes, voting! Where every state and many local jurisdictions make up the rules as they go along, often to thwart their citizens and democracy.
Is there accountability? No, pretty much just partisanship and impunity. All but five Republicans voted to not have the impeachment trial on Trump at all, saying it was “unconstitutional.” Because seventeen Republicans have always been necessary to convict, it has always seemed something of a show trial anyway, sort of a long running shaming and censure circus. What becomes obvious though is that given partisanship, impeachment is more of a black mark on a president’s legacy, than a situation where you are really likely to experience some punishment and called to account. Same for the suits over Trump’s self-dealing while president and violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution. His lawyers drug it all out, so the Supreme Court dismissed the suit as moot, because he’s out of office.
Governments and their leaders that neither have to ask for permission nor say they are sorry, but simply operate willy-nilly according to their own lights and whims of the moment without fear for the consequences, makes a mockery of the rule of law and checks and balances. When there are no sticks and stones, they can all let the words roll off of them.
Vaccines, millions sick and unemployed, mortality rates soaring, state, and local government, Congress and Trump…put them all together, and it pretty much defines a failed state. We’ve lost our moral authority and can-do record. Calling out other countries as lagging seems little more than the pot calling the kettle black now.