I am angrier than I have ever been right now. I’m not talking about a fleeting rage… I’m talking about a deep, residing anger — One that feels like is just WITH me. All the time. Yesterday, I watched a video of a woman at a Montana supermarket intentionally cough on people who were telling her to put a mask on, and I was SHOCKED — Not because it happened or because people that awful exist… By now, that’s not at all surprising. What shocked me was the realization that I found myself thinking, “WHY IS NOBODY PUNCHING THAT OLD LADY IN THE FACE?” Genuinely. I mean, she probably someone’s grandma… And there I was rooting for her to get dropped by a straight right hand. Here’s the video:
Like, who is that person? Not the lady coughing on a stranger in the middle of a pandemic… The one rooting for her to get punched in the face. I don’t recognize him. I’ve never found it harder to love my enemies than I do right now. Every day, it feels like more and more people around me are given over to conspiracy theory and irrational thought, and never in my life have I been quicker to call someone a “moron.” And I don’t see that going anywhere any time soon, so this isn’t going to be the sort of post where I call you to some better path. I’m frustrated, and I’m angry, and that just is what it is.
You’ve probably seen a lot of people on social media posting about Human Trafficking and HydroxyChloroquine. And there is a reason for that: The reason is this republican administration’s colossal and historic failure with regards to the mishandling of this pandemic. There is an election in less than 100 days, and they don’t want people thinking about a cratering economy, historic unemployment, and 158k dead Americans. So they rally the troops for a truly disgusting campaign of Distraction and Distrust.
You’ve probably noticed that a whole lot of your conservative friends are suddenly VERY concerned with Human Trafficking. And I suppose that would be a good thing, if only it weren’t a totally dishonest distraction. Many of the people suddenly beating the drum of the horrors of human trafficking ALSO “happen” to be the same folks who are anti-mask and pro-reopen in-person schooling. And it’s framed as “Oh, you’re concerned about the kids’ health?!? Well why aren’t you concerned about the 800,000 American kids who are sold into sex slavery each year!?!?” (A few things about that 800k number, by the way: That’s the total number of kids reported missing — anything from runaways, to can’t find my kid at Target, to custody disputes — and “more than 99% of those kids come home.” The actual number of kids who are abducted in the U.S. each year is about 115… Which is horrible and a real problem, but it’s NOT the “You’re worried about kids wearing masks in school while 2200 kids go missing EVERY DAY” narrative that they’re selling).
What is frustrating is how they paint this as if people can’t be concerned about two things at once. We can. It’s like if someone was focusing their energy on feeding kids in their school system, and people got mad about that because “kids in Somalia are way hungrier.” It’s like, “Okay? Great. You work on that thing. I’ll work on this thing.” This dishonest distraction is also a not-so-subtile nod to QAnon cultists and conspiracy theorists… Which, if you don’t know about QAnon, I don’t have the space or energy to go into it in depth right now, but it is born of the same dark 4chan/8chan corners of the internet that “Pizzagate” (a thoroughly debunked theory which is rising again) was born from. HERE is a good summary of the lunacy that is QAnon. It basically takes a quasi-religious fervency to the idea that EVERYONE is in on the conspiracy, and Clinton and Obama and “the Deep State” are running some giant child sex slavery ring. And CNN is in on it…
Speaking of Obama, that is one of the main reasons you can tell this precipitous concern with Human trafficking is totally disingenuous: If one quarter of America was out of work, the economy was in shambles, and 150k people were dead because of Barack Obama’s stupidity and incompetence, do you think that any of these people would be yelling, “WHAT ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING” right now? Not a chance in hell. Some folks have been working on ending human trafficking before it was politically convenient to focus on this issue. My friend David has been working with good groups like The Exodus Road and Safe House Project to help those affected by human trafficking. So if you’re actually interested in helping out (beyond an abortion-esque, “whatabout” distraction), there are many organizations in which you can invest your time & money… Instead of fearfully equating masks with child abductions like this utter nonsense:
There are basically two main arbiters of truth in the modern world: Science and Journalism. Both are committed to finding out what is true. Journalism is basically just science with words. It’s an attempt to find FACTS, and it’s the most powerful tool we have against government corruption and overreach… Which is why trump has spent so much time attacking it. All of his “fake news” and “they’re all against me” and “enemy of the people” talk is straight out of the Fascist Handbook he keeps next to his bed. If you’re attempting to consolidate power and get away with things, it makes sense to focus on making people distrust one of the only checks to power we have (the other is VOTING — which he is ALSO attacking and attempting to sow distrust of… Make sure you are registered to vote).
Science is another way we find out what is true. It’s not as “in your face” as journalism, but it is there, working behind the scenes. And when science finds out something true, the hope is that journalism conveys those findings to the public. So when scientists tell us that man-made climate change is real, and we HAVE to do something about it right away, hopefully journalism gets the word out. Unfortunately, there are many who are profiting from polluting the environment who don’t want that message to get to the people who vote for leaders… So they attack the credibility of journalism and inject distrust.
But with this pandemic, we now have people who are actually paying attention to the numbers and statistics the scientific communities are putting out. And those numbers do NOT look good for the trump administration. We have 26.46% of the world’s coronavirus cases with only 4.25% of the worlds population… And even though trump would have you believe this is due to testing, we ALSO have a similar percentage of the world’s COVID-19 deaths. People are not dying because they are getting tested. And this is where the nonsense with HydroxyChloroquine comes in…
HydroxyChloroquine is a medicine used to treat malaria and lupus. When coronavirus was first spreading, doctors had no clue how to treat it. They were trying many different things, and one of them was HydroxyChloroquine. There were early rumors of its effectiveness in treating COVID, and those rumors made it to the president’s ears. Now, intelligent people understand that before you tell the public a cure for the plague has been found, you do actual RESEARCH… But the president is NOT an intelligent person. It turns out that every randomized trial of HydroxyChloroquine found that it was not only ineffective, but it actually did more harm than good.
Usually, that would be where it ended. Unfortunately, this administration has always tried to handle this virus with messaging… But you don’t “spin” your way out of a pandemic. You handle pandemics with clear policies and competent leadership. The numbers don’t lie, but when the numbers don’t paint fascists in a favorable light, they attack the credibility of the people providing the numbers. And this is what they have done and CONTINUE to do with HydroxyChloroquine: They act like there is really a cure, but the scientists don’t want to let people have it, because they want to make trump look bad. So they highlight and retweet a handful of discredited doctors and quacks who give anecdotal evidence of success. But science is not done with anecdote… It’s done with research, and with randomized, double blind trials.
Consider that for a moment: This corrupt administration casts doubt on the integrity of the entire scientific and medical communities… That they HAVE a cure, but they don’t want to give it to people. And rumors spread about doctors falsely categorizing COVID deaths to get more money. And that gives the true believers a reason to doubt the numbers that can’t be interpreted any other way than total failure. If you trust the scientific community to tell the truth about the ineffectiveness of HydroxyChloroquine, then you ALSO need to trust their numbers showing this administration’s EPIC FAILURE with this virus. It’s no wonder so many of these morons (there I go again) don’t trust vaccinations. It’s the same reason republicans push back so hard against the CLEAR scientific benefit of wearing masks. They don’t like masks, because masks are a constant, visual reminder of trump’s failure and lies… But beyond that, casting doubt on their effectiveness in preventing the spread of this virus casts doubt on the expertise of the scientific community. And when there are no experts (or trusted arbiters of truth), authoritarian regimes can tell the people whatever they want.
The ONLY reason trump started saying that people should wear masks is because someone convinced him that they are essential to getting the economy going again. You can bet that if it was just a matter of people dying, he would have stubbornly refused. Anyway, there you have it. When you see anti-mask, anti-science trumpers posting dishonest “whataboutisms” concerning Human Trafficking, and posting conspiracy theories about HydroxyChloroquine and masks, see it for what it is: Distraction and Distrust.
Now, if someone can seriously find that coughing lady and punch her in the face…
Thank you again for reading. If you’re feeling angry, and you want to do something kind to snap yourself out of it, maybe make a donation to one of those organizations working to help victims of human trafficking. Or, if you want to BECOME A PATRON of this blog, that would also be nice. You can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL, or Venmo your generosity to “chris-boeskool” as well. Please follow me on FACEBOOK and on TWITTER for more fun. Take care of each other…