And it’s still a pandemic diary. I got so tired of writing about it that I took a couple months off. And just when you think it’s over, it comes back in new clothes. The Delta variant is proving a slippery monster. The CDC is now urging we get a “booster” shot to reduce the chances of another surge. Other experts say we shouldn’t do that because it could create vaccine-resistant variants.
And so many people in the world haven’t even gotten one shot yet, so can we justify giving ourselves a third? I guess if it really will help knock this damn thing out, then if we have the vaccines available here, which we do, we should use them. The U.S. is now donating millions of vaccines to countries in need, so there’s that.
There are still Americans who refuse to be vaccinated, mostly in the hard-right Trumpist areas. Those places are now facing hospitals at capacity and people dying like they did in the early days of the pandemic. It’s impossible for me to look upon the “anti-vaxxers” (and “anti-maskers”, because they’re both) with compassion—I tried to imagine sitting in a circle and praying with them, but I couldn’t even picture doing it. They are sentencing others, if not themselves, to death because they believe wearing a mask and getting vaccinated is somehow an abrogation of their rights. And their personal “freedom” is more important than other people’s lives. I can’t pray for them. God will have to take care of that for me.
Canada finally opened their border with the U.S. this month, so we made immediate plans to go to Montreal for the (postponed) jazz festival in September. As of today, we can still go. Hopefully that won’t change in the next 3 weeks.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in yesterday as our new president and vice-president. They did a great job with a pandemic-limited ceremony, using videos from all across the country and territories as a virtual parade. Then there was an evening celebration with a few singers and speakers live at the Lincoln Memorial, and others on video, along with segments dedicated to ordinary heroes. And the most incredible fireworks display I’ve ever seen! It took place behind the Washington Monument so it was mirrored in the reflecting pool that stretches from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. It was programmed to Katy Perry singing “Firework”. It was way better than the usual round of inaugural balls! And I bet the Bidens and Emhoff-Harrises were a lot happier, too. Dragging around to all those balls must be absolutely exhausting, at the end of an already exhausting day.
It’s more than a relief to have Trump out of office. I feel like I can be proud to be an American again, instead of sick with shame. I’m hopeful for the changes Biden & Harris will be able to make now that the Democrats have a slight majority in the Senate, putting Mitch McConnell out of the power seat there. Plus, Harris is the deciding vote in the event of a tie, so we should be able to get some things passed. Like more COVID relief money for small businesses and individuals to help both them and the economy. And at least a move towards a better health care system and more equitable distribution of wealth. And, thank God, an improvement in foreign relations.
On a sad note, the COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. is now over 400,000. And infection rates are climbing rapidly again due to a new coronavirus variant that’s more contagious than the first one. It doesn’t seem to be more deadly, as far as they can tell at this point, but it does mean a higher infection rate and more strain on the healthcare system that’s already well beyond overloaded.
Yesterday was a ray of light in the darkness, though. It was just what I needed right now.
(I’ve always thought of Katy Perry as a lightweight pop star, which she was before. But this performance knocked it out of the park. I’ll have to start giving her more credit now.)
The GSA finally authorized Joe Biden to begin the transition process, even though Trump is still making futile and treasonous attempts to overturn the election. Biden had already begun the transition, but now he has federal funds, office space, and access to intelligence briefings. Finally.
Election day tomorrow. I’m not anticipating any particular outcome because who the hell knows? Anything is possible, even though it’s appalling that anyone could still support Trump. The fact that so many do is more disturbing than Trump himself. Where has my country gone? I love America, as a democracy that strives for inclusion and creativity. What happened to that America?
And the virus rages on, setting new daily records for infection. The US just hit #1 in the world in terms of infection rate.
Spirit-lifting: I just got to virtually meet a friend’s new puppy. A beautiful baby Golden Retriever. Proof of the power of new life.