Dear Fred, By the time you read this in the year 2120, it can be hoped that the outcome of the November 3, 2020 election will finally have been settled. As of the time I am writing this, things are getting more than a little bit scary and making me afraid for the future of American democracy. The peaceful transition of power has been the cornerstone of what America is about since its founding. Regardless of what people feel about the outcome of the election, the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 is an affront to all that America stands for.
This is not how we do things in the United States. Attempting rule by force is unAmerican.
For all I know, by the time you are getting around to writing your retrospective on the 100th anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, the America I grew up knowing and loving might be long-gone and in its place something new and strange. The thought of that makes me very sad.
Since it has been a while since I wrote you to spoonfeed you a street-level view about what is going on during the pandemic, I felt it was a good idea to touch base. The past few months have been stressful ones, not just due to the uncertainty about the presidential election, but due to the stress that the pandemic is putting on everyday interactions.
As part of my job, I cover local governments and schools. This often involves attending many hours of meetings and keeping track of issues to help inform voters and taxpayers about what their elected officials are up to and how tax dollars are being spent. Local government has not stopped during the pandemic, but it has changed. The most dramatic shift has been to having all county meetings being done virtually.
I am not a fan of holding meetings virtually and much prefer in-person communications. Things like body language and emotion don’t come through as well over a phone line or through a computer screen. It is especially challenging with lag between those attending in person and those on the computer system. At times it can get very confusing to follow.
Perhaps the biggest impact has been socially. As you might have picked up through references in other columns, I am a curler. I make no claim to be very good at the sport, but at least I am slightly better at it than I am at bowling.
Back in college, I fancied myself a pretty decent pool player, but after getting the table run on me by a shark I learned my lesson that it is perfectly OK to be mediocre as long as you enjoy what you are doing.
The Medford Curling Club is one of the relatively few in the state that opened this season. Many facilities chose not to open at all, a move that I believe will have negative impacts on the sport for years to come. I am pretty sure that without the release of having something to look forward to doing, I would be climbing the walls and going even more stir crazy than I already am.
Like most places Taylor County saw the expected spike in cases following Halloween and continuing through to mid-December. Numbers of new cases in the county have dropped recently, but health officials are worried about the impact of people visiting over the holidays particularly with News Years Eve leading into a three-day weekend.
Normally we would have gathered with some friends to ring in the New Year. Rather than going out this year, my wife and I stayed and played board games with our children, pausing to turn on the TV and watch the ball drop in New York City.
As with anything, there are those who are being cautious and there are those who are treating it as no big deal and who are continuing to go out and do things. This group includes a combination of people. There are the young people who feel that sense of immortality of youth which ends about the same time it starts taking a full week to recover from a night out. Also in this group are the fatalists who believe that what happens will happen and that there is no use trying to hide from it. The remainder is a combination of people who don’t believe it is real at all or who have had mild cases and think it is being blown out of proportion.
As the pandemic continues to linger, I anticipate the number of people in the last two groups increasing. For me, I think I will wait until after I get a chance to get immunized to let down my guard.
Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.