Coronavirus: America's March of Madness

One of my favorite rituals takes place on Sunday mornings in my tranquil little suburb of Menlo Park here in California.  We have a lovely once-a-week outdoor farmers' market abounding with stalls filled with fresh vegetables, fruit, and greens galore, plus specialty items: nuts and nut butters; dates; chicken, duck, and quail eggs; fresh flowers; flash-frozen grass-fed beef; fresh breads; and quiches, cakes, and cookies from an outstanding artisan baker — not to mention the bounty from our fisherman, who takes his boat out from Half Moon Bay at the end of the week and brings us fresh salmon, sole, halibut, and crab in season.

There's always live music at one end of the row of vendors' stalls, whether jazz or folk or ethnic.  And as there's a large church nearby, many people come to the market after services dressed in their Sunday best, adding to the colorful and festive atmosphere of our beloved farmers' market.

Until today.

This morning, the whole parking lot area where the market takes place was roped off.  You could enter only on one end, and you had to stand in line, six feet apart from the person in front of you, and wait for permission to enter the now practically dead farmers' market.  Once admitted, you had to stand in line again at each of the stalls where you wanted to make a purchase.  God forbid if you touched a head of lettuce and put it back!

Otherwise ordinary people were wearing N-95 surgical masks — the kind that doctors in hospitals need but can't get due to panicked healthy individuals who stockpiled them — and sterile gloves.  Across the street at Trader Joe's, there was a long line of similarly masked and gloved folks waiting in line — six feet apart — to buy their groceries.

By the way, officials of the city of Menlo Park, an affluent suburb of some 30,000 people, ordered police enforcement of this insanity to "protect" us!  In the entire county of San Mateo, in which our city resides, there has been to date only one death from this virus.  One!  In the entire county! 

Every year, tens of thousands of Americans die of "flu-related" illnesses — mostly those in their '80s and '90s whose immune systems can no longer fight off pathogens.  People age and eventually weaken.  This is reality.  We have never shut down our entire productive economy or hijacked people's freedom over it.  Avian flu, SARS, and Ebola had death rates of 20% to 40% — much worse than COVID-19 (AKA the Wuhan virus or the Chinese Coronavirus) with its mere 1% or even less, but they never got the remarkable publicity this microscopic critter has managed to snare.  You can't turn on a TV or fire up your computer or gaze into your iPhone without seeing that prickly red ball that is out to get you.

Why didn't we see blown-up artist-rendered images of these other flu viruses?  Or is that a question we shouldn't be asking?

Here are a few more questions that perhaps we shouldn't be asking.

Should Californians passively stand by and follow the draconian, business-killing, joy-killing, life-killing lockdown measures that Governor Newsom and our local officials suddenly feel emboldened to thrust upon us?  Should citizens across the nation meekly accede to the bizarre, out-of-proportion measures being mandated by out-of-control state officials, who seem to be unaware of burgeoning unintended consequences, or else may actually want to feed the fires of destruction?  Isn't it time to call out our city councils, county supervisors, all the way up to our governors?

Remember these prescient words from Founding Father Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."  Whether or not they "deserve" neither, they will surely get neither.  Giving up liberty is a surefire road to tyranny.

Recall the world-changing lines penned by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.  Then ask yourself what has happened overnight to our God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that are the birthright of every American citizen.  Consider that the usurpations being visited upon us today are far worse than those our Founders faced from the policies of King George III.  And those "usurpations" prompted the American Revolution. 

Have we become so cowardly that we readily cede our liberty out of fear of a virus from which 99% of people recover?  Where is Patrick Henry when we need him?

Yes, we want to protect our frail elderly from this virus, as from any flu.  But what about the rest of us?  Have we turned into a nation of paranoid hypochondriacs?  This virus isn't a death sentence!  But that's more than can be said for our "non-essential" small businesses: our restaurants, dry cleaners, hair salons, bookstores, movie theaters, camera stores, nail salons, tailors, repair shops, and hundreds more — the backbone of our local economies and the providers of the goods and services we need and want in our towns.  These are beloved and essential parts of our communities that are dying before our eyes.

At this moment, there is an unprecedented threat to our liberty and our way of life in America, but it's not from the Chinese virus.  The danger we face is a return of the debilitating and demoralizing Great Depression, and the rough beast of socialist oppression and totalitarianism advancing upon our nation.

Wake up, America!

One of my favorite rituals takes place on Sunday mornings in my tranquil little suburb of Menlo Park here in California.  We have a lovely once-a-week outdoor farmers' market abounding with stalls filled with fresh vegetables, fruit, and greens galore, plus specialty items: nuts and nut butters; dates; chicken, duck, and quail eggs; fresh flowers; flash-frozen grass-fed beef; fresh breads; and quiches, cakes, and cookies from an outstanding artisan baker — not to mention the bounty from our fisherman, who takes his boat out from Half Moon Bay at the end of the week and brings us fresh salmon, sole, halibut, and crab in season.

There's always live music at one end of the row of vendors' stalls, whether jazz or folk or ethnic.  And as there's a large church nearby, many people come to the market after services dressed in their Sunday best, adding to the colorful and festive atmosphere of our beloved farmers' market.

Until today.

This morning, the whole parking lot area where the market takes place was roped off.  You could enter only on one end, and you had to stand in line, six feet apart from the person in front of you, and wait for permission to enter the now practically dead farmers' market.  Once admitted, you had to stand in line again at each of the stalls where you wanted to make a purchase.  God forbid if you touched a head of lettuce and put it back!

Otherwise ordinary people were wearing N-95 surgical masks — the kind that doctors in hospitals need but can't get due to panicked healthy individuals who stockpiled them — and sterile gloves.  Across the street at Trader Joe's, there was a long line of similarly masked and gloved folks waiting in line — six feet apart — to buy their groceries.

By the way, officials of the city of Menlo Park, an affluent suburb of some 30,000 people, ordered police enforcement of this insanity to "protect" us!  In the entire county of San Mateo, in which our city resides, there has been to date only one death from this virus.  One!  In the entire county! 

Every year, tens of thousands of Americans die of "flu-related" illnesses — mostly those in their '80s and '90s whose immune systems can no longer fight off pathogens.  People age and eventually weaken.  This is reality.  We have never shut down our entire productive economy or hijacked people's freedom over it.  Avian flu, SARS, and Ebola had death rates of 20% to 40% — much worse than COVID-19 (AKA the Wuhan virus or the Chinese Coronavirus) with its mere 1% or even less, but they never got the remarkable publicity this microscopic critter has managed to snare.  You can't turn on a TV or fire up your computer or gaze into your iPhone without seeing that prickly red ball that is out to get you.

Why didn't we see blown-up artist-rendered images of these other flu viruses?  Or is that a question we shouldn't be asking?

Here are a few more questions that perhaps we shouldn't be asking.

Should Californians passively stand by and follow the draconian, business-killing, joy-killing, life-killing lockdown measures that Governor Newsom and our local officials suddenly feel emboldened to thrust upon us?  Should citizens across the nation meekly accede to the bizarre, out-of-proportion measures being mandated by out-of-control state officials, who seem to be unaware of burgeoning unintended consequences, or else may actually want to feed the fires of destruction?  Isn't it time to call out our city councils, county supervisors, all the way up to our governors?

Remember these prescient words from Founding Father Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."  Whether or not they "deserve" neither, they will surely get neither.  Giving up liberty is a surefire road to tyranny.

Recall the world-changing lines penned by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.  Then ask yourself what has happened overnight to our God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that are the birthright of every American citizen.  Consider that the usurpations being visited upon us today are far worse than those our Founders faced from the policies of King George III.  And those "usurpations" prompted the American Revolution. 

Have we become so cowardly that we readily cede our liberty out of fear of a virus from which 99% of people recover?  Where is Patrick Henry when we need him?

Yes, we want to protect our frail elderly from this virus, as from any flu.  But what about the rest of us?  Have we turned into a nation of paranoid hypochondriacs?  This virus isn't a death sentence!  But that's more than can be said for our "non-essential" small businesses: our restaurants, dry cleaners, hair salons, bookstores, movie theaters, camera stores, nail salons, tailors, repair shops, and hundreds more — the backbone of our local economies and the providers of the goods and services we need and want in our towns.  These are beloved and essential parts of our communities that are dying before our eyes.

At this moment, there is an unprecedented threat to our liberty and our way of life in America, but it's not from the Chinese virus.  The danger we face is a return of the debilitating and demoralizing Great Depression, and the rough beast of socialist oppression and totalitarianism advancing upon our nation.

Wake up, America!