It’s not our fault, but it feels that way
You know the feeling. Standing in the supermarket, thinking “just pull the mask over your fucking nose.” Talking to your parents, wondering why you’re the parent. Scrolling Instagram, feeling not FOMO but NO! NO!
They call it pandemic fatigue, but it feels like something else. Feels like pandemic rage.
Pandemic rage is real, it’s just misdirected. On one hand people are idiots, but on the other hand people have always been idiots. This is literally why we have governments. They had one job and they fucked it up. Governance failures have left us depending on great-aunt Sudarshini’s masking skills and horny teenagers’ restraint for everyone’s health. Of course we’re fucked. And we can’t blame them.
As mad as we get at people, personal responsibility is wholly inadequate for fighting a pandemic. It’s like directing traffic based on good feelings. Everyone says just wear a mask but it just doesn’t work. No country beat COVID by just masking. The most important thing is testing, testing, testing — as Dr. Tedros told us early — coupled with robust tracing and away-from-home quarantine, as in Vietnam. Are you a PCR machine, do you have police powers? This is literally beyond our ken. You should not be stopping COVID two millimeters from your face. Your government should have stopped it from getting anywhere near.
Across the world we have witnessed catastrophic failures of governance, which we only experience through the dumbasses in front of us. But it’s not their fault. If your pandemic plan depends on horny teenagers not seeing each other, then it’s not a very good plan. This is like blaming another driver when all the traffic lights are out and someone posted a textbook instead of a stop sign. This is a governmental responsibility. By the time it hits your randy cousins it’s already too late.
We can see where governments succeed — Vietnam, China, Taiwan, New Zealand — and they didn’t do it they’re better people. They were simply governed better. Their governments took quick, decisive action and now they’re back to licking each other’s faces, protected by robust national testing, tracing, and quarantine. Can you do any of these things on your own? Can your parents? Why are we blaming each other?
It’s only where governments have failed that we’re expected to shoulder this burden, and we cannot. We’re only as strong as our weakest link, and have you met your family? What we have is a situation where all the traffic lights have gone out and we’re blaming each other for crashing into each other. But what the fuck are we supposed to do? Who fucked up the lights?
But we don’t experience events that way. We just see the assholes to the left and right, with their ponderous, offensive noses. We see the dumb shit on our family WhatsApp group. And we get mad. At them. We put the whole weight of this terrible situation on those irresponsible people, misunderstanding where true responsibility lies, and when.
Every government should have puckered their assholes when they saw Wuhan get shut down from space. January 23rd. Bear in mind that the Moderna vaccine was developed by January 13th last year. It’s not that we didn’t know. I mean, you didn’t know, but your government could have known. Mongolia did. Taiwan did, almost all of China’s immediate neighbors. It wasn’t impossible.
I blame western governments here. These supposed leaders of the free world spread only confusion, denial, and stupidity. They told everyone not to trust China, and then took no meaningful action themselves. The EU, UK, and US completely shat the bed, and are still rolling in it. Most of the world was actually infected through them.
Today, these rich countries are hoarding and wasting vaccine while blocking patent-free production at the WTO. They’ve spread the most infection across the world and they take zero responsibility. Countries like Canada that pose as leaders are in truth just corrupt and protecting profits over people.
Beneath this international failure, every national government failed to some degree. People debated the economy vs. health until they had neither. They reopened under pressure only to close-up again under duress. We’ve ended up in wave after wave of lockdown and release, like being waterboarded for a year. At this point we’ve done everything we were told to do, and it wasn’t enough. Now they want us to do more? People are understandably like fuck it.
I’m not condoning rioters in Holland, COVID-deniers, or anti-maskers. These people are assholes. All I’m saying is that our communities are full of assholes. The roads are full of assholes. That’s why we have traffic lights, to keep our asses in line. At the international level, at the national level, we have witnessed a failure of roads, not drivers. And there’s zero accountability. I’ve scolded random people for kindly touching my children, but the governments that made this impossible are still here.
In China they just fired everyone in Wuhan for messing it up. In New York however, Governor Andrew Cuomo fucked up the first wave, wrote a book about how great he was, then fucked up the second wave as well. And he’s still in charge. No one except maybe Trump has been held accountable, so we’re getting the same results. In the UK the government has willfully killed people at every turn, telling them to eat out and refusing to properly close down over Christmas. Now they’re having the worst death rate in the world. But not the worst approval rating.
And for this we should blame ourselves. We can’t often choose what our government does, but we can choose our governments. Yet unelected communist governments are doing much better. Within many democracies, however, we’re just blaming each other, and not replacing the governments that got us into this mess.
We direct all this incandescent rage at an uncovered nose, or our careless friends. Governments, however, are tacitly assumed to be doing the best they can. But they’re fucking not, are they? We should be furious at them. We’re never going to change our friends and family, but we can change governments. So save your pandemic rage for them. They’re the ones that fucked this up.