Vote or Die

It has been a while since I’ve posted, but I have a few things to say about our current crisis, namely, the coronavirus pandemic.

As some of you may know, I’m a molecular biologist by training. I’m published in virology, although not in the specific class of viruses that we’re talking about here. I also played a role in the CDC’s response to Zika virus, and I’ve done a ton of work in HIV. Just a note up front that I do not have special expertise or involvement in coronavirus in particular, although I am pretty well equipped to understand the situation.

I don’t usually talk politics on this blog. In fact, looking back I don’t think I’ve ever addressed a political topic. I’m going to break that rule now.

I think the lesson we should all take from this current crisis is that voting can actually be a matter of life or death.

If a Democrat were in office – say Hillary, for example, you could be 100% assured that she would be surrounded by competent people. I suspect the virus would have been slowed substantially as compared with our current situation. In fact, if our relationship with China hadn’t been ruined by Trump, it is entirely likely that we would have had CDC personnel on the ground in China helping to contain the virus in China. We certainly would still have a pandemic response team—you know, the one that Trump fired to save a few million.

We likely wouldn’t be looking at a 30% market drop and an impending severe recession…and we definitely wouldn’t have expended all of our financial tools that we need to recover from it.

We definitely wouldn’t have a religious zealot who does not believe in science—namely Pence—leading our response to the pandemic.

Do you know why you don’t hear about Zika virus any more? Because it was swiftly handled by a team of competent professionals. There was no panic. It was addressed and then it was largely over. That’s not what’s happening here.

Whatever state you are in and whether your vote matters in your state or not, just go out and vote for the fucking Democrat. Even if you’re pissed about Bernie. Even if you hate Biden. He may or may not be senile but the people around him will be highly competent. That goes for every other office up for grabs in this next election as well. No more Matt Gaetzes, no more Mitch McConnells, no more Louie Gohmerts. Get rid of them all.

It’s about time to say enough is enough. The sheer managerial incompetence and denial of facts among Republican politicians has reached epic proportions, and we’re all suffering for it. I say that as someone whose politics are as middle of the road as possible. Republicans are absolutely toxic to our country—and in this case their long legacy of incompetence is literally killing people.

12 thoughts on “Vote or Die

  1. Bill Schmitt

    Thanks for the essay! Here in Oklahoma, I used to tell my union railroad brothers that using the term socialist to demean the European (esp. France) health care system was ignorant. Been lucky enough to have spent some great time in Europe, and I would tell them it’s not socialist, just management of the delivery. It’s either good or not, no matter how it’s managed. And you’re 100% correct, that this is an incredibly corrupt and incompetent administration.

    1. John Ferguson Post author

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified the first case of the virus on April 14, 2009. The Obama administration declared swine flu a public health emergency on April 26. The Food and Drug Administration approved a rapid test for the virus two days later. At the time, the C.D.C. had reported 64 cases and zero deaths. The C.D.C. began shipping test kits to public health laboratories on May 1.

  2. robertkerner

    You’ve been gone all this time and this is how you return!
    Bravo, I suppose.
    I’d personally stop short of lumping all R-s together, but I agree that having science-deniers in charge of things falls within the definition of stupidity. As a party, their main focus seems to be (a) self preservation and (b) controlling women’s genitals…and not necessarily looking after public health and welfare. I think this would’ve caught any administration off-guard, but it has taken the current one a long time to get its sh*t together.
    Please return to your regular programming sharing great ride info!

    1. John Ferguson Post author

      I’m sorry, but no this wouldn’t have taken any administration off guard like it did the Trump administration. Our response to potentially serious infectious disease risk prior to the Trump administration was to have boots on the ground in the hot zone. That’s why we had our own people in Africa to help manage Ebola. It wasn’t just altruism…it was to contain and manage it at the source, BEFORE it got to the US. And it was an effective approach. Trump and his cronies just buried their heads in the sand and hoped for the best…and up until this point they have managed to magically get themselves out of their self-imposed disasters before real harm was done. Not this time.

  3. michael kreitman

    Well put John

    On Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 5:33 PM Riding the Catskills wrote:

    > John Ferguson posted: “It has been a while since I’ve posted, but I have a > few things to say about our current crisis, namely, the coronavirus > pandemic. As some of you may know, I’m a molecular biologist by training. > I’m published in virology, although not in the specific clas” >

  4. Mike

    I like to say this isn’t about being on the left or right but about competent vs incompetent leadership. I have no doubt that a Richard Nixon, George H or even a George W would have handled this better. There was no planning before or even in the beginning. Every press conference starts with the team saying how great Trump’s leadership is. Many actions have been delayed because ideology is at odds with solving the problem. Case in point was declaring a national emergency and allowing medicaid to pay for coronavirus testing. The whole reaction has been shambolic. Elections matter. Can’t be more clear.


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