Nurses and Doctors are the New Combat Veterans
In my doctor’s eyes today during our video visit I saw the same exhausted, mortally haunted look I used to only associate with veterans of Iraq.
And I live in western Oregon, a hard-Blue state run by Democrats.
You know, the ones who are supposedly handling Covid-19 like sane people.
Yet here, just like Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas, our ICUs are well under 10% availability — a fact CNN chose to ignore in the linked-to piece, I suppose, because that punctures the false narrative of Red State malfeasance and Blue state competence they’ve been peddling since Biden took office.
Here in Oregon, just like those hard Red states, hospitals are overwhelmed, nurses are exhausted, and doctors are having to turn critically ill people away because there are no beds.
In 2020, Oregon was one of the first states to issue a stay-at-home order — not a lockdown, America never did true lockdowns at all —but only after its neighbors California and Washington moved first.
And now? If you have a medical emergency, you might not be able to get care because all beds are full of covid patients. California and Washington aren’t locked down, Joe Biden isn’t calling for local stay at home orders even where case numbers are surging, so Oregon isn’t either.
Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, America’s nurses and doctors have been on the front lines of a struggle that has taken the lives of more Americans than terrorists and Nazis combined.
As has been so common in America’s military history, these brave fighters have been criminally betrayed by their leaders and a substantial portion of the society they serve.
And not just by the mad Red State governors who are scoring points with voters by pretending it is everyone’s personal right to breathe lethal virus particles on others.
But also by Blue State governors like Oregon’s who have failed to re-impose any capacity restrictions or business closures despite telling Oregonians pretty much every day back in 2020 that this was necessary to prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed.
Well guess what, folks? We’re there.
And state government isn’t doing a damned thing but mask mandates that probably won’t be enforced in rural counties because so many local sheriffs are political hacks who are mad Oregon isn’t run just like Florida.
Oregonians are being left at the mercy of people who are the functional equivalent of biological terrorists. Because our government is so inept and absent, we have to fend for ourselves.
Most of us, if we’re vaccinated and don’t work in retail, can avoid the madness. Just like most of us were able to avoid any connection with the failed 20-year War on Terror waged in our names.
Veterans and their families never had that luxury. 7,000 military personnel died and thousands more contractors died, up to 100,000 were critically injured, and tens of thousands more have committed suicide.
They and their families will never be the same.
And now America is pulling the same vicious trick all over again with its doctors and nurses. Thousands of them have died, tens of thousands more will be traumatized for the rest of their lives.
How can you not be, when your government and a third of society have abandoned you?
Even Blue state governments like Oregon’s have manifestly failed to fight Covid-19. They’ve basically used the insanity of Red State governors to pass off their own inept governance as effective.
Comparing Oregon to British Columbia in Canada is illustrative. Though BC has about 25% more people, it has half the Covid cases and fatalities Oregon does.
Canada is objectively a better country than the United States by this metric. Oregon and Washington would be better off being annexed as a new Canadian province than they are as American states.
And the irony is Canada’s Covid response hasn’t been all that great. Denmark, Norway, Finland, New Zealand, and Australia are free democratic nations that have done much, much better.
But back to Oregon.
State officials clearly have no conception of what their despicable failure to act really means for medical staff and their families — to say nothing of the immunocompromised victims who can’t get vaccinated at all and rely on the rest of us doing so to stop Covid-19 from getting to them.
Nobody in a position of responsibility talks about these people, note. The legions of unvaccinated are never differentiated, all assumed to be the same rejectionist fool, a convenient scapegoat for the government’s failure to effect basic public health protocols.
American society likes to hail its heroes — then promptly forget them. Especially when they fought in what turned out to be a losing battle.
The whole point of having civil rights is to be able to exercise them without fear. If someone claims a civil right — like not wearing a mask or getting a life-saving vaccine — that puts someone else’s rights in jeopardy, their claim fails.
Just because you think it’s your civil right to fire off rockets doesn’t mean you can. The danger posed to others makes it the kind of thing the police will come have a serious chat with you about and make you stop if necessary.
Spewing out virus particles is the exact same thing. Those who refuse to take protective measures are obligated to remain in their homes until the danger passes.
Vaccine passports, mandates for entering all places of business — these are, sadly, a necessity in the pandemic age. You can’t walk around with a primed suicide vest, and you can’t be allowed to harbor a virus that can jump to and kill others when there’s a simple viable alternative.
Oregon is a Blue state at the national level, but in reality this apparent Blue-ness serves as a cloak for a deep-seated culture of responsibility avoidance.
Once a place that banned Black people from settling here — until they were needed to build the ships that won the Second World War — Oregon remains the whitest state in Pacific America.
It is also an incredibly nepotistic place. There is a spirit in Oregon government, a kind of passive helplessness, produced by the fact that nobody with a position of responsibility actually wants to get anything done.
We’re just simple old Oregon, you can almost hear them say when you point out a potential improvement and receive a shrug in reply. Nothing really ever changes — almost every technology update the state tries goes horribly wrong from medicare and medicaid to the unemployment office.
In Oregon, there exists a deep-seated belief that the old landholding families whose ancestors took the Willamette Valley from the indigenous peoples of the Northwest are the only real Oregonians.
Tied to a number of industrial interests — forestry, big agribusiness, Nike shoes, national labor unions and a few tech companies — old white Oregonians also fill most of the political offices across from the state.
In 2022 Governor Kate Brown is term-limited, so there are already some local rumblings about who will run to replace her. One of the likely entrants to the race, A New York Times journalist named Nicholas Kristoff, exemplifies the old white Oregonian dream of a centrist who grew up on a farm and has some kind of deep attachment to the state that gives him the right to speak for all Oregonians.
Never might that virtually all of Oregon’s population growth over the past decade is a result of migration from California. Or that Oregon’s public school system is consistently ranked so terribly.
Nah, the people who deserve to run Oregon must be from families who’ve been here for generations, who went to one of Oregon’s mediocre “flagship” universities like Oregon State or University of Oregon and bleeds orange or green.
The smaller and generally better regional universities, Southern, Western, and Eastern? All but ignored by the giant taxpayer subsidized football teams with campuses attached.
This quiet, ingrained, hapless corruption is amplified by the lack of a real, full-time state legislature. Oregon’s government, if you didn’t know, is only in session a few months out of the year — six at most.
Right now, as Covid-19 is set to take 1,500 more Oregonian lives by the end of 2021, Oregon’s government is absent.
It isn’t around, so it can’t authorize any spending programs to help businesses affected by capacity limits. The governor basically runs the state — and she, during a heatwave that killed over a hundred people in the state, was in an air-conditioned winery plotting our her political future.
A classic Oregon politician, Kate Brown is more concerned about what job she can finagle out of the Biden Administration than the lives of Oregonians. Her predecessor (who had actually been governor before) was corrupt and his, while reasonably competent, achieved little.
Oregon is just about the worst Blue state because it lacks any kind of coherent forward-thinking leadership.
Big business and the labor unions — which work more closely than either would like you to realize — have a lock on election funding. Oregon’s elected officials are almost always partisan hacks.
And they’ve completely, totally abandoned Oregon’s medical staff in this moment of crisis.
To the brave fighters standing up to the pandemic while their government leaves them in the lurch like an Afghan commando in Kandahar — thank you.
Thank you… and I’m sorry.
I’m so, so sorry.
If you’re angry, you should be. You have every right.
You’ve been hung out to dry. Those responsible must be made to pay.