I sit here at my desk isolated, protected, safe, able
without difficulty to speak with my sister and my younger son in Southern
California, to my older son and his family in San Francisco, to communicate
with all of you scattered around the world, as good news, very good news, very bad
news, terrible news, and horrific news comes to me electronically, news about
which I am capable of doing virtually nothing.
I have spent my life having and expressing opinions about
all manner of things philosophical, economic, and political. For a long time a good deal of my attention
was focused on finding an audience for those opinions and when I did so that
seem to be an accomplishment. But in a world awash with opinions, was there
really any need for mine?
As I sit here, preparing to drive my wife to an appointment
with one of her doctors, I await the Senate vote on the infrastructure bill. It
looks increasingly as though the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package will also
be enacted into law before the year is out. These are political triumphs at a
time when the Congress is so narrowly split and I ought to be celebrating the
dramatic impact that the measures in these bills will have on the lives of
hundreds of millions of Americans. So much for the good news and the very good
At the same time, a virus for which, miraculously, effective
vaccines have been developed rages pandemically among the half of the
population that has insanely, stupidly, criminally refused to protect itself.
That is the very bad news.
The terrible news is that America is very close to a fascist
coup that will put an end to such democracy as we enjoy.
The horrific news is of course that the entire world is
going through the early stages of changes in the climate that will completely
upend the current distribution of population, transform the production and
distribution of food, and dominate life in the decades that will follow my
It seems feckless to respond to all of this by offering more
opinions. At least the quartet that played on the deck of the Titanic as it
started to sink was producing beautiful music.
And to make it worse, I find myself as I lie in bed writing
blog posts on subjects I have already quite recently discussed in this space.
Last night I spent a little time sketching a possible post on the Covid
disaster keyed to the 19th century practice followed by private fire
companies of distributing plaques to their subscribers, only to find when I got
up this morning that barely two months ago I had written a much commented on
post on precisely that subject. I mean, to have nothing to offer to the world
but opinions and then to recycle them as well seems a trifle pathetic.
Perhaps this is simply a melancholy induced by the loss of
our cat. I have been very touched by the stories many of you have posted of
your own beloved cats. My thanks to all of you for those stories.