Change Is Afoot | Private Eye | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » Private Eye

Change Is Afoot

I didn't realize until recently how upside down the year 2020 actually is.



I didn't realize until recently how upside down the year 2020 actually is. We've all been jarred, and we've all adjusted. Most of us anyway. By now it's clear that the quagga mussel cluster who suckle off the good behaviors of the majority of Utahns continues doing all it can to deny the dangers and impacts of COVID-19. I don't think there's any reaching them, the anti-maskers, at this point. When the quagga mussel hits a body of Utah water, there's little to do but pick them off and segregate them and prevent them from spreading. Lake Powell—damn it!—remains at risk of quagga mussel spread, but thanks to education and concerted efforts to eradicate them, other waters have been spared.

That's what has to be done with the anti-maskers. We only need to cut out a nice piece of Utah County and all of Washington County just for them and let them be. Isolate them for time and eternity as sweet revenge for their unmasking in large groups and parties just to ultimately prove the exact opposite of their original intent. They set out to espouse either their personal freedoms or that COVID is a non-starter disease and not worth the economy dying over it. Then, as if by science, they start getting sick and finally see Jesus. I personally wish that by this time they would be good sports about it and simply see Jesus at home, but no, they fill our hospitals instead.

For some reason, they've actually been normalized in some circles, not red-lettered as the scourge they are. That's the way it is in Utah where vandals of all stripes have been immortalized from the start of Utah history. I don't get it, and I never will. But it's not lost on me that certain of the vocal anti-mask crowd do cloak themselves in a fair amount of self-importance. I'd guess a quagga mussel feels the same way when he first attaches to a watercraft and is ported all over a clear and nonpolluted lake as if by magic.

The anti-maskers have been wrong on all things COVID-19 since Day 1. They've said—because they are experts on epidemiology as well as salvation—that we should have isolated the sick and let the healthy go about their lives. We should engage in herd immunity, they say—not knowing how it works, ultimately, that unconscionable numbers of people must die for the remainder of the herd to be mostly virus free. They don't really understand or minimize things like snot, sneezes, blowing winds and dirty hands that engender community spread. The one thing that will change their mind will be the same as what changes everyone else's mind: When it hits them in the pocketbook. The double bonus point is when they have to bury a loved one, and they are hit in the heart as well as the pocketbook.

There's no reason to cite such examples here. They're all over the internet. Just search for the words "Preacher Hoax Dead COVID" and you'll nab a few hundred. Take your pick. Utah is now cresting at the highest levels of COVID-19 cases and deaths and doing so at the most inappropriate time, that of the last days of 2020, the exclamation point of which is what we all hope to experience—a happy and healthy holiday season of Kwanzaa, Hannukah, Christmas and others I simply don't know of—followed by a prosperous and healthy 2021.

Which is why in these last days of December that I now realize exactly how affected I am personally by COVID-19 and that it has indeed been the year of the upside down. It's not the business that's being crushed or the lonely quarters of spending most every day of every week working from home that's convinced me. It's not the all-too-frequent reminders of just how close COVID-19 has come to my friends and family—now counting at least 30 persons I know who have contracted it, including several family members. It's not even that Utah government—with the noble exceptions of certain local mayors—is basically sitting this crisis out. No, it's more serious than that: COVID-19 has driven me to checking in with great frequency to the Drudge Report.

That's a place I left behind sometime in the late 1990s when Drudge was immersed in the Clinton takedown that knighted him to the status a conservative right icon. He pissed me off every day, and I went adios. He soon became the very most important conservative right icon of all. That I'm checking in on him again can only mean that I have changed politically—or he has. I'm prone to believe that we both changed, and I'm prone to hope that his own shift from Trump's puppet to Trump's pain in the ass is not the end of it.

Today's Drudge front page has Trump decked out in prison orange garb. Drudge was an anonymous 7-Eleven clerk when he launched his news aggregating site. I think he's lived among the people Trump policies violate and belittle every day. What it means is that as we approach the end of 2020, there is hope. Matt Drudge has given the biggest hall pass of all to every cowardly Republican politician and pundit to take the correct step and choose country first. He's the best cover any of them could hope for, barring a Fox News broadcast naked threesome of Hannity, Ingraham and Carlson baring their inner sins to a nation that wants more unity than it is willing to admit.

For me, that's a decent way to edge into 2021. Change is afoot.

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