America, America

I can't speak for anyone else, of course, but I can barely sleep at night worrying about the Corona virus that has already infected nearly 70 (out of 300+ millions) Americans, and the incredible death rate world wide of somewhere between 1 to 3% of cases. As one of the elderly, I am supposed to be at several times higher the level of risk, if I come down with this flu-like disease. Trump-loving skeptics point to the tens of thousands of annual fatal cases of influenza, but what do they know? They're not scientists like Nancy Pelosi and Anderson Cooper.

Flu may kill a thousand times more than this new plague does, but flu is only flu.  It's a question of branding.  I only buy brands I trust, like Apple, Nike, Sony, Smithfield Pork, Tommy Hilfiger, Bojangles' Chicken, The Democratic Party.  If you can't trust your favorite brands, who can you trust?   G-d?  Please, folks, this is the 21st Century.

There are, however, things we can do. I have given up drinking all Mexican beers--not just Corona brand--and refuse to smoke cigars, because some come in the ominous shape and size known as "corona." I hope Trump does impose the travel ban on Italy, though I was planning to fly to Rome in April, once my wife has recovered from surgery, but one has to do one's patriotic bit. In fact, I am throwing away the ragu alla Bolognese I made and arranging a public bonfire with my entire library of Italian books.

There are limits, though, to patriotism. Trump's attack on the citizens of China, depriving them of the right to visit and move to America, with or without benefit of frivolous legal documents, is completely unjustified. In fact it is pure bigotry. I say it is time for another impeachment. This virus may kill all of us--or at least one hundredth of one per cent of us, but it is far better to die clinging to our principles than to keep a single America-loving alien from entering the country.

Please don't take this as a joke.  It's not.   I never got over the Strontium 90 scare and haven't drunk any milk or eaten cheese since I was thirteen years old. My house is infected with every kind of insect, since I have been instructed about the dangers of pesticides, and I am getting anemic on my vegan diet. What scares me even more are stories I am hearing about soy products. OMG!! I can't live without soy.  Then some wise guy on Facebook tells me that cutting carbon emissions might lead to carbon deprivation.  What am I supposed to do?  Burn my house down?


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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

14 Responses

  1. James D. says:

    I thought the Corona virus was what one got from an all-inclusive vacation at an Acupulco resort when your BAL got above .20.

  2. Ken Rosenberger says:

    If the urban legends one hears about that particular beer are true, the coronavirus may not be the worst outcome you could expect from drinking it.

  3. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    It’s not the beer, it’s the lime. In truth the beer stinks. I like Bohemia and Negro Modello and other Mexican beer. Corona literally stinks.

  4. Ken Rosenberger says:

    The clear bottle doesn’t help. When I lived in Southern California, it seemed to be a big hit with surfers, if that tells you anything. I liked any other Mexican beer to go with my enchilada plate.

  5. Allen Wilson says:

    My father was a big beer drinker, but he never mentioned Corona without anything less than an total contempt. When I got old enough to drink, I bought some Corona just to find out why. I learned the hard way. Six bottles of Corona is a hard lesson for a new beer drinker.

  6. Allen Wilson says:

    I’ve been suspecting that the virus was all bark and no bite. It makes me wonder what the media is ignoring.

  7. James Kabala says:

    I guess my thought right now is that neither a panicky take nor a dismissive take has much point to it. What is going to happen is what is going to happen regardless of opinion columns.

  8. Dot says:

    Maybe the old Corona typewriter is coming back and going viral!

  9. Konstantin Solodov says:

    There are positive news.
    – What did say Greta yesterday?
    – Who is it?

  10. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    I wish someone would tell me why a few dozen cases of a disease that has killed one American are worth paying attention to. It’s worse than SARS, someone screamed at me. Oh dear, worse than the 8 US cases that resulted in zero deaths. So far the US cases of Corona virus are mostly people who traveled to China or have interacted with such people and an apparently poorly run nursing home.

    Here’s a dirty little secret. People die, even in America. Nearly three million per year in the US, according to the CDC, of which about 600,000 are due to cancer, 170,000 to accidents, 56,000 to influenza and pneumonia, 51,000 to diseases of the kidney–many of which caused by abuse of food, alcohol, and drugs. Want to save lives without finding a cure for cancer? Ban automobiles and junk food. Getting het up over the latest craze from the People’s Republic is a mark of infantilism.

  11. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    I should add that what little I know of kidney diseases come from a close relative who suffered, through no fault of her own, and from a nephrologist who occasionally gets overwrought talking about the gross fat patients who insist on eating themselves to death.

    Diabetes kills about 84,000 annually, and when our young daughter was finally diagnosed and put in the emergency room and then the hospital, she had a diabetic roommate, a teenage girl having a recurrent episode. The girl demanded her boyfriend bring her a Big Mac, fries, and a non-diet coke. “I don’t like the taste of that diet stuff.”

    The real problem with the Corona panic is not the ignorance and fearfulness of Americans–though we are an ignorant and cowardly people–but our addiction to news. This past year, several TV weathermen complained that they were being bullied into over-reporting storm dangers in order to boost ratings. The media in this country are making their investors rich by screaming fire in every crowded room. They are not only venal, corrupt, and lying, they are deeply evil in enticing weak and stupid people into neglecting their own lives while paying attention to Oprah, the Kardashians, Megan and Harry, and the women who claimed Harvey raped them but continued to send him messages of adoration.

  12. James Kabala says:

    But I think it is fair to say that most people have not yet begun to let this affect their daily lives in any way Panic seems confined to the theoretical stage at the present time. May it always stay there!

  13. Vince Cornell says:

    To be fair, some of those women also slept with Harvey after he allegedly raped them. The Corona virus hype is surreal – having just finished re-reading 1984 I can say that there are parts of Orwell’s vision that are so accurate it’s almost absurd. If the media began reporting tomorrow that Corona virus wasn’t from China, after all, but was a Russian biological attack, and that there never was a virus in China and it was all part of a Russian conspiracy, there are many who would kick Chicken Little out of the way in order to run screaming and hyperventilating into the “We need to go to war with Russia NOW!” mob. It’s like living in the middle of a startled herd of antelope – was that a lion over there? Run this way! Wait, a lion over there? Now run that a way!

  14. Robert Reavis says:

    It’s hard to predict how it will end. Could be another plague,flood,asteroid or some other “natural”cause but as far as the political scene, I remember what an old respected professor told a young college republican enthusiasts when Jimmy Carter lost to Reagan, “ Ah gee, that’s too bad. I was hoping for sooner rather than later.