Coronavirus & Politics … (Ugh)
By RALPH HARDIN
Evening Times Editor Y ou know what would be awesome? If this column had nothing to do with the coronavirus or politics.
Spoiler alert: Both will be mentioned.
The news never stops, and therefore, the newspaper never stops either. As I finished my editorial for yesterday’s online edition, I was already thinking about what today’s editorial would be about. That’s just the way you have to do it, because you’re never really “finished” with the process of churning out news content.
So, what to write about? I don’t even want to think about how much time and space have been devoted to COVID-19 and the 2020 election (and subsequent fallout), but I guess I’m going to devote some more.
Another day, another milestone, as Arkansas recorded its 4,000th coronavirus-related death earlier this week. I looked back and, just so you know, Arkansas recorded its 3,000th coronavirus-related death on Dec. 16, 2020, so it took 26 days (that’s less than a month) for the state to add a thousand additional deaths to the COVID-19 death toll. I decided to go back a little further. When was Arkansas’s 2,000th coronavirus-related death? Turns out it was Nov. 4, 2020, so a little more than a month. Just pushing those numbers out a little further, somewhere around the first week in February, we can all expect to see the state has suffered its 5,000th coronavirus-related death. Let’s hope it takes at least that long.
We are way past the part where I am going to once again plead for everyone to take this virus seriously and to take all the recommended precautions for helping prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you’re not on board at this point … if you’re still one of those people that says it’s no big deal or that the government is trying to control you or you simply don’t care if someone who isn’t you gets sick or dies, then you are a special type of person born with an almost supernatural ability to overestimate your importance to this world, and there’s nothing more I can say.
So, on to the political arena … If you’re one of our print-only subscribers, then the last time you had a copy of the Times in your hands, you might have been reading it only to look up at your TV and see a mob of American citizens attacking their own Capitol Building. I’ve seen it called an “attempted coup,” an “insurrection,” a “siege” and a few other catchy names, but what it really was is a temper tantrum. I’d make more fun of these folks, but six people are dead because of their violence, and there’s nothing funny about that. The one guy, with his feet up on Nancy Pelosi’s desk? Turns out he’s from Arkansas, so way to represent the 3.3 million people of our state with your asinine behavior. Yes, he’s been arrested. So have a few dozen others. We’ll see how that goes.
I watched it all unfold live on television. All I could think of was how it looked like something out of a movie. “White House Down” or “Olympus Has Fallen” only way stupider. These people stormed their way into the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate Chamber and then … what? I would love to see the plan. Actually, I would have loved to have seen what would have happened if Congress had simply stayed in session. What was this mob going to do? Were they going to kidnap Pelosi? Hang Mike Pence? Burn down the Capitol? That’s what happened the last time the Capitol was overrun. It was burned to the ground … by the British … in 1812. All these fools did was steal some furniture and laptops. That’s not a revolution. That’s looting.
Now there are calls for Senator So-And-So or Congressman Whatshisname to resign or to be prosecuted for their role in our national embarrassment. I don’t see that going anywhere. There also maybe going to try to get Trump out a little early using the 25th Amendment. Also not likely, but at least he’s off of Twitter. In the meantime, it looks like the Democrats are going to take one more shot at impeaching Trump. You might ask yourself why bother? Well, it would do two things … one, if he actually were to be impeached and convicted, it would have to be with support of at least some Republicans, Republicans who might very eager to distance themselves from Trump’s failed presidency. And two, it would prevent Trump from being able to seek the presidency in 2024, either as a Republican, as the leader of this new Patriot Party I’ve been hearing about or in any other capacity. I still say impeachment’s a longshot.
Either way it goes, at least we won’t have to hear about it on Twitter.