Friday, June 26, 2020

Diary

With the help of the coronavirus, I'm having an unusually dull summer. So far, Vermont, which has an elderly population compared to most states, has done relatively well in containing the pandemic. Addison County has done exceptionally well. There was a surge in new cases in Chittenden County after Memorial Day, but that subsided fairly quickly. Besides making it necessary to curtail public activities, such as going to restaurants, the pandemic causes a variety of psychological stresses that accumulate month after month. The thing that bothers me the most is having to watch the slow-moving train wreck of the Trump administration and the Republican Party on a daily basis. When Trump is gone, I'll probably stop following the news so closely. While it was apparent as early as 2016 that the Trump administration would fail, few Americans realized or acknowledged that he was elected purely on the basis of propaganda, and that any perceived successes of the administration were essentially either nonexistent or, at best, dumb luck. What irritates me the most is how long it is taking for the public to realize that they have been duped. They misattributed the success of the economy to Trump for three years, and now it is taking months for them to realize that he has completely mishandled the pandemic, causing the preventable loss of thousands of lives and damaging the economy. If there is any justice in this, it is that many of the Trump-supporting states are increasing in COVID-19 cases because they followed Trump's anti-science lead and failed to take the necessary precautions. Moreover, they will have on their consciences the fact that they enabled the most incompetent and corrupt president in American history.

Another aspect of the current political situation that disturbs me is the extent to which so many political opportunists have tied themselves to Trump and continue to resist the notion that he isn't just a little bad as president, but a complete disaster for both the country and the world. Not only is he a menace to public health and economic stability, but he and his appointees are attempting to shred the Constitution and eliminate the balance of power in the federal government. As a rational person, it irks me to look on as millions of people continue to support a politician who, by every measure, does nothing but damage to the country. This situation is a perfect example of why faith in democracy is a misguided idea – thus my skepticism regarding Thomas Piketty, progressive politicians, etc.

On a more positive note, all of my astronomical equipment is currently up and running, and we have had a few clear nights. However, with the objects that I like to see, it has to be extremely clear and rarely is. I like galaxies and was able to see Markarian's Chain, a line of galaxies only visible in large telescopes. I could see them, but they were blurry. Perhaps I prefer galaxies because they're about as far from Earth as you can get. I find it comforting to know that humans are at best a footnote to a footnote in the scale of the universe.

The weather has been hot and dry recently, and, with heavy watering, the tomatoes are off to a good start. I've ordered a new book that sounds promising and will begin reading it soon. I wasn't that thrilled by Charles Darwin or Thomas Piketty and could use something a little different at the moment.

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