Sunday, May 17, 2020

Bill Crawford: When Worlds Collide, Reality Can Change

As our worlds collide over the coronavirus, the surreal 1962 novel of that name by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer comes to mind. The novel “When Worlds Collide” portrayed the surreal phenomenon of another world crashing into earth. Old earth did not survive, but a new earth did.

What will be the outcome of our collision?

No microcosm captures our dilemma better than the collision of President Donald Trump’s world and that of his top health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. Trump’s political world has abandoned caution, with the President and allies calling for America to fully re-open NOW! Fauci’s science oriented world continues to urge caution with Fauci and other experts saying wait on further research, preparation, and testing before easing into re-opening.

We see resonances of this play out here in Mississippi as some totally ignore the cautious behavior recommended by Gov. Tate Reeves and his health advisors while others, particularly the elderly and those with impaired immune systems, hunker down fearfully at home convinced the deadly killer will strike when they emerge.

As our worlds fully collide as much re-opens in the coming days, what will be the outcome?

The potential for a catastrophic collision concerned conservative Republican Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana. Instead of a collision, he suggested, we need a merger. We should avoid either/or, he said, and choose to straddle both, with caution weighted slightly higher than re-opening.

Meanwhile, the pending collision engenders the surreal, as did the 1962 novel. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines surreal as “marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream.”

Dealing with both sides of this spectrum must seem surreal to politicians. On the one hand they are called upon to provide resources to fight the virus and aid those impacted by it. On the second hand they are called upon to quickly return things to normal by eliminating or drastically reducing restrictions. On the third hand, they cannot accomplish either fully. They do not have access to sufficient resources to meet demands nor will things return to normal quickly whatever they do.

How surreal is it to see conservative Republicans in Washington throwing trillions, yes trillions, of dollars of deficit spending at the pandemic? These are the same conservatives who lambasted President George W. Bush and then President Barrack Obama for spending fewer trillions on TARP and other Great Recession bail-outs. The U.S. Treasury said it will borrow $3 trillion to fund already approved coronavirus related rescue packages. Trump, worried about his re-election, says he’s willing to spend trillions more to get the economy back on track.

How surreal is it to pull into a drive-thru virus testing center? As you pull up, sci-fi looking personnel outfitted in hazmat suits stick a long swab through your window and up your nose to get a specimen to test.

How surreal is it to have shortages of toilet paper? To wear masks into banks? To have no live sports on TV? And so on.

How long will the surreal be with us? Some say it will forever reshape our reality, much like the outcome of When Worlds Collide.

“For everything there is a season … a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing” – Ecclesiastes 3:1,5.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.


Anonymous said...

Book was ok, but the film is a true Grade B SF type. Goofy but fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

I don't know which is the most out of touch blowhard. Bill Crawford or Sid Salter.

Anonymous said...

The pity is that it is entirely possible, with a co-ordinated from experts in medicine and business and from government, for our schools and businesses and even sports, to create reasonably safe environments.

They would be different but still viable.

Sadly, this pandemic was immediately politicized. One only has to find translations from Putin and look at the actions of China and Russia to see that they contributed.

Here it's become " Are you with Trump or those eggheads from CDC and WHO", overlooking entirely that CV 19 has no political or philosophical knowledge. CV 19 only wants to feed and grow stronger.

A hallmark of maturity is the ability to postpone short term gratification for long term goals.

That we are a " young" Nation with the inability to weigh immediate gratification against the impact on the future ( even our future survival) is glaring.

As Lincoln quoted from The Bible ( and history has proven) " A house divided against itself cannot stand".

Those who are young can be forgiven for believing they are invincible and protected by those who have always protected them. The learning disabled can be forgiven...they rely on others to lead them.

But, those of you who believe that only you and those who believe as you have all the answers and are always right, those of you who expect Divine Intervention and ignore that all religions expect you to use your gifts, and those who want the house the fall believing that what you make of the rubble if you survive will be better despite the fact that history makes clear that is rarely true, cannot be forgiven.

This isn't about fear vs courage. This is about sensible or not. Polling suggests the majority of Americans are sensible about CV 19. Sadly, those who are not can kill themselves and take us with them.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if I'd claim America as a "Young" nation. the United States is not a true democracy where simple majority rules, we are a republic with a strong lean towards democracy. From a historical perspective the average lifespan of a democracy is about 200 years. A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money (generous gifts) from the public treasury. We may be approaching the end of Democracy as we know it in this country.

Anonymous said...

We aren’t going to lose our freedom, we’re going to give it away!

Anonymous said...

There is no collision. The medical "experts" have naively allowed themselves to be co-opted into lending their reputations to legitimize whatever course Trump decides to take. They are guaranteed funding for the rest of their lives. If they decide to oppose Trump's ravings they will simply be ejected and Trump will hire new "experts" This is not speculation, it's happened before! There will be no collision. MAGA

Anonymous said...

Just so you'll know:

Mississippi has the 17th lowest population density. ( ought to be serving us well)

Even so, we are 17th highest in tests per capita ( which is really shocking considering how many States have a city with more people than our entire population).

We have 13th highest death rate per capita and 18th highest number of confirmed cases per capita.

Now, of all those tested, all of them wanted to be tested either because they were exposed or symptomatic or a VIP or get near a VIP. All but the last two require a doctor signing off on the necessity.

We have to hope their tests were the kind that are the most accurate and none were from Abbott.

We have to hope, if they didn't need hospitalization that they and their families all quarantined ( the family members longer to make sure none of them got sick days later than required a " do over" . We have to hope they wore a mask and sanitized to protect us if they did go out before getting sick. We have to hope that none of them are among the group who show up as still positive and contagious after 14 days.

We have to hope that those contagious without symptoms will wear a mask or sanitize.

Anonymous said...

9:58 am We've only been formally in existence for 231 years. That's what I meant by young.

I do agree that democracies have a long track record and also that we are seeing all the symptoms of why they do not.

That's right said...

When %51 of the population can impose its will on the other %49 there will be no peace.

Anonymous said...

If politicians and media hadn't told us we had a pandemic, we wouldn't know it.

End this entire thing now, we will be a decade getting back to where we were a few months ago and that is if Democrats don't get back where they were with Hillary leading the way.

Where people get there money dictates their position on opening up. Why we closed up to begin with is still a mystery and that we are debating it and giving it power says all I need to know.

Anonymous said...

" I don't know which is the most out of touch blowhard. Bill Crawford or Sid Salter" .

I was thinking the exact same thing 8:51.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much Dr. Fauci and the others get paid. They must have known Trump would throw them under the bus at some point. Must be a lot.

Anonymous said...

@11:54 Thank you and I agree. 9:58

Anonymous said...

3:41 Fauci was already very successful and wealthy.

I know you will find this hard to believe, but most people who have grown up feeling financially secure and been able to achieve on their own talents aren't driven by acquiring obscene amounts of money and have no need to show off.

It's called being psychologically healthy and financially secure and it reduces anxiety.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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