After everything that we have been through in the nearly two years, I would think that we would use our heads. But logic still seems elusive, even when the facts are right in front of our eyes.
The United States reached a grim milestone this week, 700,000 people have lost their lives to Covid-19. In spite of the proof that the vaccine prevents hospitalization, severe illness, and (most importantly) death, there many who refuse to get the jab. In New York City, teachers and other school personnel had until today at 5PM to get the first shot. If the choice was made to remained unvaccinated on Monday morning, those who made that decision will be forced to go on unpaid leave. Statewide, a similar mandate has been put into place for healthcare workers. The only exemption is for religious purposes. Those wishing to file have until October 12th to do so.
I don’t get it. We are all entitled to our rights. But, we also have to realize that the vaccine requirement is not being done for shits and giggles. It is the only way to defeat this virus. What is frustrating to me is that teachers and healthcare staff work with those who are the most vulnerable to Covid-19. The reason I was vaccinated earlier this year was not just for selfish reasons. G-d forbid I get sick, the last thing I want is to spread it.
We know what we need to do. The science is clear. But instead of getting it done and returning to normal, we continue to be foolish and let our fellow Americans die for no good reason.
May G-d have mercy on all of us and one day, forgive us for what we have done.
Regardless of where one stands on any specific social or cultural issues, there is one thing we can all agree upon. The media, in its various formats, has a huge role on determining how we view the world around us. The problem is that in our fractured society, one’s perspective depends on which media one consumes and the messages they are putting out to their audience.
Last month, The Hill reported that Fox News, as per New York state mandate, the network was requiring its employees to provide their Covid-19 vaccination status to HR. While they have been internally making sure that their staff have gotten the shots, the ideas that are being communicated to their viewers is the opposite. Their lies and outrageous half truths have added to the death toll and the unnecessary grief that too many American families have forced to live with.
Granted, every media company has their own perspective and an audience who has a receptive ear to the content they are watching and/or reading. However, there is also a responsibility to at the very least, tell the truth. What they say has consequences. In light of what we are currently going through, those consequences can either save a life or take a life. I don’t know about you, but I would rather see someone live than die needlessly from a preventable disease.
When one reaches the peak of success in Hollywood, the assumption maybe that the problems this person had when they were not famous disappear. Their life is nothing short of perfection. The truth is that their pre-fame issues remain the same (or may even be magnified) with the harsh spotlight that comes with being in the public eye.
Saturday Night Live‘s Cecily Strong released her new memoir in August. Entitled This Will All Be Over Soon: A Memoir, the book tells her story of losing her beloved cousin, Owen, to cancer and the emotional destruction that Covid-19 has left in its wake. When he passed away in early 2020, Strong was devastated. Her grief was compounded when New York City became the epicenter of the virus a few months later. Needing a break from everything, she left the city, took refuge in a house upstate and began to write.
I like that it is set in a diary format. Strong reveals a personal side of herself that television viewers have not seen of her. She lays her mental health cards on the table, talking about emotions that are private, deep, and a little bit uncomfortable. My problem is that I expected to feel everything that she puts on the page. Unfortunately, I was not, which a dam shame.
If there is one thing we all take for granted, it is life itself. Then we are reminded how quickly we can go.
Tomorrow night is the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Jews around the world will fast for 25 hours and pray that our creator writes us in the book of life for another year.
Between the more than 600,000 Americans who have died from Covid-19 and the 20th anniversary of 9/11 this past weekend, the reminder that life is precious has been more than obvious.
One of the most important prayers is called U’Netaneh Tokef. One of the passages in the prayer is as follows:
On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.
Yesterday, death came close to home. To say that I am grieving and shocked is an understatement. A friend passed away. I haven’t seen her since before the pandemic and have only spoken to her once since last Spring. Now I wish I had stayed in touch. We need to tell the ones we love how we feel when they are here, not when they are gone.
Z”L my friend. RIP.
To everyone fasting, have an easy fast and may you be written into the book of life for another year.
When it comes to abortion, the people who are against it believe in the right to life. They are entitled to their beliefs, but the question I have to ask is whose life is important and within what parameters?
The political spotlight has been in Texas for the past few weeks due to the new anti-abortion law that has galvanized the nation. The sad and disgusting irony is that while the powers that be in that state are concerned with the uterus’s of the female residents, they are ignoring the lives that are being lost due to Covid-19.
Kali Cook died from the virus last week. She was just four years old. Though she was too young to be vaccinated, her mother was not. Covid then passed to the entire family. As of this article, Kali was the only one whose life was taken. Speaking to the press, her mother said the following:
“I was one of the people that was anti, I was against it,” she said. “Now, I wish I never was.”
The question I have to ask Governor Abbott and other lawmakers is how many deaths it will take to open their eyes? The loss of this precious child and the millions of other Americans is on their hands. They know, as we all do, what we need to do to stop this disease and save lives. Instead, they continue on this path that will only lead to more Americans dead and a nation with scars that may never heal.
Some say that climate change does not exist. It is just part of the natural cycle of life and nature.
After the damage that Hurricane Ida wrought on multiple parts of the country, millions of American are still suffering. In Louisiana, there are some parts of the state that may not have full power back until the end of the month. The return of full infrastructure and normal life (well, as normal as it can be with Covid-19), is going to take some time).
In my hometown of New York City, the destruction Ida left behind is much more than any of us in this part of the country could have imagined. Between flooding, fires, and tornadoes, it was storm that was dangerously underestimated. Approximately 40 people lost their lives to Ida.
I don’t know what it is going to take for all of us to believe that climate change is both real and dangerous. We cannot undo what has already happened. But I believe there is still time, if we are willing to do the work. The question is, can we face up to reality and do what needs to be done?
If we don’t, then we are dooming ourselves, our children, our grandchildren, and further generations to an Earth and a fate that will eventually kill us all.
Our lives are busy. Between work, school, family, etc., the days easily get away from us. We can easily forget who and what is important as we go about our lives, focusing on schedules and to-do lists.
This is the second year in which Covid-19 has changed the way we do everything. I know it’s extremely cliché, but the last 18 months have been difficult. Sometimes, we have to be reminded to stop and think about what and who is truly important as a pose to what we think is necessary. This virus has held up a collective mirror, forcing us to reckon with reality in ways that many of us have avoided.
Though I have had many troubles over the past year (my mental health issues among them), there are still things to be grateful for. I am grateful for my health, the people I love, my job, my writing, and most of all, the fact that I can still wake up in the morning.
To everyone celebrating, shana tova and may you have a sweet new year.
Abortion is more than the control of women’s bodies. It is the control of our destinies. Throughout most of human history, we have been beholden to the men around us. Now that we have been speaking up and taking control of our lives, the reaction by some (both men and women) is to pull us back via the figurative leash.
In Texas today, one of the most restrictive abortion bans became law today. One of the features of this law is that the average person on the street can sue abortion providers and anyone who helped the women (or a pregnant person) obtain the abortion. It does not matter if the person who is behind the lawsuit is any relation or knows either party that is being sued. This is on top of another heartbeat bill, which bans the procedure after six weeks. To add insult to injury, not even cases of rape or incest are given leeway.
This is a diversionary tactic. There is way too much shit going on in this country (Covid-19 being a good chunk of it) to focus on whether or not the decision to abort a pregnancy is made. This is a deeply personal and complicated decision between the woman who is pregnant, their spouse/partner (if there is one), and their doctor(s). I am all for freedom of religion, but that does not give one group the right to impose their beliefs on anyone else.
What is scary is that this bill has the potential truly damage, if not take down completely Roe V. Wade.
We need to focus of taking this nation forward and dealing with our issues. Telling a woman what to do with her body should not be on priority list to begin with.
P.S. We made a big deal about getting out as many women and young girls from Afghanistan over the past few weeks. But when it comes to the women in this country, some people still think that we live in the dark ages.
Starting with early 2020 and ending last the fall, we start the narrative when it was just a mysterious flu like sickness that appeared to arrive from China. As the months pass and number of cases and deaths rise, the revelations of mismanagement, lack of communication, in-fighting and political bullshit allowed the virus to take hold and kill over half a million Americans.
Reading this book felt like it was a ticking time bomb. It was just a matter of time before all of the elements would come together and explode into chaos and destruction. What made me angry is that the fate of the American people was put aside to ensure that a small handful of individuals remained in power, regardless of the damage that was created in its wake.
When I was a kid, I thought that my parents were immortal and always right. As I got older, I began to see that not only were they mortal, but they were as prone to making mistakes as anyone is.
Since Covid-19 entered this country last spring, more than half a million Americans lost their lives. Among these is a couple from Texas, Lydia and Lawrence Rodriguez. Before they were hospitalized, Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez were among those who were fervently against the vaccine. They left behind four children under the age of twenty, three of who are above the age range in which they can receive the shot.
Speaking to her sister for the last time, Mrs. Rodriguez made the following request:
“Please make sure my kids get vaccinated,”
99.9% of these deaths were preventable. My heart breaks not just for their children, but for every child in this country who has lost a parent, grandparent, or other relation. There is no logical reason for these deaths, except for stubbornness or stupidity. Mr. and Mrs. Rodriquez were stubborn. Radio host Phil Valentine was stupid. He believed that the virus and the toll it was taking was exaggerated.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I hate to speak ill of the dead, especially in this circumstance. But it makes me angry that there were and continue to be plenty of opportunities to stop this disease in its tracks. But there are many who refuse to act to not just save their lives, but the lives of the people around them.
May the memory of everyone who we have lost or will lose to Covid be a blessing.