Tuesday, April 28, 2020

After the pandemic

What will be our future after the global coronavirus pandemic?

We're dependent on tourism and education.  What happens next?  

What are the lessons learned from our stay-at-home time?

Built on a house of cards, suffering from corruption and a lack of free market competition, indifferent to suffering, hoarding wealth for the wealthy, our oligopolistic American economy came crashing down, almost totally, when economic and educational activity screeched to a halt in March 2020.

Loved ones lost. Jobs lost.  Businesses and careers disrupted. Events cancelled.  Democracy under siege.

Our military is blessed with planners, providing contingency plans for nearly everything.  

Many Florida governments don't plan well.  Cognitive misers respond to limited stimuli -- campaign ca$h from developers, destroying our nature and history.  They lack insight into potential disasters and how to respond.  They react, sometimes illegally.

Chinese ophthalmologist Dr.  Li Wenliang warned of (and later died from) coronavirus. For practicing the scientific method, Li was arrested and accused falsely of spreading "false rumors, he was threatened and silenced by Chinese police. Other Chinese doctors and U.S. Navy Captain Brett Elliott Crozier also suffered "the capital punishment of the workplace."

Too often, governments and businesses conceal wrongdoing and violate our rights to report wrongdoing, or "blow the whistle." 

It's unAmerican to treat dissenters as enemies.  Civil War General Carl Schurz, a German immigrant, said "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”

It's happening in America.

Coronavirus.  It's a contagion.  Are bullies (ab)using coronavirus to violate our rights?

  • Flagler County Board of County Commissioners County Attorney Albert Hadeed has used coronavirus as an excuse to delay for two months providing documents on its inducing the State Attorney General to file $311,666 worth in Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) against three citizens who filed Ethics Commission complaints. The SLAPPs and document withholding are unconstitutional and unAmerican.  
  • Flagler County BoCC excluded citizens from all of its Commission meetings, allowing only phone attendance.  How rude.
  • St. Augustine Beach almost did the same, planning a citizen-free April 29 meeting, where only advance written public comment would be accepted, including a garbage fee increase (and possible sweetheart no-bid lease renewal $1/year former police garage).  Thanks to Mayor Margaret England and Vice Mayor Maggie Kostka, who ended the scheme -- more malarkey by City Manager, Bruce Max Royle, 80, who disobeys Governor's orders and won't self-quarantine at home, disdains EOC meetings, ignores Commissioner emails and has no pandemic plans.

Ugly developments destroying forests, wetlands and wildlife may be placed on hold.  Speculative projects may be converted into affordable housing.  The love of money, "the root of all evil," may be going out of style as we appreciate what humankind's depredations have done to our frail planet, including making pandemics happen.  

50 years after Earth Day, remember the words of its father, Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisc.) "If we continue to address the issue of the environment where we live as though we're the only species that lives here, we'll create a disaster for ourselves" 

We are blessed to live in this magical place.  Let's preserve jobs and preserve and protect it forever, with a St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore, and whistleblower protection for ethical employees.  

We need safe and legal elections, ending the health risk to election workers by utilizing all-mail ballots in August and November elections.

No person should be left without living wages or health care, the lack of which worsens pandemic effects. 

Inspired by Gov. John Winthrop's 1630 Mayflower prayer, let's be that "shining city on a hill."  As Langston Hughes wrote, "Let America be America again."

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