It’s another Monday and another day of “stay home, stay safe”. Except it is? Around the country, we’re seeing an increasing number of protests against, in all too many cases, rather draconian local orders all supposedly meant to keep us safe. People are seeing their incomes decline dramatically–or stop altogether. They are worried about keeping a roof over their heads, food on the table and maintaining some level of quality of life. When do you finally say “enough is enough” and it’s time to restart the economy before we see long-term consequences that will put Covid-19 to shame?
But the problem goes beyond the economy, although you can’t forget the impact this prolonged shutdown is having on it. The other concerns hit home with me last night when Mom talked with a friend of our. We’ve known this friend for close to 40 years. The friend and their spouse now live in an assisted living facility nearby after having moved back to the area from the West Coast.
This friend has always been outgoing, independent and active. She’s gotten to the point where she is sneaking out of their “apartment” because she is going stir crazy. So far, she and her husband have been lucky and their facility has not been impacted by the virus. But, they are still under full lockdown, with meals delivered to their rooms, no social activities, etc.
If that’s not bad enough, she’s worried about something else–voting. She’s already pretty much figured she’s going to have to vote by mail, something she’d be eligible for anyway because of her health and her husband’s. But she’s worried because there has been so much speculation in the news and none of it talks about the process. How will she be able to get her mail-in ballot? When will she get it? That sort of thing.
So Mom spent some time last night reassuring her she doesn’t need to worry about those questions–yet. And Mom’s right. But the process of handling an increased number of mail-in ballots is something that should be worried about. If in-person voting is subject to fraud, what do you think can happen with mail-in votes? Dallas County has a history of voter fraud swirling around mail-in ballots. In a state where Voter ID is a thing (thankfully), how will that be handled?
And if you have to list or include a copy of your ID, can you imagine the increase in identity theft cases simply because mail-in ballots have been stolen or an unscrupulous clerk hired to help with the increased number of ballots helps themselves to the information?
But this is something we aren’t hearing discussed from the politicians and others who are pushing for us to go to mail-in votes for the November election. Not only does their stance assume we will still be in lock-down by then, but it does nothing to insure the sanctity of the one-vote per person rule in our nation. If we aren’t careful, the election could make the hanging chad controversy of not that long ago a laughing stock when it comes to election problems.
I’m hoping it doesn’t get to that point. Honestly, I don’t think it will. For one, people are getting tired of being denied the opportunity to work. They are worried they aren’t able to educate their kids as well as at least some teachers out there (no, I’m not a big fan of most public education systems but there are some awesome teachers out there). They are worried about how to make ends meet and that worry is compounded because they see the problems down the road in the supply chain if we don’t get our economy kickstarted and soon.
That is why even here in Texas where, on the whole, our rules have been as reasonable as possible–at least on the state level. We have some local municipalities where the government has decided to set up their own Napoleonic city/county-states–we’re seeing people starting to violate the rules. A hair salon owner in Dallas reopened late last week in violation of the county (and state) order. She explained how she made the determination to pay her salon rent and not her home mortgage this month because if she lost the salon, she lost everything. She was cited Friday. She reopened Saturday.
Three restaurants in the suburb of Colleyville opened to sit-down customers on their patios and sidewalks over the weekend as well. They made sure social distancing was observed, setting the tables at least six feet apart. Their servers were masked, etc. But they opened and stood in unified defiance.
Tuesday Morning opened at least three stores in Fort Worth as well to in-store traffic. They were cited and shutdown Friday by local authorities. They reopened Saturday, from what I can tell. The company’s management issued a statement that he had an email from the powers that be stating they were an essential business because they sold a “substantial” amount of food. While he might, I would like to see the email. I also want to know what that official’s definition of “substantial” is. Why? Because TM is a store that mainly sells furniture and home furnishing items, not food. If they have such an email, it seems to be an indication that there are some state officials who are as tired of the shutdown as we are.
Even for those of us working from home, the shutdown is taking its toll. I know a number of writers who are worried because their sales numbers are going down dramatically. Some of my friends who are freelancers or who write for some of the more popular blog sites are seeing their income drop too.
Then there’s the perverse need to leave the house and do stuff, and it doesn’t matter what stuff, just because we’re being told to stay home. Is it any reason that as the beaches and parks are re-opened, people are starting to go in large numbers? Mind you, most of those going are being smart about it and keeping social distance. But they want–they need–to be out and to see people other than their kids and spouses/partners. Even the most anti-social of us need that human contact.
Today, we find out what the next steps here in Texas will be. Locally, we’re already being warned there will be a battle between Gov. Abbott and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins over the new rules. Abbott is looking to not only keep the state safe but to restart its economy. Jenkins, worried about the number of cases in Dallas County, wants to keep the lid on pretty much everything. There have been times when he’s come across like a petulant child because the governor hasn’t followed his recommendations. It is going to be “interesting” to see what happens, especially since Jenkins does his best to force the surrounding counties to do as he does with Dallas County.
For now, stay safe everyone but start looking at your escape plan. How are you going to react when your localities open up? Are you going to maintain a good stockpile of supplies and food in case there is another influx in Covid-19 cases and the powers that be once again shut everything down? Are you going to let your elected officials know what you think about how they handled the situation?
For now, I’m keeping my larder stocked, gas in the tank and my eyes and ears open. Too many politicians have used this crisis as a basis to cancel out our constitutional rights. That has to stop. We have to demand it and vote accordingly. Otherwise, this may become our new norm.