I had a horrible day yesterday for no good or otherwise reason at all. Corona was responsible, I realized when I puzzled it all out, but not in the general way I had been thinking.
I considered, as the reason behind my malaise, the possibility of media overload. And that turned out to be correct, although not at the national level, where the level of dangerous incompetence rose to treasonous yet once again with a suggestion of election delay.
There isn’t even much puff in that hollow wind these days, especially as the White House huffed one day later about Hong Kong delaying its September election, and when the Federalist Society denounces your idiotic statement as grounds for immediate impeachment, you should probably understand (but probably won’t) that you have overstepped, bigly.
So I expect that stupidity. It probably isn’t helping my mood, but I doubt it was more than part and parcel of the everyday. But the letters section of the Gunnison Country Times — that was a different story.
There were several thoughtful letters rebutting a column that ran in the Crested Butte paper rather than the Gunnison paper (although I’m still in agreement with the original column, which took “essential” businesses in Gunnison and Almont to task for not enforcing virus safety protocols).
There was also a thoughtful letter from the longtime mayor of Crested Butte chiding second homeowners for wanting more privileges than the rest of us get (the ability to vote in two places, for instance). The mayor writes letters occasionally, and I always think he hits nails on the head.
But then there was the letter from a former county commissioner now co-chair of the county Democratic party. It wasn’t how he said anything, but what he highlighted, which is our county’s first political action committee, called GV2H (Gunnison Valley Second Homeowners), which formed with the stated goal of raising $3 million to oppose the two Democratic candidates for county commissioner.
When Jim Starr noted in his letter that no commissioner candidate in Gunnison has ever spent more than $30,000 on a campaign, and when the editor of the Crested Butte paper remarks that the commissioner races seem to hinge on “a postcard sent in April,” the self-righteousness of these second-, third- and fourth-estate owners depresses me.
They are still very angry that they were told — in a step that has generally been acknowledged as poorly phrased and executed by everyone involved, who have also attempted to atone — they couldn’t come to their non-primary residences during the onset of a serious viral outbreak in our county.
I keep wondering how many of the Angry were even planning to visit during their month of lock-out. There was no skiing or restauranting, there was a lot of patchy, muddy snow and it can look quite dreary around here in March and April. In hindsight, the county probably just shouldn’t have said anything, and I imagine officials wish now they hadn’t, but the palpable anger seems so grossly misplaced to me (and to several second homeowners who have written their own letters speaking out against GV2H and its rage).
Then I got to the really depressing letter. If I’m not mistaken, it was written by the second homeowner who, in good presidential fashion, attempted to sue the county for trampling on his constitutional rights, only to back out while loudly proclaiming victory.
He referred to the public health “director” (to quote him quoting directly) and her “gestapo efforts to thwart business and violate our constitutional rights.” He wrote that “idiots and academia” are doing their (our, because he means people like me) best to destroy god and the “good people” of Gunnison County. He then provided a link to an article telling the truth about the uselessness of masks, provided by aaps.org.
The ugliness of that letter is depressing, and the ugliness of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, membership estimated at around 5,000 of the nation’s 661,000 medical professionals (American Medical Association membership: 240,000), just made it worse.
Yesterday I talked about cherry-picking and that’s what this man has done. He found an opinion column curated by a woman whose other articles include “Some Black Lives Don’t Matter” and “COVID Chaos: A Prison Without Bars.”
We all like to finding reading material that reinforces what we believe (I still have the link in my browser to the 34 studies one man cited in his early call, back in April, for us all to wear masks), and perhaps I should assume this letter writer sincerely thinks his vitriol is helping his second-home neighbors. (Although not the ones who believe in public health, nor the academics.)
But here is a different approach, offered by a business owner who also helps lead a local church. I don’t think this man particularly believes this virus is worth taking seriously, even though his daughter-in-law nearly died in January of something that could easily have been covid, but of the public health director he said: her job is to keep people safe. That is her focus, and that is what she is trying to do.
I think motive is an important consideration in our anger toward others. I am angry with the lack of a federal response and the self-aggrandizement above all else evinced by the pretender to the presidency. When George Bush the Younger, a president I didn’t agree with on many things, was called upon, he urged Americans to come together and rise as one in the aftermath of 9/11. He did not delight in sowing seeds of domestic discord, which seems to be all the current occupants of the White House know how to do.
I would like this letter writer to consider our public health director’s motive. If she has been hunkered down her whole career, waiting for the opportunity to seize control and purposely ruin people’s lives, that seems a very clumsy way to go about it. There are more direct routes to power than through the office of public health.
I would also like this letter writer to consider that he is put out, to the point of lawsuit, about being put out of one of at least two residences he owns for a month that he probably didn’t intend to come to anyway, when there are people, including in this valley, in danger of being turned out of their only residence. There are people who don’t know where their next meal might come from.
Instead of bashing the local newspaper, the public health director, every teacher (although he probably only meant higher ed, but who knows? — being educated is a scary prospect for some) in the valley, and all the locals who don’t agree with him, perhaps he should contemplate one of two options: Sell his second home and find someplace more suited to his angry temperament; or: try to be a more productive member of the community. Spend excess dollars on food and housing assistance, not lawsuits. Shop with the businesses he thinks he’s “helping” with his angry screed.
As for me, I should try not to become so overwhelmed by the rage of a few with outsize purses that make their opinions seem that much more outsize. There are many second-, third- and fourth-homeowners who do a lot of good here, and that is what I need to try to remember. Hopefully that leads to a better day today.