According to the interweb, NASA has found a parallel universe where time flows backward. Big deal. Time has been flowing backward for me since March.
Time has been in reverse in Washington, D.C., since Jan. 20, 2017, and now it is starting to look like the 12th century. The Department of Justice wants legislators to suspend habeas corpus from now until at least a year after the COVID-19 emergency is over without telling any of us what would constitute it being over. When no one has died from it anywhere in the world for one year? Or one month before that?
Doing so would deny hearings and bail for just about everyone, let the government lock people up without charges and crowd jails just when there have been moves to thin jail populations to reduce the spread of the virus. The idea as always has been it’s OK to write off people who are arrested because they would not have been arrested unless they were criminals or people of color — a concept that even people in the Middle Ages were able to realize was nuts, and those people believed in the divine right of kings.
Speaking of concepts that are nuts: thinking it’s a good idea to conduct homeless sweeps at a time like this. For homeless people living in tents, doing so is their version of staying at home. Tearing the tents down and driving their occupants away does not help slow the disease.
Sweeps also don’t help end homelessness. If they did, with how many we have done since Greg Nickels became mayor, we would have negative point-in-time counts by now. There have been so many sweeps done in the past 15 years that, had they led to all the homeless people involved getting into housing or at least shelter, they would all be sheltered 10 times over. Homelessness would be nonexistent.
Sweeps are not supposed to be happening for now: The city’s own directive in March was “All encampment removal operations have been suspended,” except in certain emergency conditions. Recent sweeps have not been a result of emergency conditions and have only served to make emergency conditions.
Maybe the parallel universe is not the one that’s backward: It’s this one.
Well, at least we finally got those videophones we were promised. So, some of our time is inching forward.
Remember how we were all going to be using videophones in the 21st century? They didn’t tell us how crappy they’d be. I expected the picture wouldn’t be very good, but I thought they would get the sound right, since they would still be phones, yes? All they had to do was keep the phone and add the picture.
Anyway, we have had videophones for years, but nobody used them because it turned out no one wanted to do their hair and wear clothes to answer the phone.
The trick to getting us on videophones was to make it happen by appointment. That’s all it took to get the people to put pants and a shirt on. It just takes little things to make big changes, like being told by your boss when to be at the Zoom meeting: “Thursday, 12:30.”
“OK, I’ll even put some pants on.”
“Thanks a lot, Wes. You’re such a hero.”
Besides pants, I’ve been wearing a cat. Our cat has been loving the stay-at-home order. He’s a glutton for petting, and he’s getting spoiled. Every Zoom session now features a cat climbing all over me. Good times.
Questions for further discussions:
Trump says it’s time to reopen America, except for Georgia, which is going too fast. Trump doesn’t wear a mask, except, he says, when there are no cameras. So why can’t there be judicial hearings? Just give all the judges and detainees in the country hydroxychloroquine, and our justice system can be back in business, in two weeks, maybe three weeks, tops. BAM. Am I a genius, or what? Your answer should use the words “cognitive dissonance” and be in the form of sarcasm. Don’t hold back.
If the purpose of the economic stimulus checks was to stimulate the economy, why does it matter who gets them as long as they spend them and stimulate the economy?
Shouldn’t someone in jail get a stimulus check if they haven’t been charged yet? Someone who has not been charged or convicted is still technically a free person, right?
That’s what I was taught in civics class. “Innocent until proven guilty,” yadda-yadda.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at drwes (at) realchangenews (dot) org
Read more in the May 27 - June 2, 2020 issue.