All that Matters in 2020

I’m ready for a change, any change. I know you probably are too.

Life is essentially stagnant at the moment. I heard one pastor on a podcast say that we (Americans) were suffering from “spiritual undernourishment.” He’s right.

In addition, I think we’re suffering from a lack of what makes each one of us, “us,” because the things we use to define and shape our lives are either shut down or modified to such an extent that they’ve lost what made them good in the first place. This pandemic is awful. We’ve put our lives on hold, and we’ve been asked to wait longer. Who do we become when we stop moving forward?

Chaos (what else can you call this?) creates opportunity, good and bad. This was a great opportunity for us as a nation, but we’ve blown it. Because this is an election year, both parties have used the virus for political points. The angst of living in America in 2020 has driven us deeper into our partisan political tents, and we have our elected leaders to thank for exploiting the moment.

How a nation responds to a respiratory virus should not be a partisan issue. This was a real crisis, deserving of real, serious, solutions. If there was ever a hope that Americans had the ability to put partisanship aside, the virus proved it a naive fantasy.

Instead, both parties are all-in on a God-awful pandemic. Nothing else matters in 2020. It makes me sick to my stomach, and I write about politics for fun.

Moving ahead to November, there’s only two scenarios that can play out. The obvious one is that the virus keeps roaring and America stays shut down. If this happens, Trump is defeated and Democrats make gains across the country. Trump can’t escape this fate, and neither can the Republican Party. It’s easy to sit inside in your A/C on the 20th consecutive 90+ degree day and write off 2020 as the year that Trump lost by 20 points.

But an autumn chill has its way of injecting energy into the souls of men. What if the angst were to “lift” sometime before November 3. What if the virus numbers decline? What if Americans begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What if America can win?

Can it?

Or have we given up? Sometimes it feels that way.


In North Carolina, our numbers appear to have peaked, this week in fact. If they haven’t peaked, they’ve at least lost upward momentum.

The United States Curve appears to be leveling off as well:

If the virus numbers decline in any significant way before November, the loud screams to keep schools, businesses, and pretty much everything we enjoy shut-down will quiet.

The only ones advocating shutdowns will be Democratic leaders like Roy Cooper. It will be too late for them to turn back. There will be a debate about who got us to the other side of the mountain, but it won’t mean anything. We’re already in our partisan tents, remember?


Donald Trump has lost a lot of his mojo. It’s likely that even he believes that he’s going to lose.

You don’t whine and complain about the methods being used to carry out an election that you think you’re going to win. If you’ve got it in the bag, you can’t wait for election day.


To conclude, 2020 has put me in a odd predicament. In a way, my new hope is that Donald Trump doesn’t get blown out, because that will mean the Covid pandemic improved, our way of life was not permanently destroyed, and my children can have a real public education.

Opening Crawl - Star Wars: A New Hope - YouTube

I started this site because partisanship is ruining our ability to function at all levels of government. The virus has proven that well. I’m sick of it, though. I know you are too.

We’ve got to find a way out, and staying safe and warm in our partisan bubbles won’t get us anywhere.

Where do you want to go, America? You can’t stay inside forever.

Covid Shame and Politics

In terms of usefulness in American politics, fear and shame have a quick half-life. Anyone can get the public riled up over something scary, but eventually people get tired, numb, or just “over it.” The returns diminish over time.

This kind of explains the Trump presidency. “Many people,” as Trump would say, have grown tired of the drama. If they weren’t before, the year of Our Lord 2020 pushed them over the edge.

21) Smaller-than-expected crowd at Trump rally

Democrats have the best opportunity in a generation to take back power. The problem is they’ve lost their political aim, and they might squander it.

Here’s an example from North Carolina:

This was posted today. The North Carolina Democratic Party is attempting to shame Dan Forest and Republicans for having a fundraiser where people are gathered without masks.

It looks like a really nice evening. Most (sane) people would love to enjoy an evening like that. Judging from the looks of things, I bet some good BBQ was served.

But not in 2020! Today, we shame and berate our fellow citizens for wanting to enjoy life, for wanting to feel a shred of normalcy in this messed up time. It’s sad, in an “if I can’t be happy, no one else can” kind of way. It’s also stupid politics.


Today, the C.D.C. came out in favor of opening public schools. Here’s a notable quote from the press release:

“School closures have disrupted normal ways of life for children and parents, and they have had negative health consequences on our youth. CDC is prepared to work with K-12 schools to safely reopen while protecting the most vulnerable.”

https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/new-cdc-guidelines-come-down-hard-in-favor-of-opening-schools/19201905/

People want to feel normal again. They want their kids to have a real education. Democrats, ignoring what people want, are running on disruption, the abnormal.

The clock is ticking on this strategy. Remember, fear and shame have a quick political half-life. Democrats seems to be missing the evidence that Covid might as well. The recent spike of cases in the South and West is flattening. If the numbers aren’t going up around November 3, then all of this could absolutely backfire.

More importantly, Democrats need to treat voters with respect. Americans know it’s bad right now. They can’t avoid it. They don’t need daily reminders from a political party.

An elitist attitude got Democrats in trouble in 2010. It could happen again in 2020 if they don’t start offering up real solutions to get kids in schools and country folks eating BBQ without a side of shame.

Stagnant School Statistics

There is an average of 10.86 hospitalized covid patients in each county in North Carolina.

1,086 / 100 (counties) = 10.86 patients per county

Source: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard/hospitalizations


There are 1,553,334 public school students in North Carolina.

That’s an average of 15,533 students per county.

Source: https://www.publicschoolreview.com/north-carolina


As you might expect after seeing the first figure, our health care system is not being overrun. In fact, the number of “in use” hospital beds has decreased while covid “positives” have increased over the past month.

Source: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard/hospitalizations


As we do not have a cure for Covid-19, these numbers are likely to look very similar by the end of 2020.

So…

How long do you want to keep schools shut down?

When is it worth the risk to open them up again?

I think it is now.

If it gets bad, we can always shut it down. But we should absolutely try.


Disclaimer: I have an agenda. It’s called my children’s future.

Spikes and School

Today was supposed to be the day that Governor Roy Cooper announced his plans for the upcoming school year. He decided to wait.

I have two boys, 6 and 8. They are public school students. Cooper’s decision will have a direct impact on my family and the hundreds of thousands of others like “us” in this state.

We’re running out of time. School systems, teachers, employees, parents and students needs to know what’s going to happen to their lives in six weeks.

Why don’t they? I’ll tell you why, but you have to indulge my juvenile side a minute.

One of the benefits of having two young sons is you get to re-live your own boyhood in certain ways. One of these ways is you get to play the 21st century versions of the video games you grew up with. Nintendo is still Nintendo, it’s just a lot more fun. Speaking of fun, I take a great deal of pride in beating my boys in certain games. Again, Nintendo is still Nintendo and I put in the work at their age. It still pays off.

Things were going pretty well in North Carolina until June. Our covid curve was long and slow. I compared it to a “two-mile hill” in a post on this site. Governor Cooper was going to be a hero. The “Cuomo of the South” had gotten it right from the beginning and proved his critics wrong. Re-election seemed inevitable.

It was hard not to call North Carolina a success story, and it was smooth sailing as we negotiated the pitfalls of other states with ease.

In “Zelda” in 2020, you use a special power called “stasis” to freeze large metal objects that look like coronaviruses and will kill you if you touch them. In North Carolina in 2020, you use an controversial political tool called a “lockdown” to freeze human beings so they don’t get actual coronaviruses. The concept is the same.

It all seemed to work pretty well for us and after a few months of pain, it was time end the lockdown.

At the end of May, we hit the re-start button, putting an end to this nasty ordeal and getting back to our normal way of life:

um…..yeah….

It wasn’t over.

You need a cure to avoid the spikes. We don’t have one at the moment.

North Carolina’s covid problem roughly doubled in the month of June. The spikes got larger.

Rumors of the school year being postponed and rumblings of “remote learning” broke the hearts and the collective will of Tar Heel mothers.

They need a break. Their sons and daughters need a childhood.

So now what??? How do we get through this? Cooper’s not telling us, so you get the Cross Creek Divide answer:

I’ve got two solutions, one philosophical, one practical.

The first: actually listen to the experts. That’s what Cooper says he does.

In this case, listen to physicians who have spent their careers treating diseases that harm children.

They say our kids need to be in class.

The nation’s pediatricians have come out with a strong statement in favor of bringing children back to the classroom this fall wherever and whenever they can do so safely. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidance “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”

The guidance says “schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being.”

The AAP cites “mounting evidence” that transmission of the coronavirus by young children is uncommon, partly because they are less likely to contract it in the first place.

On the other hand, the AAP argues that based on the nation’s experience this spring, remote learning is likely to result in severe learning loss and increased social isolation. Social isolation, in turn, can breed serious social, emotional and health issues: “child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation.” Furthermore, these impacts will be visited more severely on Black and brown children, as well as low-income children and those with learning disabilities.

Now for the practical: Ramp up the teaching fellows program immediately. Forgive all student loans for graduates of UNC, NC State (yes, even them), or any other state university that agree to teach in a public school for four years starting NOW. Quadruple the funding, NOW.

The reason is simple: we need young teachers, NOW. Why? Young people are less susceptible to the dangers of Covid-19, NOW.

Adapt to the danger.

Most of all, keep moving forward.

It’s time to be brave.

Cause they are.