Intermission 2: We went full Shyamalan. You never go full Shyamalan.

The greatest series of natural experiments in our lifetimes.

I went to bed early last night looking to get an early start on the day and make up some of my backlog from the past week. It hasn’t been a banner week for productivity, but I wanted to finish the week strong. After reading some of the older X-Men Battle of the Atom storyline, I went to sleep and dreamt vividly. Nothing all that exciting or interesting, but I was deep in that REM sleep last night.

When my alarm goes off this morning and I get up, the first thing Holly says (the alarm had apparently gotten her up as well). She told me that she tried to tell me last night, but I was out of it. I had gone to bed with the news that Hope Hicks had tested positive for the virus, but figured that despite the bumbling moron captaining the ship, there were surely enough competent folks (civil servants, aka “the Deep State”) working at the upper echelons of the greatest (though recently weakened) technocratic organization on Planet Earth to contain the spread.

I was wrong. 2020 strikes back. Again.

Some thoughts / hot takes:

First, I hope the POTUS and FLOTUS make a full recovery. I’m not in the camp that thinks that COVID’s just like the flu, and while it would be gratifying to be proven correct on that front with an example as prominent as a President, no human should go through some of the horrific things I’ve read about the virus.

Second, it’s time to put VP Pence in charge of the U.S. executive branch. We have lines of succession for these kinds of things, and I’d prefer a POTUS in charge that isn’t worried about overcoming a personal case of COVID being distracted from the full-time job of running large parts of the US gov’t.

If it’s not happening already, extensive contact tracing needs to be done not only with all the folks Trump’s interacted with, but with all the folks that Amy Coney Barrett has seen as well. My understanding is that she has been meeting with GOP senators around her accelerated confirmation schedule - the American public needs to know whether we’re just facing an incapacitated Executive Branch, or whether we should be preparing for a similar impact within our Legislative Branch as well. (There may also be an epidemiological silver cloud for the Democratic senators who ruled out meeting Barrett altogether.)

This election has largely been one where both sides have been confirming their priors, rather than being a persuasive contest to convince more voters to go one way or the other. On Biden’s side, even if their priors were already cemented, this took those cemented convictions, wrapped them in amber, and tossed them into a tar pit where a future race of beetle-like creatures will uncover them and be able to see exactly how little thinking changed over those geologic timescales. On the Trumpist side, I’d like to think that this would be a wake-up call for all the folks who are not taking the virus seriously, but if the death of Herman Cain didn’t budge that needle, I don’t see a positive diagnosis doing so either. Will it take a President dying of the virus to do so? Who knows?

In my last Note, I posted that I left the Christian faith primarily because I felt like I was sending signals out into the void and not getting anything back. I did not mention the second reason, which was the question in my mind of whether it’s actually moral to worship and pray to a being that has proven itself anything but over the course of human history. The Problem of Evil meets “What does God need with a starship?”

I bring this up because folks who aren’t inclined to take this seriously are probably the folks who buy into the phrases “God moves in mysterious ways” (so surrender the Enterprise) and “I have the greatest health plan and you’ll see it in two weeks”. Reading some comments on blogs discussing Trump’s COVID makes me wonder whether there’s actually a falsifiability threshold for them (where something could happen that would prove their pet theory wrong), or whether it’s blind faith all the way down.

2020’s been a shitty year, but I have to give it credit that it’s not leaving much left to an undetermined limbo where we argue who would be proven right had the situation played itself out. Instead, the year’s been an Apocalypse - in the original Greek meaning - an unveiling. While I don’t know what direction circumstance is taking us, it’s in a one-way direction and it’s not going to be possible going back to a pre-2020 mindset.

Anyhoo - some random thoughts for the day. I’ll be trying (and likely failing) to push all of this out of my head and get back to the original plan for the day.

May your jumps be smooth, CMDRs.