Guest Commentary - PlumpJackasses won’t wear masks; modeling the worst behaviors

By Michael Monasky |  

It’s been a real struggle to keep physically distant from other people when working out at the gym, shopping for food and getting necessities from the hardware store. At greatest risk are the workers who keep the lights on, the floors swept, and the till running.

Our favorite restaurants and bars are quickly shuttering, which explains our efforts to pay for take-out foods and beverages to stave the fiscal bleed. Apparently, there’s no slowing of business for the upper crust. The famously affluent continue to get their kicks at outrageously pricey digs.

California Governor Gavin Newsom committed a Friday The Thirteenth faux pas in attending a large private unmasked dinner party in the Napa Valley at The French Laundry, which is neither French nor a laundry, run by Camp Pendleton-born, apprenticed-chef Thomas Keller. It’s pretentious prix fixe, $350 a plate; for the party of twelve, the tab likely ran over $5,000 (without the cake). Lobbyist-extraordinaire Jason Kinney was the birthday boy who surely paid for the affair, while filling Newsom’s ear with constituents’ demands for opening carnivals and fracking for oil. 

Newsom is ever the proverbial businessman. He knows which side his batard is buttered. PlumpJack Winery is his joint venture with boyhood friend Gordon Getty, yes...the billionaire oil magnate’s son. The namesake is an oblique reference to Sir John Falstaff, the Shakespearean character made famous as the fat, vain, boastful alcoholic coward who consorts with petty criminals while living on stolen or borrowed money. Perhaps he’s unaware, but the mascot seems to be Gavin’s adolescentile poke in the public eye.

The PlumpJack lobby leads to many doors, including tasting rooms, retail outlets, restaurants, and winery operations. Newsom’s mismanagement of the Covid19 pandemic in California calls into question his ethical responsibility to abandon his business interests to a blind trust, and to make the public health his primary concern.

Covid-19 merely is a reminder that it is an infectious disease caused by the 2019 coronavirus. Because this is such a terribly infectious and noxious pathogen, scientists call it SARS-CoV2.  Severe, Acute Respiratory Syndrome better describes why it’s so dangerous.

It’s expected that surgeons scrub and don protective gear to protect their patients from infections. The same principles apply to the SARS-CoV2 pandemic: washing hands between outside contacts, wearing masks covering face and nose, and maintaining physical distance to prevent passing this airborne pathogen to others; staying at home when ill. As The Batman declared, “I don’t wear the mask for me; I wear it for YOU.” A four-year-old can speak these words; and a six-year-old can actually understand them.

And PlumpJack(ass) is a polite remonstrance of someone who would put another person at risk of exposure. Consider family members who might be immune-compromised or taking medicines that weaken their immune systems; or have co-morbid conditions like diabetes, heart or lung disease, or cancer. Exposing them could be a death sentence. When 11members of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh were murdered in a mass shooting, no one declared that the victims were old anyway, or had diseases that would shorten their lives. It was the hail of bullets that killed them, not their pre-existing conditions. SARS-CoV2 is that hail of bullets infecting and killing our family members, our friends, our neighbors, and people in our communities in vast numbers.

There’s a reason why the United States has so much trouble controlling SARS-CoV2; that’s because there’s no real mask mandate, sparse contact tracing, and ineffective quarantine enforcement. What about a requirement that everyone wear masks, ramp up contact tracing like we did the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, and enable folks with subsidies to stay isolated while obeying quarantine orders? 

Instead, it’s been cluster play on so many levels, from the White House to the California governor, all the way down to Sacramento County Administration. Executive Nav Gill blatantly ignored local public health policy at a recent meeting of his department managers by failing to wear a mask, where ten of those employees had to be later isolated. 

Nav Gill, Gavin Newsom and President Velveeta are PlumJackasses all. We needn’t believe them, follow their advice, or accept their leadership. We need practical anarchy to organize ourselves to survive this terrible pandemic, and to restore order to our society. The least of us know good from evil and how to craft a beneficent mode of behavior to grow and live together.

Even our comedians have repeatedly recited some of that wisdom: keep physical distance; wash hands; wear a mask...we love you. Satchmo sang about what a wonderful world this is; I see friends shaking hands, saying "How do you do?" They're really saying "I love you." 

How much do we ache to get back to normal, share space, share friendly gestures, share the air we breathe? Meanwhile, the nation’s incoming Biden-Covid task force epidemiologist, Michael Osterholm, warns us to “stop swapping air with ourneighbors,” at least for now. 

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Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2020. All right reserved.


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