I'm old enough to know that anger is sure to harm only one person: the one who is angry. I know because I've done it. So I have learned as best I can to put my anger in a black box, not in my poor stomach.
The black box isn't working anymore. This pandemic has me worried sick for my loved ones (although, for some reason, I'm not worried about myself) and overflowing with anger, to wit:
Anger at President Donald Trump, of course, who has put his reelection above the lives of my loved ones and downplayed the virus for political reasons, calling it a "hoax" as his loudmouth son was attacking Democrats for allegedly trying to scare people. I have worked to try to defeat every Republican who has run for president for the last 40 years. But I didn't hate Ronald Reagan, or George H.W. Bush, or George W. Bush. I hate Donald Trump.
I'm angry at the millennials and Gen Zers who put their own pursuit of drunkenness and party time ahead of the lives of others who are trying to survive this epidemic. I'm angry at the idiotic girl who justified getting drunk on the Florida beaches because she had planned the trip for a whole two months (a long time, I guess, if you are an imbecilic, selfish 20-year-old). And at the equally stupid boy who said, "I'm not gonna let it stop me from partying." My parents' generation was called upon to go to war, to risk their lives, to protect the world from Hitler. Same age. All the millennials are being asked to do is drink at home and sit on the couch. Most young people are doing that and more. As for the rest, I have nothing to say in print.
I'm angry at all the other stupid people endangering other people's lives such as the fringe Hasidic community of Brooklyn, who keep holding big weddings and infecting themselves and others. And the Georgia State senator who had symptoms, was tested and went to the Senate floor to vote while waiting for the results. The test was positive, and the entire legislature is being urged to self-isolate. One member, who has an elderly hospice patient at home, said he was "shaking with rage." And don't forget the passengers who have taken a flight with hundreds of other people while waiting for their (positive) results.
I'm angry at Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who reportedly did three things within a week in late February: co-wrote an op-ed for Fox News claiming that we are "better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus"; told dozens of Tar Heel Circle members over lunch at the Capitol Hill Club that the coronavirus is "much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history ... probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic" (NPR got a secret recording of the luncheon and a guest list); and sold virtually all of his stock.
His defense: His decision to sell was based on public information (he was providing the public information), and anyone could have walked into the Capitol Hill Club and crashed a luncheon that was invitation only and included $100,000 worth of Burr donors, making it a public event. He didn't even try to explain the stunningly inaccurate Fox piece. Nor did he write a correction.
Donald Trump brought music back to my life. At home, I read too much news and find myself, like that Georgia senator, "shaking with rage." I remind myself it isn't good for me. I take deep breaths. I turn on music. I call a friend who might turn anger into the laughter about the absurd.
And I try to channel my hero, America's hero, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who saw this country through the AIDS crisis and so many others. He has served under six presidents, and at 79, he has had to deal with Donald Trump every day, a man who denies science and puts his politics first. But there I go again.
Back to thinking about Tony. And to finding a laugh somewhere. And feeling grateful for the good people. And sadness, of course.
To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: padrinan at Pixabay