Roy Exum: Reclose? Are You Nuts?

Friday, May 29, 2020 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I am every bit as mournful as every other teary-eyed citizen who genuinely cares in the United States that our COVID-19 death rate has surpassed 100,000 people. We’ve got 50 state governors doing 50 different things and, believe this, every last one of them is desperate to find the right thing. We’ve got the best and brightest scientists collaborating with one another. The White House is throwing over a trillion dollars at the greatest curse our country has ever faced and with all respect to the nay-sayers and critics whose political barbs accomplish nothing more than the stupidity of turmoil, I profoundly believe there is little we have found that will, to date, curb those deaths. The overwhelming truth is that almost every person who has died has had overriding health issues – their bodies too weakened to fight -- and that over 40 percent were in nursing facilities is quite telling.

Please understand, I have the greatest sympathy for the coronavirus dead, and this is in no way to discount the bare tragedy each of those families are now being forced to endure, but of greater importance to me are the families of 40.8 million Americans – 26 percent of our nation’s work force – who are on the brink of a living disaster. Think about this. A typical family is a man, his wife and two children. Four times 40.8 million is 163.2 million – that’s a full half of the United States’ population.

The headline in the morning newspaper blared “Hamilton Officials Not Ready to Reclose.” Are you off your anxiety medicine? “Reclose?!?” If the governor of Tennessee and County Mayor Jim Coppinger ordered a reclose, there would be the biggest uprising since the Civil War Battles of Chattanooga. Have you not seen the anger, all the people at the forbidden beaches of Democratic-controlled states, the wanton disregard by people so fed up with house arrest that they never want “government” controlling their lives again, and the loathing of the same politicians who have the audacity to think they’ll be re-elected this fall? No, buddy. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

My view is the same as yours when you get in your car – the windshield is this broad expanse of see-through and totally transparent glass. In the middle of the windshield, far smaller and up towards the top, is the rear-view mirror. The lesson: look forward, create an alternate route if you must, but you ain’t gonna’ change the past, no matter how hard you study that little mirror.

We quarantined and every one of us is worse for it. The emotional and psychological costs of a furloughed nurse raising three children by herself was – to be perfectly candid – death while living. Anyone with any common sense would not jump around like a just-beheaded chicken and never allow 100,000 deaths take precedence over half the people who are still very much alive in our country. My liberal pals look at me in horror, fuming I’m just as bad as the economy-minded conservatives but, no, I’m talking about seeking a solution to end the suffering of 40.8 million viable workers regardless of zip code or whether their state is red or blue. I’m talking about each and all of the red, white, and blue, and lest you forget, each family of those fallen by the virus carries the same desperation and iffy future that the rest of us do.

Governor Bill Lee (R) reopened Tennessee on April 30 but the mayors of Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga – all Democrats -- declared “Not so fast.” Calling their haughty arrogance “The Big Four” before a super-majority of the legislature, all that these pretenders did was to prolong the agony in the state’s four biggest cities. And how did that work out? The New York Times fanned the sensationalism of the virus by declaring Chattanooga and Hamilton County was the fifth-fastest growing area for new cases. Good for them. Yet, nowhere was it mentioned that in the past three months Hamilton County has had only 15 deaths and our medical facilities have handled 843 cases very well. What you got there, Horace? Okay, that’s .02 percent in the land of common sense.

Cumulatively, “The Big Four” geniuses show 4,615 cases and 105 dead in Shelby County (Memphis), 4,826 cases and 58 dead in Davidson County (Nashville), 356 cases and five dead in Knox County (Knoxville), and – again -- 843 cases and 15 dead in Hamilton County. “The Big Four,” with its ludicrous liberal dose of “extra precaution,” today exhibits 185 deaths. That means Tennessee’s other 91 counties accounted for a total of 164 deaths out of the now reported 356. The Times article cites Bledsoe County as seventh-highest per capita COVID-19 infection rate of any American county. Good. About one of every 24 residents has tested positive, with 603 cases nearly all at the BCCX prison complex. Quite oddly, nowhere in the Times findings was it reported that Bledsoe, the county seat Pikeville, has thus far recorded only one death due to the virus. Imagine that.

Using the windshield/rear mirror analogy, I’m saying the “stay in shelter” was a noble try but nowhere can I find evidence that instead it slaughtered our economy, put millions in a place they couldn’t pay their bills, created nationwide rancor, and hurt our nation far more than those 100,000 whose memory we will take to our graves. We must restore jobs, where only spending will restore our awakening economy. Those who wish to “stay in shelter” may gladly do so, but they cannot be allowed to let their prejudices overrule their neighbor’s freedoms.

I fully subscribe to masking, keeping my distance, avoiding hand sanitizer which prompts me to use hot water and soap – which is available everywhere – but I refuse to allow myself to be frightened or become a timid wreck by a disease that was not my fault, my wish, or my allowance. I will follow every guideline and, in essence, do the very best I can. I have flirted with death before and my God has encircled me with a thicket of thorns. I will embrace His will and listen to His command.

But my God don’t sponsor any flops. He will not let me cower nor fret about a threat I can do nothing about. I can honestly say his dream is for me to live my life at its fullest, and in the event some politician wants to reclose and sparse my future, don’t look for my face on your stinkin’ bus of panic.

I got a better seat.

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