Colson: Not better yet, but still, don’t freak out | AspenTimes.com

Colson: Not better yet, but still, don’t freak out

Hoo, boy, what a weekend.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont put up a good fight at the latest Democratic presidential debate Sunday night, pushing the leading candidate, Joe Biden, into a couple of positions that Biden may well regret, including a pledge to pick a woman as his running mate.

But the upshot still appears to be that once again, despite huge popularity with certain segments of the U.S. voting public, Sanders will be left in the dust of political history as the more moderate and less problematic Biden shifts into high gear for the general election battle against President Donald Trump and the Republican juggernaut.

I should say, without hesitation or qualification, that if it is Biden’s name on the ballot next November, as seems nearly unavoidable at this point, I will vote for him despite my reservations about some of his past actions, statements and policy priorities.

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At this juncture, we must all understand that if we want to prevent the total dissolution of our system of government, if we hope to retain our adherence to the rules of law and decency, we must get Trump out of the White House and recapture control of Congress from the wholly emasculated and morally bankrupt Republican Party this year.

Unfortunately, I keep reading stories about Trump’s “base” that leave no doubt about the enduring delusions that, like a mind-dissolving virus, prevent these unhappily but vastly under-informed zealots from seeing the truth about Trump and realizing they have been sold a bill of bad goods over the past four years.

And speaking of viral, mind-wasting infections, there’s this pesky little bug, known alternately as the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, which is rapidly doing something not seen in this world for some time — it is shutting down entire countries as people desperately try to avoid infection, mainly by avoiding contact with other people.

Here in the Roaring Fork Valley, the shelves of food stores have been starkly empty of certain necessities, most notably such items as toilet paper, paper towels and sanitizers of any type. The hoarders have been hard at work, and nationally there have been stories about eager hucksters buying up supplies in bulk and then turning around and selling them to the public at vastly inflated prices.

I never cease to be surprised at the greedy nature of the human animal.

One guy, in Ohio I think it was, when interviewed by The New York Times had the gall to complain about being cut off from the sales platforms at Amazon, Google and other internet heavyweights, claiming he was doing a “public service” by getting supplies out to the public.

Never mind that he was engaged in the type of price gouging that is immoral at the least, and at most is illegal in most civilized societies. I read that in some states these sharks are being hunted by law enforcement for prosecution purposes, and I find myself hoping the legal beagles are successful in sending some of these creeps to jail.

Speaking of jails and prisons, there is an increasing clamor from social justice types demanding that authorities do something to protect those behind bars from infection. And, to be fair about it, some authorities seem to be aware that they have a special obligation to prevent the virus from laying waste to the prison populations as well as among the equally captive jailers, cooks, maintenance workers and others whose jobs put them in the same jeopardy as is faced by the inmates.

There are bright spots in our local response to the virus, and we should acknowledge them and cheer them on.

For instance, the Aspen Community Foundation, a nonprofit that serves people from Aspen to Parachute, has started up a COVID-19 Response Fund, intending to send any money raised to other nonprofits or to government agencies in support of access to food, rental assistance and emergency services for individuals and families in dire straits. For information, or to donate, go to aspencommunityfoundation.org.

With the state’s ski areas closed for the time being, governments restricting access to facilities and private businesses struggling to deal with the crisis, we, the people, are about as close to being on our own as we can get. We already have seen instances of locals contracting the virus through what they call “community transmission,” so we can assume with confidence that the situation is likely to get progressively worse in the short run.

Our national government, sadly in the grip of a class of charlatans and crooks who have gleefully worked against the interests of the nation as a whole, have so badly bungled the response to the virus that we probably are the only nation on Earth that has no idea how many of our people have been infected.

Some brave government officials, of course, have continued to sound the alarm and warned that the effects of the pandemic will get far worse before they get better.

Still, the main thing to keep in mind is to not succumb to panic, anxiety or depression. To be sure, this is a test of our national resolve and our internal fortitude, but we can weather it. Despite the incompetence of certain national figures, we are learning more every day about how best to fight this invisible enemy, and we will come out of it a stronger, more resilient nation.

So, maintain vigilance, keep your distance from other people, don’t shake hands with anyone and, above all, hang on to your sense of humor. It’s your best defense against despair.

Email at jbcolson51@gmail.com.


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