Ron Johnson Will Lick This Pandemic With Prodigious Googling, Whataboutism, And Midwestern CAN DO!
What is the point of Ron Johnson? Does Wisconsin's senior senator actually do anything besides take in oxygen and expel copious amounts of rancid hot air? Can Mitch McConnell just park him in the Senate cloakroom with a bucket of Legos until he's needed for a vote?
In Johnson's latest demonstration of his fundamental pointlessness, he Googled a couple of death statistics and barfed them out into a 320-word "opinion piece" for USA Today.
"I'm not aware of any public official, including President Donald Trump, who is calling for a complete opening of the U.S. economy," Johnson starts, erecting his strawman in the very first sentence. "What more people are saying is that as we learn more about COVID-19, we should evaluate the total societal cost of this awful disease and try to put things into perspective."
Have you thought about the SOCIETAL COST, libs? Have you? Sure you're spending every waking minute trying to bend the curve by homeschooling your kids while desperately trying to keep your parents from going to store. But "more people" should think about the societal costs!
"Each year, approximately 48,000 Americans commit suicide and an estimated 67,000 die of a drug overdose. That level of individual despair has occurred in a strong economy with near-record low levels of unemployment in virtually every demographic," Johnson blabbers on. "Imagine the potential psychological and human toll if this shutdown continues indefinitely, unemployment reaches 20% or higher, as some now predict, and we sink into a deep recession or depression."
WHAT ABOUT PERVASIVE SOCIAL ILLS THE GOP DOES FUCK ALL TO REMEDY? Would it not be better to let hundreds of thousands of people drown in their own lung secretions than to OD on smack? That's what Ron Johnson wants to know!
"Every premature death is a tragedy, but death is an unavoidable part of life," says the Senate's premier Googling champion. "More than 2.8 million die each year — nearly 7,700 a day. The 2017-18 flu season was exceptionally bad, with 61,000 deaths attributed to it. Can you imagine the panic if those mortality statistics were attributed to a new virus and reported nonstop?"
WHAT ABOUT THE FLU? WHAT ABOUT OLD PEOPLE DYING IN THEIR BEDS OF NATURAL CAUSES? What's a couple hundred thousand more deaths on top of that, right? Oh, and speaking of attribution, it would be nice if Johnson noted that he swiped that argument from Stalin, who is supposed to have said, "One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is just a statistic."
As usual, Johnson goes limp before getting anyone, least of all the reader, over the finish line, conceding that, "Social distancing polices make sense because no one wants to overwhelm our health care system to the point of failure." Which is mighty open-minded for a guy whose state's infection arc looks like this.
Image via Wisconsin Department of Health Services
But then he announces his BIG IDEA. What if we said the glass was half-full, rather than half-empty? Huh huh huh?
"Rather than announcing general shutdowns and drawing up lists of 'essential' business that can remain open, let's draw up lists of 'nonessential' businesses that pose a risk for coronavirus spread."
Mind. Fucking. Blown. If the market goes up today, it will no doubt be thanks to Wisconsin's senior senator and his prodigious pandemic-busting skills.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.