“How Are You Doing?”

“When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something, to say something, and not be quiet.” John Lewis, veteran of the march on Bloody Sunday and so many other battles for the rights of people, died Friday at age 80.

Reading time – 3:24  .  .  .

I’m asked that question often, sometimes as a now-standard greeting –  perhaps some of your conversations begin like that, too. My progressively more common answer to friends is that I’m feeling the losses.

I haven’t hugged my kids or grand kids in months. We haven’t sat at a dinner table with friends or family for just as long. Travel to do my leadership keynotes and workshops stopped – everything is virtual now – and I’ve stowed my suitcase in the attic. We love going to the movies, but that fun has been put on hold. In short, all the standard stuff of life has been put into long term storage and I’m feeling the losses. Weirdly, I’m so hungry for ordinary human contact that I’m looking forward to my annual physical exam.

I’m feeling more than that. I’m feeling enormous frustration over the cavalier indifference to human suffering and death demonstrated by those who are supposed to lead us in the best of ways and whose charge is to promote our general welfare. I’m angry at them for being the only ones with all the tools in the toolbox needed to beat this pandemic and their callous refusing to use them. They have abandoned us and that has consequences. See the table below.

Back when the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was being debated and even after its passage, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was a loyal Republican loudly decrying the act. One provision of the act is the requirement for medical insurance coverage for consultations with doctors about end of life considerations. Grassley brayed his criticism, idiotically saying (and I’m not making this up), “They’re gonna pull the plug on Grandma.” The Republicans told us there would be death panels. O’, for the good old days.

Grassley wailed his morbid prediction and now it has come true. Because of the astonishing lying and indifference, the refusal to take preventive actions, the misdirection and the stumbling blocks put before our medical people, all from White House political hacks, they really are pulling the plug on granny, because she’s been on a ventilator for weeks and her lungs are toast.

I’m not doing well at all about granny’s suffering and dying, nor that an estimated 70 – 99% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. happen because of our incompetent leadership and we’re headed for over 200,000 dead friends and family.

Kayleigh McEnany, WH press secretary, said that “the science should not stand in the way” of reopening schools. Click the pic – it’s even dumber than it seems. Note that her justifications were factually wrong or at least egregiously misleading.

I’m really not okay with political hacks who will only meet via Zoom, but think we should send our kids, teachers and staff back to school for 8 hours a day. Tell you what: let’s send those political hacks to do their jobs together in a school classroom for just one week. Then let’s see how many of them aren’t in an overcrowded hospital 3 weeks later.

I’m sad about the nearly 1,000 front line healthcare workers who have died from this disease while working to save the lives of others. I’m worried about the long term effects on an entire generation of our young ones, as they are taught to stay away from others and to fear so many things. And I’m worried about how our workers will feed their families with their place of employment shut down for the duration and perhaps closed forever.

Dr. Lorna Breen – another casualty of COVID-19. Click the pic for the full story.

I long ago gave up hope that Trump would take the right steps to curb and defeat this pandemic. He is truly incapable of leading us in this war and too insecure to get out of the way and let the right people lead us to do what must be done. Instead, he remains focused on his own welfare and thus, continues to be our biggest obstacle. He truly is Incompetent Individual #1.

What if he had used the Defense Authorization Act to ramp up our testing capabilities and had recruited laid off workers to do contact tracing? What if he had possessed the courage to extend lock downs long enough to trim the infection rate down to nearly zero, as other countries have done? What if he had responded to the pleadings of governors and mayors for help, instead of blowing them off? And it’s even worse than that.

We have some galactically incompetent governors whose states are practically radioactive with the virus. These governors – Republicans all – refuse to listen to the scientists and medical professionals who tell them the steps to take to protect their people and the economy. Some are even hobbling mayors of cities with COVID catastrophes, prohibiting them from mandating the wearing of masks in public places.

So, how I’m doing can be described as not too well. Does that connect at all with the way you’ve been feeling?

How many more of us have to die needlessly before we take the necessary actions to beat this pandemic?


Just 13 days ago 1 in every 106 Americans was infected. As of 7/19/20 it’s 1 in every 90. Click the graph for the story.


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The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Sometimes I change my opinions because I’ve learned more about an issue. So, educate me. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
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5 Responses to “How Are You Doing?”
  1. Jim Altschuler Reply

    In my poor beleaguered mind I keep asking questions like, “Why aren’t people wearing masks whenever they’re going to be near people?” and
    “Why aren’t distancing and masks required everywhere?” and
    “Why can’t the government and the people understand that opening businesses and stores won’t do any good if noone is left alive or even healthy enough to shop?” and so many more similar questions.

    The herd mentality is taking the people, the whole country, stampeding along toward the ‘cliff’ where 10’s of millions more people will be sickened, and 100’s of thousands of people will die … old and young alike. We’re already seeing stunning increases in the number of those under 18 who are contracting COVID-19, even babies and newborns.

    By the time of the election in November there are going to be a lot fewer voters capable of voting because they’ll be too sick or dead. Those of us still able to vote Must do so to eliminate the death-dealing administration leading us down this path of destruction.

  2. Dan Giallombardo Reply

    Leadership, true leadership, requires courage. The courage to make decisions, the courage to stand by the decision you make and the courage to change when you find your decision was incorrect. When party takes precedence over nation, courage is no longer required; it is replaced by a sort of bovine passivity. Like a horse with a halter, the one pulling on the reins decides where you go. At this point in our national political life we have what I call “negative -leadership”. Which is to say that the wannabe dictator who currently occupies the Oval Office leads by negativity. Don’t do anything unless it makes me look good, denigrate everyone and everything else. That includes, sadly, caring for the sick, the lame, the halt…they’re not productive? Covid 19? Why should we waste government money on the dying when we can just allow the virus to trim down the herd? It’s long past time for them to go, let ’em all die off, we don’t need ’em.” It’s a sickening state of affairs that even the minds of Orwell or Kafka could’ve imagined. It’s time for a major change in our governmental “leaders.” Not in the image of the 1960’s. For the amount of good that came from those times is counterbalanced by a great deal of destruction and pain. But a new type of revolution: a “voters revolution”. Something akin to “throw the bums out”. We need to do that NOW.

  3. Joni Lindgren Reply

    Trump doesn’t want to solve any problems because his goal is to get rid of minorities and minority voters. Covid is just another part of his chaos and mayhem! It’s designed to keep complicit Republicans in Congress in CONTROL and turn us into a dictatorship so Trump can be president for years and to also be able to rewrite the Constitution so that the elites and corporations will stay in CONTROL!
    We live in a ME, ME, ME society and will be worse if Trump gets a 2nd term! The ME Society live for their own personal finances along with their rights they get over the rest of society. Make no mistake about it, we’ll have rules for the “elites” and different rules for everyone else…..we’ll be like a caste system.
    The best thing that can happen is that Biden wins and we become more of a WE society! A WE society cares about the rule of law, Constitution, environment, cares about all people, not just white ones, an equal shot of getting ahead in life for anyone who wants starting with free tuition (notice I said “tuition” only) to be retrained or college, a healthcare system for EVERYONE, not just for those who can afford costly medical/medication bills, a fair economic system that stops taking tax money from the citizens and giving it to the rich and corporations, and one that rejects Trump’s 2020 Budget that is disastrous to those in need!
    I would much rather live in a WE society, wouldn’t you? For some reason, Trump supporters think that Trump’s plan for getting rid of Medicare/Medicaid/ACA and Social Security is a good idea (we will have more pandemics and what good will it be for the rich to have the vaccine and the rest of society has nothing and infects others in our country?)
    When people we know start disappearing, we’ll know what kind of government we have!!

  4. David L. Lindgren Reply

    Most of us underestimate the mental health impact of being disconnected not just from what one might consider the “old” normal. All the factors of stimulated mental health all relates to interpersonal connections. And just anyone but with loved ones and trusted comrades. The translation of fear-based decision-making to reframing positive changes is complicated. Hate to mention it but as a therapist/coach, I tuned into almost daily news of some well-known individual taking their life. I am not aware of the specific suicide rates but I would bet that they have increased tremendously. So what’s some new direction? We need to develop hope and expectation! What are we learning to create a better tomorrow? How can we bring out a spiritual natures by increasing our virtual contact with others? And most of all, insure that have a new, vibrant administration to lead us out of the darkness. When are we meeting for coffee?

  5. Marti Swanson Reply

    Your concern about the fear we’re teaching our children is chilling. A few weeks ago, I stopped by my daughter’s place to drop off something. The gate leading to their stockaded back yard swimming pool was open, so I entered. Three-year-old great-grandson Oz saw me first and ran towards me with arms outstretched for a big hug. I held out my hand to stop him, and then his dad grabbed him. The look on his face was devastating and about broke my heart.