I really thought that when our inevitable dystopian future finally arrived, it would be… well, dystopian. At least, more dystopian than what we’re dealing with now. I was expecting leather and gas masks and insane automobiles, a la Mad Max.┬áBut this coronavirus-driven apocalypse is turning out to be more “Idiocracy” than “Fury Road”. I.e., one shitty dystopian future.

How Did We Get Here?

Basically, people have said/done some stupid shit. It all started at the beginning of 2020 when a novel coronavirus popped up in China. Whether it came from weird meat (who the hell eats a pangolin?) or some shady research in a Wuhan lab, we may never know. But it spread quickly with the first American case occurring in Washington (state) on January 21st, blazing through the country like a wildfire. Now, we’re looking at 700,000 dead and Americans being less than welcome in numerous countries around the world. Of course, that last bit has sort of always been the case but it was because we’re arrogant, not idiots.

This is so Stupid

In the title, I say this is the stupidest plague ever and a lot of the credit for that goes to our “least racist” president, Donald J. Trump (the “J” stands for “Jerk off”). The Presidiot was quick to lay all the blame on China and attempted to impose travel restrictions on people who were conspicuously non-white while simultaneously downplaying the severity of the virus. It only got worse from there, with him touting dubious “cures”–from drinking/injecting bleach to a medication pushed by Dr. Demon Sperm–, promoting skepticism about basic infectious disease control measures, and claims that the virus was just the flu and would mysteriously vanish one day.

All of this, combined with years of Republican efforts to dumb down the populace to uncritically accept their bullshit an acceleration in the growth of anti-intellectualism, has brought us to a place where people are willingly dosing themselves with horse dewormer rather than getting vaccinated because “muh freedoms!”

Okay, it is Stupid. But a Plague?

So, by a strict definition this probably isn’t a plague. It’s not bacterial and it’s not caused by a rat but Merriam-Webster defines “plague” as “a disease that causes death and that spreads quickly to a large number of people.” If that doesn’t describe what we’ve been dealing with for the last 22 months, then I don’t know what would. But, here’s the thing: it didn’t have to be this way.

It Could’ve Been Different?

The short answer is, “Of course it could’ve different!” The longer answer is basically the same, but a lot more nuanced. Because, for things to be different, we needed leadership that actually led instead of pandering to people’s fears and worst instincts in an extremely cynical–but thankfully unsuccessful–attempt to get re-elected. It also required Americans to think critically, evaluate sources, and listen to the experts. And of course, put the needs of others above their own. Or, at the very least, give those needs equal consideration. We’re not good any of at that. Never have been, really. And it all came together to land us in this totally unnecessary shitshow of a pandemic.

What Happens Now?

Honestly, I don’t know. It looks like the Delta variant may be burning itself out in those states where it’s been running wild. I guess that’s a good thing but, for my tastes, there are way too many dead folks for the word “good” to apply. But, rates of vaccination–the obvious way out of this mess–continue to lag while the virus continues to mutate so we could be right back to square one come the winter. So, what do we do? I say, wear a mask and keep up your social distancing. If you’re vaccinated, get a booster when you’re eligible. And if you’re not vaccinated (but could be), stop being a selfish asshole and get the fucking jab. The rest of us want this to be over and we’re sick of your shit.