It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World | Opinion | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World 

SmartBomb: The completely unnecessary news analysis

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Oh boy, are things crazy. It's the 50thanniversary of the Kent State massacre where National Guardsmen shot and killed four student protesters and wounded nine others on the Ohio campus. At that time, in 1970, American deaths in Vietnam were approaching 50,000, and the war was tearing the country apart. Eventually 58,220 Americans would die in Southeast Asia. Fast forward—now deaths from the coronavirus pandemic in this country are approaching 70,000, and it seems like to many it doesn't really matter all that much. (We won't mention Afghanistan and Iraq because no one cares.) Some have downplayed the pandemic, comparing it to automobile and gun deaths, which, by the way, are not communicable. And Fox News pundits keep repeating that more than 60,000 died from the flu last year. Nonetheless, coronavirus is 10 to 20 times as deadly and spreads much faster. These days, protesters aren't college students but middle-age people carrying "Liberty or Death" placards and firearms. Imagine being transported from 1970 to 2020 and showing up in Lansing, Michigan, in bell bottoms and tie-dye shirts with peace symbols and coming across old fat guys wearing camouflage and brandishing AR-15s. Talk about a bad acid trip.

Mitch the Menace
That great American and Senate President, Mitch McConnell, the Cardinal de Richelieu of Washington, is a master at blowing smoke up Donald Trump's pant leg while doing the bidding of corporate fat cats. All this while many working-class Americans are waiting in long lines at the food bank. Well, let them eat cake. When it comes to looking out for the little guy and his fellow Kentuckians, there's no one quite like Misery Mitch, who lords his power over the country like a corporate thug. Most recently, he's been pushing legislation that would release companies from liability during the coronavirus pandemic, all while President Trump has ordered meatpacking plants to remain open. As such, those companies and others who force their workers into unsafe conditions could not be sued by employees or the families of workers who die from COVID-19.

But that's just where the fun begins. Maniacal Mitch made sure corporations got more than their share of the so-called stimulus dough, while anxious workers waited on tenterhooks for $1,200 that would easily get them through the crisis. But why should working men and women complain after they swept up crumbs from Trump's $1.5 trillion tax cut, while the big boys hauled away 80 percent of the largesse. It's a tried and true strategy from Money Man Mitch because Wall Street repays him with tens of millions that keep him in Washington's driver's seat—he holds the country hostage but only Kentuckians can vote him out. It is a democratic republic, after all.

(You can make a donation to his Democratic opponent, Amy McGrath, retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Colonel, at amymcgrath.com.)

Democratic Lambs to Slaughter
Every four years, the endangered species known as Utah Democrats select one of their own to sacrifice to the angry gods of politics in the "election" for governor. In 2016, Gov. Gary Herbert, the Republican, defeated Democrat Mike Weinholtz by 38 percentage points—slaughter would be an understatement. One reason: There is no Utah Democratic Party. Not really. Here at Smart Bomb, the staff attempted to find the Utah Democratic Party but could only locate a phone number and a recorded message: "We'll get back to you in one day, maybe." Up into the 1970s, Utah had Democratic governors and senators, but the Republican culture wars successfully branded Dems as baby-killing faggot lovers who would steal your guns and tax you to death. The Latter-day Saints faithful bought it hook, line and sinker. The Democrats just kind of rolled over, while the Republicans robbed working-class folks blind in favor of their rich supporters. There are, of course, pockets of Democrats in Salt Lake, Summit, Grand and maybe a few other counties. But until Democrats go on a statewide grassroots offensive, Utahns will have to endure patriarchal self-righteous leaders who continue to embrace the debunked theory of trickle-down economics. As one cold-hearted observer said: In a democracy, we deserve the government we elect.

Who Needs Science? Shine A Light
As some have noted, science is not President Trump's strong suit. But he isn't alone. There is an entire segment of America that doesn't believe in science. Galileo who? Climate change is hoax, don't you know, perpetrated by tree-huggers and Democrats along with French people who eat snails. It's nothing new, of course. In 1925, high school teacher John Scopes was put on trial for violating a Tennessee law that made it illegal to teach human evolution. The notion that humans and apes had a common ancestor was an affront to God—or at least some Tennessee Christian churchgoers. And if evolution is true, why isn't every other baby born a chimpanzee? Fuckin' Darwin. Didn't he hear about Noah's Ark? The earth is 4.6 billion years old? Kiss my ass. The fact that we have put someone on the moon, changes nothing. Cure for cancer—nothing. The technology that allows us to listen to Rush Limbaugh and watch Sean Hannity couldn't possibly be based on science. So, when Donny No-Dange suggested curing COVID-19 patients by shining a light up their ass, it was kinda funny but not really a surprise. And no, he doesn't believe in climate change. Why should he—it wouldn't help his friends in the coal and oil business.

Postscript—Well, chillens, another week of The Twilight Zone is in the rearview mirror, and the beautiful May weather beckons. Pandemic or not, folks who live near the beach are simply saying, fuckit, let's go surfing. And who can blame them, really? How can coronavirus get you as long as you make sure to use plenty of Coppertone? Meanwhile, thirsty landlubbers want to hit the bar, and what are the chances that you could die, anyway—except if you drink too many Jagermeister shooters? Now, that shit is dangerous.

And as Billy Graham Jr. says, you're gonna die someday, anyway. He's a gem, ain't he? Hopefully, there's no heaven, because his father would be looking down and shitting his pants.

So, you can play it safe and stay home and go batshit (unless you've got the right drugs), or you can go out and live life and bring coronavirus back to your friends and loved ones, who may or may not die. Sure, you'd be taking chances with their lives, but this is America where we apply cost/benefit analysis to everything. For example, before this whole pandemic thing, how many weighed the probability of going on a cruise and dying of food poisoning or boredom. See how it works?

And how many have thought twice about going to the company summer party? Talk about scary. Times do change, although you'd have a hard time convincing our youth of that. Fifty years ago, the scariest thing that could happen was you'd get your ass drafted and end up in Vietnam where you'd probably get it shot off. If you were a young woman, your boyfriend or husband could end up in Southeast Asia dead for absolutely nothing.

Like it or not, we are a warrior nation. Last week, as nurses and doctors were dying on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, our jet fighters—the best killing machines ever invented—were flying overhead to thank caregivers and buoy the spirits of Americans who apparently don't mind spending $67 million on a single aircraft while many can't afford health care. Funny place, this United States of America.

Alright Wilson, tell the band to put down their beers and take us out with a little something for the occasion:

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.
Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

—"Ohio," by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

PPS—During this difficult time for newspapers, please make a donation to our very important local alternative news source Salt Lake City Weekly at PressBackers.com, a nonprofit dedicated to help fund local journalism. Thank you.

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