The Real Home Test

The Real Home Test

It’s been a while since I’ve written – the end of Aug. 2021 was the last column. Not for lack of things to say, but work intervened. A colleague, Scott G. Nelson from Virginia Tech University, and I have been frantically polishing a manuscript we have been co-writing for the past year and a half, one in which we look back at the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic and what that foretells for the future of the country. The book, “Citizenship After Trump,” will be out in April under the publishing label of Routledge. Don’t blanch at the price of the hardcover; let’s just say we recommend the paperback and have already ordered copies. One of the difficult things in writing a non-fiction book like this about contemporary events is that you have to pace the tone so it is relevant and timely when it comes out, which is usually a year or two after you have been writing. When we began writing in the spring of 2020 the pandemic was in full force and we were all more or less locked down, getting used to Zoom meetings and teaching and venturing out only timidly. By the beginning of...Read more

The Rage That Lurks

The latest public outbreak of antagonism towards masks and vaccinations isn’t just a biomedical issue and it’s certainly not confined to health care settings or schools. It’s starting to creep into everyday life in a way that suggests a broader, more deeply embedded culture war that will not go away soon. We got a sense of that the other day when a sub-contractor for our basement build-out up showed up without mask and made a point of refusing to wear one. It led to quite the verbal scuffle; one I worried might escalate into something worse. It embarrassed our normal, all-purpose genius home repair and improvement guy, our version of Eldin from the 1990s TV series “Murphy Brown,” who witnessed most of the scene and who later apologized for it – though it was not his fault and he had nothing to apologize for. Turns out we needed sheet rock installed in what will eventually become my new downstairs office. Getting quality workers these days is tough in every construction or landscape trade, but the sub-contractor who was called has a good reputation for his work – or did, anyway. The sub-contractor showed up early, without a mask, and while...Read more

Vaccine Suicide

Amidst a global pandemic involving a readily communicable disease whose airborne method of transmission is widely known, it seems fairly simple to invoke some basic methods of suppression. But no, the Republican governors of two of our larger states, Florida and Texas, are intent on a public policy of mass suicide. There is no other way to interpret the wanton disregard for the safety of citizens shown by these two political leaders. What’s really scary is the extent to which roughly 45% of the population nationally has bought into this refusal to get vaccinated and wear masks. I’ve held off writing this because I find it extremely difficult not to convey my disgust at this state of affairs. I wanted to make sure my judgment was sound and I was not showing a lack of respect for the choices that people were making. And I am fully aware that a certain percentage of the populace has justifiable reasons for not wanting to get poked with the now spectacularly successful inoculant that has proven to raise considerably the resistance to infection. Communities of color have good historic reason to be suspicious of the claims made by the medical community. There are...Read more