Two Sides To History

History has 2 sides to it, all the time. One is usually a version of the truth and one is made up of alternative facts. For example, in July 64CE the great city of Rome caught fire. It burned for 5 days; killed thousands and decimated the city.

Side 1: Nero fiddled while Rome burnt. This was put out by the Catholic Church several hundred years after the great fire of Rome. Why? Because while Nero was definitely not a Good Guy (he beheaded his wife because his mistress refused to marry him until he did) or even a good emperor (he was a touch mad), he ruled during the “Glory Years” of the Roman Empire.

Side 2: The fire was an accident. However, Nero had to punish someone for it and nobody liked the Christians in 64CE so the Christians were punished for their arsonist ways.

Which side is true? Side 2 – History tells us it is impossible for Nero to have fiddled while Rome burnt, the fiddle hadn’t been invented he would have had to luted or lyred definitely not fiddled. However, Nero wasn’t in Rome when the great fire started he was at a vacation villa. Which side are you most familiar with? Side 1. The Catholic Church controlled all forms of media for a thousand years.

I bring this up because we are running into a similar problem with COVID-19. Some people are only willing to believe Side 1 or only willing to believe Side 2 and few if any are willing to do research on both Side 1 and Side 2 to find the agendas behind it.

One of the things they teach you when you are studying to be a historian is that you have to research the crap out of everything to verify its validity. I try very hard to do that. When the Stimulus Legislation draft became available on the Government website I went and read it. Legislation is terribly terribly boring, just FYI and full of legalese that occasionally requires me to look up a term or two. But I did it because I NEEDED to know what it was about. I wanted to be able to make an informed decision on it and I wanted to be able to have an intelligent discussion about it should the subject arise.

It’s amazing how much different Side 1 an Side 2 can be. Basically the Dems fiddled while the US burned if you listen to Fox News which I did do on Monday evening when the bill failed yet again. But according to CNN Republicans are greedy bastards only willing to support the rich.

Interestingly, there’s a Side 3 in that story. It is somewhere between the Dems fiddling as Rome burns and the Republicans being all about the money. I see the benefits of the Republicans legislation. I also see the bad and I understand why the Democrats refused to pass it.

In its original form the Stimulus Bill helps businesses first. And the size of the business doesn’t matter Wells Fargo can apply for aid just as quickly as your favorite local diner. People would be getting $500-$1,000 depending on the size of their household in 2018. With the possibility of a second check going out should any of that 2 trillion be left after being plundered by the largest corporations in America.

Democrats were arguing it should be the other way around. Small businesses should get to go first and take aid from the stimulus package and the average person needed more money. It failed on Sunday and again on Monday because lawmakers refused to let the big corporations go last to draw out money. They wanted to keep people employed and to do that requires corporations such as Wells Fargo to have the money to pay employees.

Once you know both sides, you realize neither is particular evil, contrary to public opinion ,they just have different ideas about how it should be done. Since I am not a fan of “Trickle Down Economics” I agree with Democrats people and small businesses need relief before huge corporations and more of it. This hurts me more than it does the CEO of Wells Fargo or Walmart or Jeff Bezos.

And I continue to be amazed by the number of people who still consider this pandemic political. It’s still a virus and viruses are the great equalizer – they hit the rich and the poor those in power and those not and they certainly do not care whether your a liberal or a conservative. They only thing they care about is finding their next host to infect. Coronaviruses naturally happen all the time. There are 8 that affect humans – five beyond Novel, SARS, and MERS. And viruses are always mutating, as I’ve said before most of the time the mutations are harmless, sometimes they aren’t and when they aren’t it can be bad. We are witnessing that. Global response was a little slow, we were panicked much faster with SARS than with Novel and that is part of the reason we have reached the point of damage control.

Who’s to blame? All of us. It isn’t one country or one person responsible for this. China bares part of the blame because they tried to pretend it wasn’t happening as is Russia. The US because our government kept telling us it wasn’t a big deal and we the people for believing them over the experts of the World Health Organization, National Health Institute, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who were screaming it was a big deal.

However, I know some of you can’t see the world through non-political eyes, it’s very weird. However, let me compare the response to SARS in 2003 to the response to novel – in 2003 when SARS started in China President George W. Bush immediately implemented screening measures for everyone traveling out of China and into the US. President Bush listened to the experts at WHO and the CDC and he made sure in those early days of SARS the public was aware of it and that we understood the steps being taken to prevent it reaching the US all while conducting a war in Iraq. He did a great job. Now, it helps that SARS didn’t seem to be as contagious as Novel, but still he was on top of everything and was taking measures before the public even knew SARS existed. I went back and found the SARS press conference Bush gave and not once did he say “This threat isn’t real” he said “We are already taking steps to ensure it does not enter the US. The CDC and WHO have both helped create guidelines for people entering the country from areas affected by SARS.” And they went through 14 day monitored quarantines and SARS did not become a problem in the US. Contrast that to the month of “This coronavirus is not an issue” from our current president.

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