Monday, May 18, 2020

Putting things into perspective

Sometimes when things are tough, when it seems like life is just unfair, when you're living in trying times and you're worried and stressed out, it's nice to have someone with some understanding of history who can help you put things into perspective:

Like this guy:

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives on March 18, 2020. (James Brooks / ADN)

Alaska legislator compares pandemic safety measures at Capitol to Nazi treatment of Jews

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When lawmakers return to Juneau on Monday, they will be required to undergo a health screening. Those who pass the screening will be asked to wear a sticker.

Oh, shit! That is totally how the Jews were treated by the Nazis. They were given medical checkups and then those who were healthy were asked if they wouldn't mind maybe wearing a yellow star on their clothing so that people would know it was safe to interact with them. And then I think there was some other stuff, but really it was being screened to make sure they weren't infected with a deadly disease that was the real horror of the Holocaust.

“How about an arm band that won’t fall off like a sticker will?” Rep. Ben Carpenter wrote in a message copied to all 40 members of the Alaska House. “If my sticker falls off, do I get a new one or do I get public shaming too? Are the stickers available as a yellow Star of David?”

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Okay, first of all, it was the Nazis who wore armbands. 
Secondly, if you're going in to work when you have the Covid-19 virus, or if you haven't been checked to ensure that you don't have it, then you deserve public shaming. At the least! You're endangering the health and lives of everyone with whom you interact. Why is that such a dificult comcept for some people?

Two Jewish members of the Legislature immediately responded, again copying all members of the House.

“Ben, This is disgusting. Keep your Holocaust jokes to yourself,” wrote Rep. Grier Hopkins, D-Fairbanks.

Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, said, “I don’t think a tag that we’re cleared to enter the building is akin to being shipped to a concentration camp. It’s more akin to needing a boarding pass when you get through TSA. This is that.”

Okay, well you may be Jewish, but I think I've got a pretty good handle on what is and isn't akin to the Holocaust! Having someone take my temperature to make sure I'm not sick - That's pretty much like what they did at Auschwitz!

Carpenter received support from fellow Republican Sarah Vance of Homer.
“We should all be concerned about the implications of being labeled as ‘non compliant’ or wearing a badge of ‘compliance,’” she wrote in response to Hopkins.

Exactly! Thank you! She gets it!

It's like when you vote and then they give you that "I voted" sticker. And they expect you to just put that on your lapel. And then if you don't there's zero consequences. Well what if I don't WANT to comply? What if I don't WANT to tell people I voted? It's a slippery slope, people. First they're giving you a sticker that indicates that you've gotten a clean bill of health and ASKING you to wear it, next thing you know, Krystallnacht!

I mean, when I think of the government using their power and authority to try to prevent a good man like Ben Carpenter from getting infected with a deadly contagion. . . oh, it makes me so angry!
And for the government of Alaska, which is supposed to be "of the people by the people FOR THE PEOPLE, to prevent this man from exercising his God-given right to spread a disease to his fellow legislators - - - I mean, the Founding Fathers must be turning over in their graves!

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By phone, Carpenter said he didn’t intend to “rile somebody."
“I certainly have no ill will toward the Jewish nation and the Jewish people in our country,” he said.

Right, I mean who would think that comparing mild inconveniences to the fucking Holocaust might be upsetting to people from "the Jewish Nation?" Sorry you people are so easily "riled!"

He said he believes public health restrictions in Alaska are far out of proportion to the threat posed by COVID-19. Ten Alaskans have died from the virus, many fewer than the state’s annual death toll from influenza. He agreed that public health guidelines have contributed to that low COVID-19 death toll but said the danger has passed.

Look, the public health guidelines have worked, so the obvious thing to do is stop following them! Does Carpenter have to spell out everything for you dummies? If Carpenter says the danger has passed, that should be good enough for you. I mean who would know better? The CDC? Ha! Ben Carpenter is pretty much the gold standard of expertise when it comes to epidemiology.  I will have you know that Ben Carpenter graduated from. . .  Nisiki High school. . . wait, that can't be it. I mean, surely he went on to college, med school, PhD in virology, right?

(via Wikipedia)
Carpenter graduated from Nikiski High School in 1993. After graduation, he joined the United States Army, serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in Turkey and Kuwait with the United States Air Force.[1]
Afterward, Carpenter joined the Alaska Army National Guard, in which he was a special staff officer in the commanding general’s office. He later retired from the National Guard. Carpenter grows peonies and was president of the Alaska Peony Market Cooperative.[1]

Peonies! His specialty is peonies?

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These things?

31 Types of Peonies (All Colors, Bloom Types and Varieties)

Okay, I may have to re-evaluate this whole thing. Maybe Ben Carpenter isn't the expert authority I had been led to believe he was. But even though he's not an actual virologist or immunologist or epidemiologist, I bet he knows a lot about the Nazis.

Alaska lawmaker says Hitler was not white supremacist

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“Can you or I — can we even say it is totally out of the realm of possibility that covid-19 patients will be rounded up and taken somewhere?” he said later in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, arguing that officials are overreacting to the virus with limits on people’s liberty. “People want to say Hitler was a white supremacist. No. He was fearful of the Jewish nation, and that drove him into some unfathomable atrocities.”

Well, he does have a point. It is entirely possible that covid-19 patients may be taken somewhere. They could be taken to hospitals! Where they will be forced to endure, um, having ventilators assist with their breathing and , I don't know, probably getting poked with needles or something. And don't get me started on the spartan conditions they will have to withstand. I mean, my God, those beds!

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Sheer torture!

Other than that, though, I think he might be just a teensy bit off-base here. Hitler, it may surprise you to learn, was actually something of a white supremacist. He was what the experts refer to as the "dictionary definition" of the term "white supremacist." He absolutely believed in a hierarchy of races with white people at the top rung. He even believed that within the general category of white epeople their was a racial hierarchy with Nordic people at the top and Slavs on the bottom.

Okay, so I guess Ben Carpenter doesn't really know anything about Nazis either. But on the other hand, he does know a lot about peonies! So I think the people of Alaska should probably follow his lead when it comes to balancing out public health and safety with Freedommmmmmm!!!

Seems only sensible.