Coronavirus in one state (137)

Governor Walz conducted another dog and pony show for the press yesterday afternoon. I have posted the video below. He produced two physicians (Drs. Kevin Croston and Peter Bornstein) and a nurse (Mimi Keeler) to convey stories reflecting the stress produced on them and the health care system by the epidemic.

What was the point?

We are to understand that we are not taking the epidemic sufficiently seriously. If we understood how serious it is, we would quit bitching about the governor’s continued exercise of dictatorial powers to shut down schools, restaurants, and bars. We would celebrate his sagacity.

Walz’s current shutdown order expires next week. Walz’s profession of uncertainty regarding his intentions notwithstanding, this particular edition of the show must be a predicate to additional shutdown measures. “We’ve got work to do,” he said.

Walz even contemplated limiting family holiday gatherings to the outdoors. Are you kidding me? That might require campfires or portable outdoor heaters, he said. Indeed, “Those are things that we are trying to look at.”

Walz babbled in classic form before and after his invited guests told their sad stories. He spoke at a slightly slower pace than the torrential outpouring to which we have grown accustomed. The slower pace accommodated the expression of a chaotic stream of consciousness mixed uncomfortably with bogus cracker barrel philosophy. KARE 11’s John Croman gives a straight news account here, MPR here, and the Star Tribune here.

None of the straight news accounts captures the essential Walz bizarreries. Musing on the damage done by the epidemic, for example, Walz distinguished it from a tornado. If a tornado hits, “we clean up and we do the things.” By contrast, Walz explained, “Unfortunately, with COVID you can’t see it and it doesn’t hit. And unfortunately, it doesn’t hit all businesses equally. It’s like a tornado that went through and hit restaurants and left other buildings standing. That is horribly unfair and it causes immense economic pain for those folks. That’s why we’re so many things. It’s called neighborliness. It’s a functioning society. We share that.”

In this case, however, Walz is the tornado. He evades responsibility by attributing the damage to the epidemic. And the damage extends well beyond restaurants and bars. Walz puts on these dog and pony shows to shift the blame and misdirect our attention. Walz’s briefings are to us what bread and circuses were to the Romans.

The last question Walz took (from Tom Hauser, I think) inquired whether the current wave of the epidemic would require use of the multimillion dollar overflow morgue Walz bought this past spring. It’s a yes or no question. At about 50:30, Walz made the following 10 points:

• All of the area medical examiners and funeral homes were anticipating a need for an overflow facility at the time.

• A few weeks ago a request was made. (That’s what he said. He offered no additional detail or explanation.)

• The equipment has been tested. (We are to infer that the facility is ready to go.)

• At the time he ordered the purchase it implicated “the dignity of Minnesotans.”

• He likened the purchase to “an insurance policy.”

• He anticipates that the federal government will reimburse the state for the cost of the purchase.

• The state “moves” a lot of property every year. There will be an opportunity to “move” the property.

• He will go voluntarily take “any amount of political bashing” occasioned by his purchase of the facility.

• If the facility is not needed it will be a success.

• He would make the same decision every single time again.

All this was to avoid answering the question. The answer is no.

For the next few days Walz’s subjects await await word from on high whether we will be entrusted with the freedom to take responsibility for our own lives.

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