The three of you, smirking Republicans, defying Congressional staffers who are trying to get you to wear a mask, to keep from passing around germs. .
Look at you, wearing the same insolent smirk as the still-President of the United States, who looks like he is trying to take us all down.
I take your behavior personally because, maybe you three have heard, there is a pandemic going on – and masks help protect people. You three may also have heard by now that three members of Congress came down with Covid-19 since being sequestered with Republicans when Trump’s Army came calling.
Here’s why I take it personally. We happen to see one of the three -- Rep. Pramila Jayapal from Seattle, knowledgeable and decent -- on the channel we watch.
We saw Rep. Jayapal last Wednesday, wedged below a seat in the upper gallery of the House, when anti-social morons were patrolling the hallways, doing Trump’s bidding. There was fear on her face, for what could happen next. The domestic terrorists may not have gotten her, but somebody in a later scrum passed along a little souvenir -- Covid-19.
I don't know if it was the insolent threesome in the photo above, but those three bare-faced wise guys -- Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga), Markwayne Mullins (R-Okla.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz) -- are pretty much laughing off the offer of masks in close quarters. They think it’s funny, like Trump at one of his WWE rallies, telling the herd that he’d like to punch somebody in the face.
I don’t know much about them except that Taylor Greene is identified as a follower of QAnon, which, I gather, is a dangerous cult believing in mad fantasy. She’s been in Congress only a few days but she’s already infecting people in her own vicious way.
Here’s why I take this personally. Many of the smartest and kindest authorities on the tube these days, talking about Covid-19, are of Indian descent - like Rep. Jayapal - doctors and academics and politicians. They represent an uptick in the skills and social ethics of our country, balancing the slope-browed thugs wandering the halls of Congress.
It’s about race. But you knew that already. Race.
We have relatives and friends of color. My wife made 14 trips to India a while ago, doing volunteer work with children, and she loves the country and the people. Rep. Jayapal and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris both have roots in Chennai (formerly Madras), the sixth largest city in India – a city known as the health capitol of India, for its skills and services.
Who are these members of Congress who cannot put on a mask as a sign of respect and to avoid spreading germs? In the NYT the other day, Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham wrote about the evangelical Christian base – make that white, evangelical, Christian base – of the armed marauders.
Their version of religion makes them uncomfortable with dark-skinned people as well as knowledgeable people who try to explain the virus to them.
I know a bit about them. Some people I love scurried off to vote for Brother Trump in 2016 because their pastor said Trump was a man of God, and really, what else is there? (My guess is also that the evangelical pastors figured Trump would be good for the economy – their economy. They live pretty well, you know.)
So now we have the man of God telling his people to go storm Congress.
Big man. He would have liked to storm with them but his bone spurs were acting up.
Besides, Trump had other people doing his work for him – people who would breathe on other people.
Diabolical, you could say.
Somebody got Rep. Jayapal, the gentlewoman from Chennai and Seattle.
Like I say, I’m taking this personally.
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Tweet from Rep. Pramila Jayapal: “I just received a positive COVID-19 test result after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one."
“They may hate the cultural context they now find themselves teaching in, but they love their work. The Achilles’ heel of schoolteachers, one all too easily exploited by politicians, is that they love their students.”
(One of the best reads in the NYT these days is Margaret Renkl, in Nashville. In her latest post, Renkl describes the dedicated core of “born teachers” – the majority, she submits.)
(From Madeleine Albright in one of her final interviews in February):
“Putin is small and pale,” I wrote, “so cold as to be almost reptilian.” He claimed to understand why the Berlin Wall had to fall but had not expected the whole Soviet Union to collapse. “Putin is embarrassed by what happened to his country and determined to restore its greatness.” – Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, recalling her first meeting with the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin in 2000. – The New York Times, Feb. 23, 2022.