10 April 2022

The Fog

The light of the sun is barely penetrating the early morning fog. Some trees are visible, some are hidden. It should be a warm spring day but instead it’s cold and there are still patches of dirty snow on the ground.

This is the weather.

This is my mood.

The pandemic is still raging on despite those who try to hide the infected and dead behind the fog of words.

The war in Ukraine is raging on and those who declare it is just another war are trying to obscure what is at stake.

Even if we can see through the fog created by today’s chatter, none of us can see how the pandemic or the Ukraine war will end.

When the pandemic first hit, I was naively convinced that we could manage it well by following advice by scientific and medical experts and that vaccines would come rather quickly.

The vaccines did come quickly but their durability is still problematic. I’m certain we’ll get the better, more durable vaccines. However, the hit to science, to medical expertise, I worry may also be more durable.

The Omicron variant was first detected in Canada in late November, a few months ago. Since then, we have had 53% of deaths in people 19 or younger and 20% of all deaths from COVID-19. Long covid - a disease that impacts the brain, heart and many organs - will be worsened by the increasing infections we are seeing with omicron and its new variants. Yet the narrative that this variant is ‘mild’ reigns, so people are removing their masks, interacting in unsafe ways because they are convinced that the danger of COVID-19 is over.

How can the ‘mild’ narrative be so persuasive when the facts prove it wrong? One of the main reasons is that the anti-science, anti-expert movement has gained great strength during this pandemic by feeding on its favourite food: fear. When people are frightened, science, with its nuanced and new emerging facts, is less enticing than the strong, definitive anti-science narrative where answers are clear and unalterable because they aren’t true. It’s easy to make up a narrative when it’s immutable in the face of facts, and it is the very rigidity of the narrative that appears to make it strong and a haven for the frightened - fear is reassured by strength, even if it is false strength.

Now that some people have been convinced that science and experts are the enemy - we can only hope that the numbers of people convinced are fewer than those who recognize that the truth - even with facts that change as new evidence emerges - is a better alternative than lies.

The future of how this will play out is unclear: the fog is thick.

The war in Ukraine appears to be a very different animal than the pandemic but they rub shoulders in a very important way.

Right wing, authoritarian ideology has been nipping at the heels of many European countries. The pandemic seems to have worsened this, particularly in countries where restrictions limited the number of infections, they were “sceptical about their governments’ intentions behind lockdowns, and are most likely to accuse them of using COVID-19 as an excuse to control the public”

The pandemic has, “eroded young Europeans’ trust in the political system could have long-term consequences for the future of democracy. Research by the Centre for the Future of Democracy at Cambridge University shows that – even before the crisis – today’s young people are the generation most dissatisfied with the performance of democratic governments. Members of this generation are more skeptical of the merits of democracy compared not only with the older generation now but also with young people polled in earlier eras.”

This merging of the distrust in science with a distrust in democratic governments is the birthplace of autocracy.

The war in Ukraine is a war waged by an authoritarian government against a democratic country. The suffering of Ukrainians has moved the world and also divided it. As Ursela Gertrud von der Leyen - the German politician, physician and President of the European Commission summarized during a visit to Ukraine:

“It is indeed a decisive moment … Will autocracy be dominant or will democracy be the long term dominant winner or will the right of might be the rule or will it be the rule of law. This is what is at stake in this war…it is these big questions that will be decided in this war.”

The rule of might is decisive and clear - a haven for those who crave certainty. The rule of law, like science, is nuanced and cumbersome, as evidence is weighed and considered. Justice, like science, is messy business but it is a crucial pillar of democracy. 

None of us can see how the war in Ukraine will end or what Europe will look like when it does. Nor can we see what the end of the pandemic will look like and what we will have become in response to it.

The fog.

It’s the weather.

It’s a whole mood.


  1. Mary, I agree with your comments on the war and on the pandemic. One reason many people don't tryst the government is because the politicians are looking out for themselves instead of for the good of the people. It seems that politicians are busy building their own empires. Term limits would help take care of some of this problem, but then the politicians would have to pass that law.

  2. Fear and ignorance. Yes. R.T. is right about term limits but politicians control that. It's not good. Never has been.

  3. Mary, I've become increasingly concerned as UseNet news groups and their progeny breed increasing numbers of Marxist, Leninist, Bolshevik, tanker communist groups, popping up on Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, and across pretty much all social media platforms, plus their splinter groups such as Gay Communists for Socialism and Women for a non-Patriarchal Commune. The forums have no tolerance for dissenting discussion or even presentation of facts, dubbing them fake.

    What's even more alarming is the ignorance that swirls within these groups, confusing economics with government with society, and exhibiting a horrifying ignorance of history. According to the new communist mythos, instead of communism ending in an abject failure bringing nations to their knees, it had become the opposite– a huge success until vicious male-dominated capitalists targeted beautiful communism into near extinction.

    Yea O Mary, Communism has become the cure for all slights and ills.

  4. This seems to go hand in hand with a lot of 2020 'thinking', which entertains such genius ideas as eliminating correctness of spelling (a video society has little need for words on paper), proposing a ban on punctuation (because punctuation is 'rude'), and getting rid of rules of grammar! (As if that's possible.)

    Among other brilliant notions has been the claim that 'modern' culture produces so much new music, movies, and fiction, there is no longer a need for so-called classics, which wastes storage and bandwidth. According to new theory, classics existed only because there wasn't enough entertainment produced to keep people from boredom. With massive amounts of self-pubbed music and literature pouring out of creative corners of the internet, there's no longer room for 'old' music and lit, further suggesting there may no longer be a need for history.

    Me, I'm thinking some people didn't like those classroom 'D's and decided to eliminate schools. In the words of Pink Floyd, "We don't need no education." It is indeed a serious problem, Mary.

  5. I was doing a workshop in prison this weekend, and no one was talking about the pandemic - it's done as far as they're concerned. But they were talking about the war, and about possible nuclear annihilation. I told them to worry more about when "somebody" decides to shoot down the satellites in space, because at that point, the grid goes down & we all catapult back to the Dark Ages. And very few are prepared. It's grim all the way around.


Welcome. Please feel free to comment.

Our corporate secretary is notoriously lax when it comes to comments trapped in the spam folder. It may take Velma a few days to notice, usually after digging in a bottom drawer for a packet of seamed hose, a .38, her flask, or a cigarette.

She’s also sarcastically flip-lipped, but where else can a P.I. find a gal who can wield a candlestick phone, a typewriter, and a gat all at the same time? So bear with us, we value your comment. Once she finishes her Fatima Long Gold.

You can format HTML codes of <b>bold</b>, <i>italics</i>, and links: <a href="https://about.me/SleuthSayers">SleuthSayers</a>