Discover more from Dobbs Dispatch
At least your car hasn't been stuck at the airport since March 2020
Remember all those annoying people in December who were like “You guys, stop blaming 2020! It’s not just confined to the calendar. It’s, like, the whole world is showing us how messed up it really is.”
Well I was hoping I could make them wrong through force of will, but I could not. This year is, in so many ways, 2020 plus one. Some Nazi Viking asshole took over Nancy Pelosi’s office before the first week was over.
On a personal front, it’s been about the same. No Nazis or Vikings, but Tori and I had to move ourselves on short notice. Let’s just say staying with family got old faster than the pandemic did. So, now that we’re in our own place again, and it’s Wednesday, here’s some good news from the world.
After a lifetime of groundbreaking scientific discovery and less-groundbreaking ridicule from jealous white dudes, Suzanne Simard is having her moment. The professor of forest ecology at the University of British Colombia uncovered the underground exchange of information and nutrients between trees along string-like fungus in the soil. In ways we’re only beginning to understand, trees in a forest have a collective intelligence. Simard’s life was the inspiration for the badass character Dr. Patricia Westerford in Richard Powers’ Pulitzer-prize-winning novel The Overstory (read it) and was featured in a New York Times Magazine cover story in December. Lucky for us, we get to hear Simard’s story in her own words later this year; her book Finding the Mother Tree is due out in May.
As the nation shifts its collective disbelief-at-the-sheer-ignorance-of-voters (we need a specific word for that) from the U.S. at-large to the specific district responsible for elevating Marjorie Taylor Green to power, let’s remember that there are responsible, dedicated public officials under the Republican banner who would be seen as moderate or even progressive by 2010 standards and who are disgusted with the rejection of facts by so many conservatives. This is the part of the paragraph where I’d usually have a punch line, but in this case I’m serious. Enter Vermont State Representative Scott Beck, a Republican who represents St. Johnsbury (a gateway to the state’s Northeast Kingdom, St. Johnsbury is relatively conservative compared to the general population). Beck is being publicly and unapologetically critical of the moral rot in his party, as shown in this Jan. 17 op-ed: ‘A deafening silence from the Vermont GOP.’
I covered Beck as a reporter in the Statehouse. My impression was a guy who is smart and respected within his committee, willing to speak up at Republican caucus meetings, certainly capable of playing the good-ol'-boy, but also (and this is veering into speculation) somewhat uncomfortable with the inside-the-beltway chumminess of the good-ol’-boy society and hesitant to get bogged down in the petty squabbles. The larger Republican party has lost its way, but a country ruled entirely by unopposed liberals without a reasonable voice of opposition is not a healthy Democracy. We need people like Rep. Beck to help the party find its soul again.
The pandemic has been shitty, that’s a fact. But if you want to hear some unique pandemic shittiness, check it: A Vermonter named Emmanuel Capitaine (what an awesome name though, right?) took a flight to France to visit family last March with his son. Like plenty of Vermonters did in the beforetimes, Emmanuel Capitaine booked his flight out of the Montreal airport. The problem for Emmanuel Capitaine is that, during his vacation, the beforetimes became the pandemic. Canada closed the U.S. border for all non-essential travel to include picking up one’s RAV-4 from the airport and driving home. As a result, Emmanuel Capitaine’s car is still in long-term parking (and at this point, I mean long-term parking; there are babies alive today that were not yet conceived when Emmanuel Capitaine parked his car).
But it’s Wednesday, Taylor, and you’re only supposed to be delivering good news on Wednesdays.
Right. The good news isn’t what happened to Emmanuel Capitaine, but his attitude. He told Seven Days: “You have people separated … and compared to the hundreds of thousands of people who died in less than a year — a car is nothing. We haven’t been sick, my wife and I still have our jobs. We don’t really have a right to complain compared to the people who are suffering way more than ourselves because of this pandemic.”
Try to bring some of that into this next week with you. And wear a mask.