I could have written about the second impeachment trial of donald trump [sic et seq.] in a year for what one would call “high crimes and misdemeanors” in a normal world. But, the pandemic notwithstanding, what constitutes ‘normal’ in America anymore? I could have written about the brilliant case that Rep. Jamie Raskin and the other Impeachment Managers brought against trump and the vote to convict by seven Republicans. But then I’d have to write about the case trump’s lawyers brought. Imagine a blank page here. I could have written about Mitch McConnell’s vote to acquit on a point that the Senate had already deemed irrelevant before the trial began, but then I’d have to write about his scathing remarks after the vote. Nancy Pelosi handily called him out on that one.
I could have written about the historic winter storm that paralyzed Texas last week. But you probably watched it on the news while we sat without power – in the energy capital of the world – because of ineptitude in the highest state offices. Gov. Greg Abbott blamed the disaster on windmills, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and a Green New Deal that doesn’t exist instead of accepting responsibility for an infrastructure, including a natural gas system, woefully unprepared for a storm of this magnitude because – well, we’re Texans, and we don’t need no help from nobody.
I could have written about ted cruz [sic et seq.], and how he abandoned his constituents during a climate crisis to evacuate his family to Cancun and then threw his children under the bus when he got caught. Thank you to whoever leaked cruz’s travel plans, including his return ticket, dated Saturday, February 20th, not Thursday, February 18th, when he sheepishly rolled through Intercontinental Airport. Meanwhile, Winter Storm URI left countless Texans dead, millions without power, and nearly 15 million with water issues. This disaster could exceed the $125 billion in damage from Hurricane Harvey. As bad as Harvey was – and it was a doozy – it only affected the Gulf Coast. Uri, on the other hand, impacted the entire state, an area of 268,597 square miles. Ten European countries or 243 Rhode Islands can fit into Texas.
When he’s up for re-election, Texans should wonder how cruz would have acted at the Alamo.
I could have written about the sad milestone we reached this week: over 500,000 Americans have died of COVID. I can only say, may their memories be eternal.
So, given the title of this article, what finally did go right? My COVID vaccine, that’s what.
Like everyone else, I checked registration sites every day, set my phone and emails for notifications, had my daughter keeping track while I was in class. The map of providers in Sugar Land and Houston was discouraging: no doses of either vaccine. Even though I’m clearly in Category 1B, I didn’t panic. First of all, I’ve been ensconced in front of my computer since March 13, 2020. My routine is as safe as it can be during a pandemic. Second, I believed things would improve after Joe Biden’s inauguration. Sure enough, on January 21st, my new BFF Erika called from the Fort Bend County Health Department to set up my appointment for the following week.
I received my first Pfizer vaccine at 10:12 A.M. at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds on January 28th. I had received my registration documents in an email and showed the completed forms to the person who checked my temperature before I entered the first building. I made out another form sitting at a table that was immediately sanitized and used a pen that was immediately replaced. I waited in line for maybe 10 minutes, got my vaccine, and waited another 15 minutes to make sure I was okay. After my 15-munute wait, I received my appointment for vaccine #2 and a gift bag consisting of two bottles of hand sanitizer, 50 face masks, and a package of sanitizing wipes. My tax dollars at work. I was in and out in 40 minutes.
My second appointment was scheduled for February 19th, right in the middle of the winter storm. Other locations were pushing appointments a week, so I wasn’t worried. Mine was re-scheduled for two days later at the original time. Again, I received my shot at 10:12, sat for 15 minutes, was in and out in 45, no gift bag this time. Better yet, I had no reaction to either shot, not even arm pain.
The medical staff and volunteers were friendly, helpful, patient, and reassuring. Besides all the precautions and temperature checks, social distancing, mask-wearing, sanitizing, and gift bags, they serve a vulnerable, frightened population – aren’t all Americans vulnerable and frightened nowadays? – with grace and selflessness.
That’s why they’re called heroes.
That’s why something finally did go right.