While I’m lining up interviews with a few people I have in mind who can offer insights on this space about the pandemic, I thought I would conduct a quick Q&A with myself. Here are excerpts of Jim McKeever interviewing Jim McKeever. It got a little heated toward the end, but we’re fine now.
Q. Who do you rely on for factual information and guidance about the Coronavirus and COVID-19?
A. Every day I read “Letters from an American” from esteemed historian Heather Cox Richardson and I pay attention to medical experts, public health officials, dedicated journalists and legitimate news sources.
Q. Do you worry about getting infected with the virus and becoming seriously ill?
A. I think about it, sure, but I wouldn’t say I worry. I take necessary precautions — I wear a mask in stores and elsewhere in public, and I carry one with me when I run (solo). I’m sure I could be more vigilant. I don’t change my clothes as soon as I get home from a store, for instance. Maybe I should.
Q. Do you ever forget to practice social distancing?
A. I did a few times early on, but I’m far more cognizant of it now.
Q. Do you have friends who think the virus is an overblown hoax designed to hurt Trump?
A. Next question.
Q. There’s a lot of humor on social media about the virus, funny songs and memes, stuff like that. Is this approrpriate?
A. Humor is crucial, but I have to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate it. Some parody songs and memes are great, others, meh. As long as it’s not cringeworthy or incredibly offensive, I’m OK with it.
Q. How do you engage on social media as far as COVID-19 is concerned?
A. I try to share factual articles and posts (my own and others’) that I hope will help people cope or that they can identify with. I’m probably over the limit on “angry” emojis on Facebook. Instagram can be a refuge, Twitter is a cesspool.
Q. What have been your highest and lowest moments during isolation?
A. Highs are staying in video touch with my granddaughter, who just turned a year old, my sons, my running buddies and my fellow progressive activists. Lows are not being able to be near any of them, of course, but the worst thing is the relentless barrage of lies and corruption from the White House and the willful ignorance of Trump’s supporters and sycophants. It can be paralyzing.
Q. Do you have any solutions to offer or do you just like to complain?
A. My only solution is to rely on the experts in medical science and public health, not on political hacks looking to get re-elected. I guess that qualifies as a complaint, but too bad.
Q. Have you succeeded in changing the minds of people who disagree with you on topics you’re passionate about, like immigration?
A. I’ve tried and failed, many times. I haven’t heard much pushback lately because honestly, any supporter of Trump or Congressman John Katko who happens to be in my orbit has never set foot near the border. And syracuse.com did away with comments, so the anonymous haters can’t hide anymore and call me a snowflake. Ouch.
Q. How do you see the rest of 2020 playing out?
A. Best case scenario? A COVID-19 vaccine, a society that learns its lessons and finds its humanity; Trump and the GOP lose big on Nov. 3, Democrats get control of all three branches. Worst case scenario — more people suffer and die, a second and third wave of COVID, Trump and McConnell win rigged elections. Democracy dies. That may sound hyperbolic, but it’s not. Thank you for not rolling your eyes.
Q. Come on, man, you’re in your 60s, live comfortably and will be fine no matter what, most likely.
A. You’re setting me up with that question. Nice try. I don’t want my sons and their partners, my granddaughter and future grandkids, or anyone else for that matter to live under tyranny. It’s bad enough now. These next six months are our last chance. If that sounds alarmist, wake up — the alarm’s been going off for more than three years.
Q. Any last thoughts?
A. Read George Saunders’ futuristic “Love Letter” to his grandkid, or listen to it as you read along. Thanks for your time.