By Dan Spalding
On Friday, I decided to get tested for COVID-19 after I learned I had been in close proximity to a Warsaw City Councilman who tested positive.
So I headed down to Central Park at about 8:30 a.m. Friday and was second in line at the free, state-run drive-thru clinic, which opened at 9 a.m.
As is almost always the case, my radio was tuned into a news channel, which was covering the 19th anniversary of 9/11. So I sat and listened and recalled those moments. A somber time of reflection, for sure.
What I got, though, was a dose of despair as I considered what’s happened in the past 20 years.
It made me realize how much life has not turned out the way I expected. I never thought the Twin Towers would be toppled. I never envisioned a pandemic would wreck an economy and change lives so drastically. I never expected racial riots would erupt across the country.
But most of all, I did not expect Americans to become so pigeon-holed, angry and unwilling to have an open mind.
The shrill anger is everywhere in a country filled in silos of thought that are in dire need of some sunshine and oxygen.
In just one week, I heard a former member of Congress suggest Black Lives Matter is run by Black Trans Marxists. A Republican I consider a friend continues to argue that everyone on the left is hellbent on destroying America. And a local elected official suggested CNN did not cover the 9/11 memorial on Friday and instead stuck with pandemic coverage.
It’s endless but certainly made worse by the pandemic.
Six months ago, when Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the state-wide shutdown, he pointed to July 4 as a date upon which we could return to normal. That moment passed by two months ago and people are still complaining about wearing masks as if doing so is part of some communist plot.
In the past week, I can name five people I know who have tested positive. A friend and former editor lost his father to COVID last week. My immediate thought was the unbearable sadness he faced in not being able to be there as his elderly father withered away.
Moments later, I started scrolling through Facebook and saw a comment from an acquaintance who was complaining about having to wear “face panties.”
That’s where we are today. More death and face panties.
TESTING – For what it’s worth, the nasal test wasn’t as bad as expected. I have an incredibly sensitive nose, so I was dreading the idea of a swab being shoved into the upper regions of my nasal passage.
But overall, it was a good experience. A state health employee greeted me with a long list of questions and double-checked all of the information twice. I never had to show an ID or an insurance card. The guy who administered the test was just as friendly and provided some good advice on how to make it easier. Lean back. Tilt your head. Brace yourself.
I took his advice, flared my nostrils and got through it with less aggravation than expected with little more than a belated sneeze. I’ll have the results in 3 to 5 days and a text message from the state thanked me for my cooperation.
For all the criticism leveled against the government, I am reminded that this is your tax dollars at work, providing a much-needed service free of charge.
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TRUMPED – If you didn’t like my criticisms last week of President Trump, you were not alone. One of those people who was displeased was Mike Ragan, the Kosciusko County Chair, who respectfully let me know what he thought about the item when I dropped into the GOP office Friday afternoon. You can read his entire thoughts in his letter to the editor posted earlier today.
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GAS LIGHTING – I had a conversation with a woman on Monday about how we cast our coverage of the three lake events as rallies for President Trump’s re-election bid, which I found really bizarre since almost all of the 13 photos we ran prominently featured Trump banners and flags, plus a lot of U.S. flags.
She complained that it was actually just a patriotic parade and that pitching it as a Trump rally was shoddy journalism because the organizer of one of the three events described it as a “patriotic” rally.
This is somewhat consistent with the patriotic rally held at the courthouse and organized by Kevin Kyle a few weeks ago. In his opening remarks, Kyle went on and on about his support for Trump, which is fine. While many of the other speakers focused more on other issues, including support for police, the crowd was decidedly pro-Trump.
What I don’t understand is why some are reluctant to just call it what it is. Is the emphasis on patriotism because critics contend President Donald Trump is aligned with Putin? Is it an attempt to suggest Joe Biden is unAmerican? What is the point?
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SIGN OF THE TIMES – According to a recent statewide poll, President Trump has an eight percent advantage over Joe Biden, which means the incumbent hasn’t lost much if any ground in the past four years in Indiana. That’s probably the case here in Kosciusko County where Republicans have already distributed 600 Trump yard signs and have ordered plenty more.
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GOOD NEWS – Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallmer found a rare bright spot amid the pandemic. He reported that premiums for the city’s health care service will be much less than expected next year as a result of fewer claims this year. City departments budgeted for a 15 percent hike, but it looks like it will be closer to 4.7 percent.
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ELECTION DAY COUNT DOWN – There are now 52 more days until the Nov. 3 Election Day. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 5.
Dan Spalding is the editor at InkFreeNews.com.
He covers city government and politics and always welcomes your input.
He can be reached at [email protected] or at (574) 855-7612.