No, I’m not talking about putting up wallpaper with little COVID molecules on it. Maybe I’ll consider that for a Halloween haunted house though, to scare all the liberals into wearing masks 😉
I’m actually talking about how COVID has covered over a whole list of other serious issues. For the past two years, the main topic of discuss in almost all suburban homes has been COVID and its impacts on the home and family. It’s difficult to have a conversation with any of my friends that doesn’t touch on the disease in some way. The problem with this is it removes focus from a lot of other problems.
For example, our military is facing a manpower crisis. If you only read some headlines, you’d see that the Navy met its recruitment goals for the year. But that covers up the fact that its hemorrhaging manpower at a higher than normal rate. It can’t fill its sea billets that contribute the most to its ability as a fighting force, and it can’t keep Surface Warfare Officers.
Evaluating personnel data from 2004 to 2020, the agency found from Navy data that retention for SWOs was so low that the service changed how it inducted junior officers to ensure an adequate number of department heads for surface ships.USNI News
In my community, my detailer already announced that there were significantly more retirements than expected, and they will simply be gapping billets. I’m not even mad at the detailer, he is simply working with what he has.
What about our economy? Everyone is focused on COVID’s impact to the supply chain, but there has been little focus on the brittleness of our economy. The fact that most of our advanced microchips come out of one country (Taiwan), or that most if not all of rare earth metals come from one country (China), or that our infrastructure has been ravaged for years by poor management and maintenance with nobody held accountable (see multiple dam collapses that past two years), or that we can’t seem to manage water in the state that produces most of our produce (California), or that we have a massive power crisis because we’ve been shutting down nuclear power plants (even Vox! says its a problem).
These economic problems have solutions that take years to implement. Some solutions are finally coming, such as Intel’s new chip plant being placed in Ohio. But its woefully behind schedule, and a glance through Biden’s “Build Debt Better!” plan didn’t show much resolution for any of these. In most cases, its not financing that is the issue, its holding the people responsible for the day-to-day management of these problems accountable, something that government in general has a bad track record of accomplishing.
But probably the worst bit of COVID wallpaper is cultural. COVID has become the excuse for people to live out their worst tendencies. Want to publicly shame people online and in-person? Want to kick people out of their jobs for personal medical decisions? Want to make demands of other people’s children? Want to do all this from the isolated safety of your home while you work on your laptop? Then COVID was just the thing for you! It’s no surprise that so many people don’t want the COVID restrictions to go away, because it removes their ability to boss others around.
COVID is like cheap wallpaper. It’s covering up a whole magnitude of other problems, and as the crisis goes away, we’re going to realize that we have always had much more important problems to solve.
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you like this post, please consider supporting the author by purchasing his book.