24 April 2020

[Ryan Ralston] - AS THE COIN DESCENDS

“When I am king, you will be first against the wall, with your opinion which is of no consequence at all.” – Paranoid Android, Radiohead
“From time to time, I would watch you sleep. Oh, I wonder how much freedom we can dream.” – Having Been Is No Way To Be, Jeff Tweedy 

THE FLIP OF A COIN 
Have you ever flipped a coin as a way of deciding something with another person? If so, it was done with the belief you were getting a fair deal. A coin is equally likely to reveal heads or tails after a single flip. 

THE MECHANICS OF THE TOSS
When a coin is flipped into the air, it rotates about an axis parallel to its flat surfaces. The coin is initially placed on a bent index finger, and the thumb is released from under the coin, where it rested, balanced, and was held under slight tension. The thumbnail strikes the part of the coin unsupported by the index finger, propelling it skyward. This is done with an upward movement of the hand. The coin can fall to the ground or be caught. If caught, the coin is turned onto the back of the opposite hand of the flipper and then revealed as either heads or tails.

ESSENTIALLY, UNEMPLOYED
Early April 2020. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, in response to combating the spread of COVID-19, announced an executive order closing all businesses determined to be non-essential according to The U.S. Department of Homeland Security guidelines. The list of non-essential businesses included, but were not limited, to gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, theaters, concert venues, amusement parks, body art studios, spas, hair salons, and bars. Restaurants could remain open but were limited to takeout and curbside pickup. All Georgians were ordered to shelter in place, only leaving their homes to work (if their occupation was deemed essential), obtain food and household or medical supplies, exercise, or seek medical or behavioral health services. Social distancing guidelines were established. These measures were set to expire at the end of the month. Anyone caught violating this order, could potentially be found guilty of committing a misdemeanor. 
With the flip of a coin, tens of thousands of Georgians were essentially, unemployed. 



HEADS
If the private sector is to begin anew following this pandemic, as outlined by politicians, scholars, and economists, we must first acknowledge they carried us through it with unwavering leadership and compassion. 
We would have to begin by giving careful attention to those individuals who, through the calculated risk of restricting civil liberties, sustained us during a perilous time with principled decisions and guidance. This attention must be paid in the presence of examples. Every graph, chart, scientific study, computer model, ordinance, and executive order, were not only accurate and lawful, but presented and implemented flawlessly. 
This effort of thinking must confront governmental assertion of power as necessary, in the best interest of all during a public health crisis, and above everything else, be constitutional. Such thought is authenticated by its compatibility with scientific data, thoughtfully articulated during press conferences and media releases. 
This was not easy in a time overridden by sceptics and naysayers. Honesty was the common denominator found in both political parties and unbound freedom was subject to imposed state-wide government restrictions. 
We acknowledged the danger of unrestrained personal liberty, while voluntarily relinquishing our rights at the request of government. 
We accomplished our goal of flattening the curve, by raising concern for the general public during an unprecedented health crisis, through science and the adherence of social distancing guidelines. 
Opposition raged from a small few, who passionately disagreed with elected officials about the necessity of executive orders during a public health crisis, but ultimately, they complied.
In the end, politicians, scholars, and economists were right. The enacted measures, which only required ignorance of the basic constraints of government established by the constitution, under the threat of imprisonment and violence, worked.
Lives were saved. Suffering and loss, mitigated. 
The economy rebounded. Our temporary suspended way of life resumes normalcy. The uncontrollable was controlled. 


TAILS
It appears to be commonly assumed by politicians, scholars, and economists, that a competent understanding of our current public health crisis has been achieved. 
Those in power use their understanding - which they do not possess - only to absolve themselves from actual thought about actual concerns, impacting actual lives. These people have found inevitability an adequate explanation for their shameful, collective disregard for intelligent debate and personal responsibility. 
They look at the reason for discontent as fodder for bottom dwellers. What they do not see, behind that frustration, the denunciation that enraged so many from the onset. 
The loss being suffered was pronounced unavoidable and thus easily written off by those in power. In their perceived insignificance and dispensability, the impacted were socio-economically equal. For instance, if one family received assistance, then all would have received assistance, which would have disappointed neither political party come election day. There existed equality for all to share. 
But if the working class are dispensable, when then should they be counted for something and be more than their given titles of uneducated and non-essential
Did they need college degrees to merit worth? 
These uneducated were notified, via televised executive order, their lives were on hold, because they could, in theory, be replaced. Their work is non-essential. The financial impact on their families, of little consequence to those in power. The needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few. 
These were political calculations, which left many lower-to-middle-class families and small business owners with the inevitable fate of unemployment or bankruptcy. 
This inevitability, termed necessary by those in power, is in fact a poor excuse for the elimination of free will; it is callous and belongs equally to both political parties. Determinism and inevitability overrode the need for common sense and empathy. 
Some of the displaced reverted to anger and protest. 
Later, politicians claim a connection with the adversely impacted tradespeople, to feel their pain, when in fact, they have given nothing more than a rat’s ass about them for decades. After all, their contribution to the GDP, negligible. 
Let us not forget, come election time, the tens of thousands of workers who became obsolete at the instant when an executive order determined them and their families to be non-essential.
The economy suffered greatly and struggled to regain its record growth. Afterall, the economy is comprised of people. Our suspended way of life was forced to define a new normalcy. The uncontrollable was uncontrolled.

AS THE COIN DESCENDS 
Late April 2020. During a televised press conference, Kemp announces he is “allowing” those non-essential businesses to reopen, under strict state regulations and guidelines. The announcement that those businesses could open, if they choose, reverberates positively and negatively throughout Georgia. 
Opposition to one side by the other is scattered about as the coin descends. 

IN BETWEEN STATES (WHILE ASCENDING/DESCENDING)
The examined object is a coin. While ascending/descending the coin is simultaneously heads and tails, while being neither heads nor tails. It is, in between states. 
The outcome of the flip remains open until the coin lands on the ground or is caught by the flipper, who reveals its definitive state as either heads or tails. 
Projection moves toward certainty… 

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