On some future golden morning, we will all look back on this plague with thankfulness for its end, and with clarity on its history and effects upon us that can only come with the advantage of perfect retrospect. Until then, we can only analyze our situation as current actors in this drama. That is a challenging task. As my father used to say, “It’s tough to tell the time when you’re the hands on the clock.” As but one of those hands on the clock, here are five COVID comments.

The elephant in the room is the 2020 election. Essentially, the virus has provided a kind of referendum on the choice for President. If the country survives and returns to economic order in the “new normal,” Trump will get a second term. If the virus prevails, supported by a “second wave” and the economy tanks, Biden wins the day. The liberal media will do all possible to push the latter position. It was, therefore, mind boggling to recently see an interview on CNN with the Purdue University president who said, “There should be no hindsight recrimination on the plans and procedures of the administration to defeat the virus.” The look of stunned disappointment on the interviewer’s face that the “bad-Trump” meme didn’t get support was palpable.

Hartstone heartbreak. Last night, my wife and I threw caution to the wind and, with Gov. Mills’ approval, decided to dine in at one of our favorite restaurants, the Hartstone Inn. We did this knowing there are those out there who, having internalized all the fear mongering, would not attend a restaurant if they were paid to go. Although we had a superb meal and great servers, we were stunned to see only one other dinner party in the entire place. Our hostess told us that, because of Mills’ 14-day quarantine requirement, the inn was empty. A business cannot be turned on and off like a water faucet. Maine’s excessive restrictions on businesses will destroy an entire tourist season, and the impact upon Mainers who depend on this industry will be devastating.

False dichotomy. There is a position out there that one must choose between economy (reopen) or health (stay locked down). This view is both simplistic and unfair. While 40% of all those who earn less than $40,000 per year are out of work, there is a group of people whom Michael Lind calls the “overclass” — scientists, doctors, political figures, consultants who call the shots for average folk. They ignore the fact that annually 127,000 people die on average from drug overdose and suicide. Most certainly this number will increase with an extended lockdown. Plain and simple, the economy must, with appropriate safety procedures, reopen or else the cure will, indeed, be worse than the problem.

Gideon’s gaffes. Someone has to tell Sarah Gideon to stop her negative campaign of dark money ads that are shamelessly untrue about Sen. Collins, and grossly hypocritical in that they claim Collins benefits from the very pharmaceutical companies that fund Gideon’s ads. One such ad says the “Legislature is hard at work addressing health concerns.”  If this off-duty Legislature is hard at work, I would like to see what slacking off is. Meanwhile, Collins has, indeed, been delivering for Maine: $2B for her authored PPP helping 26K small businesses and supporting 200K jobs; $333M to health care providers; $69M to expand COVID testing; $20M for commercial fishermen; $1.2B to support state and local governments replace lost revenues. Furthermore, can Sen. Collins, just named by the Lugar Institute at Georgetown University for the seventh year in a row, as the “most bipartisan senator in Congress” really be called a radical Republican? The Gideon gaffes must end.

Socialism preview. The mind-numbing trillions of dollars of aid to people and businesses has given us an eye-popping look at what socialism would look like if the Biden-Sanders-Cortez concept of government were to prevail. Workers who earn more staying at home than working would only be the tip of the socialism iceberg. However, with a limited work force and reduced revenue-generating businesses, Margaret Thatcher’s famous quote, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money,” cries loudly to us.

Only time will tell whether these comments are prescient, but this has been my effort at analysis as one of “the hands on the clock.”

Another View is a Maine Press Association award-winning column written by Midcoast conservative citizens/writers Jan Dolcater, Ken Frederic, Paul Ackerman, Doc Wallace and Dale Landrith Sr.