We are officially in the era of absurdity. President Joe Biden has asked those who are unvaccinated to wear masks to protect the vaccinated. While Democrats are pushing for a moratorium on evictions and rent, businesses cannot fill jobs. Inflation is rapidly rising, the Federal Reserve is printing gobs of money, and the government is running a massive deficit. At the same time, the Democrats want to spend even more money and argue that they can tax the rich to make it somehow all work out. What they forget to tell you is that inflation is a tax on everyone, especially the poor — as they end up spending a higher and higher amount of their income on necessities.

While Democrats have pushed for people to remain masked indoors, they’re not always following their own advice. Photos from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent fundraiser in Napa Valley and former President Barack Obama’s birthday bash in the Hamptons revealed guests with no masks, close together. This week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attended the Metropolitan Gala, a star-studded fundraiser where tickets cost $35,000 per person (tickets for Ocasio-Cortez and her boyfriend were comped, according to the NY Post.) She used the night to make a political statement via her attire, wearing a stunning white gown by Brother Vellies emblazoned with the phrase, “Tax the rich” in red on the back. At least she has a sense of irony — and probably laughed all night at the paparazzi taking pictures of the back of her dress. She could have used “help the poor,” but maybe her goal is not to help the poor — but simply to bring down the rich.

Meanwhile, according to a book titled “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa (out next week — hence the early release of hot information), General Mark Milley, who has served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff since Sept. 29, 2019, has super close ties to China. He called General Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army of China on Oct. 30, 2020, right before the presidential election, and again on Jan. 8, 2021, two days after the Capitol protest. According to Woodward and Costa, Milley told Li that he would warn him ahead of time if former President Donald Trump were to take steps to begin an aggression against China. Since the Constitution states that the president is the commander in chief, this action — if true — would be insubordination, a breaking of the chain of command and potentially treasonous.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

As a reminder, the definition of absurd is “utterly or obviously senseless, illogical or untrue; contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish or false,” according to Websters Online Dictionary.

But let’s continue.

This past Monday, the Atlantic published an article titled, “Our Most Reliable Pandemic Number Is Losing Meaning,” by David Zweig. In the article, Zweig referenced a recent study regarding COVID-19 hospitalizations and the way they are labelled. He noted that it is not always clear whether people reported as COVID-19 hospitalizations were hospitalized because of the disease or simply with the disease. In some cases, they may have been hospitalized for another reason with few or no symptoms of COVID-19, but they wound up classified as COVID-19 hospitalizations after routine tests proved positive.

“The study found that from March 2020 through early January 2021 — before vaccination was widespread, and before the Delta variant had arrived — the proportion of patients with mild or asymptomatic disease was 36%,” wrote Zweig. “From mid-January through the end of June 2021, however, that number rose to 48%. In other words, the study suggests that roughly half of all the hospitalized patients showing up on COVID-data dashboards in 2021 may have been admitted for another reason entirely or had only a mild presentation of disease.”

In other words, the numbers being spouted may be causing great fear, but they are close to meaningless.

In the meantime, we locked down to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in March 2020, but instead we created mental health crises for adolescents and young adults; other people gained weight, drank more alcohol and stayed inside too much. We should have been advocating for more exercise, more Vitamin D (spending time outside in the sun) and maintaining close social connections to keep up our mental health.

Oh, and one final absurdity: California Governor Gavin Newsom won the recall vote this week. Not because he is a good governor and not because his state is thriving, but because he managed to make the referendum about something other than his job performance. He made the campaign about the fact that his opponent was being endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Newsom might be a terrible governor, but he’s good at reading the political winds in his home state. Californians would rather have him than a Trump disciple.

All in all, we are living in an era of absurdity. Let’s hope it ends soon.

To find out more about Jackie Gingrich Cushman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.