We are all given to complaining this year, and who could blame us, but before 2020 slips away, I want to say some good things about the city I live near, but not in: Detroit.
Much maligned, particularly by dipshit Republicans who still think we stole Michigan, I was reminded of how well Detroiters (and others, yes) did one thing this year: Test for Covid.
Starting in the spring, the mayor and one of our local billionaires teamed up for a mass testing regime that worked better than I ever expected it would. One of the billionaire’s companies has phone-bank employees who were either idled or handling way less work than they normally would, and they went to work for this project. The city used the idled state fairgrounds to set up a drive-through with six or eight testing stations. You called a number, made an appointment, and once you arrived, never got out of your car. For the check-in, you didn’t even have to roll down your window. Once you were checked in, it was simply a matter of waiting your turn. I had three tests, and never had to wait more than 15 minutes.
Since cold weather arrived, they’ve moved it to an indoor facility, but it still goes smoothly: Arrive. Park in a numbered space. Call a number, tell them you’re there, and they come to you.
It’s not perfect. There’s no same-day service, so if you wake up with symptoms, you’ll still need to go to an urgent care or other facility. They also don’t do the rapid-response tests, so the wait can be anywhere from two to five days, but those are about my only quibbles. If you need a test for an upcoming trip, say, and if you’re capable of the simplest advance planning, it’s great.
Also, did I mention it’s free? It’s free if you live in Wayne County.
I took it for granted until the holidays approached, and I was discussing a possible visit with my sister-in-law, who is incredibly wary of this disease. “Just get tested a week ahead and we’ll do the same,” I said, but in her small city there is no such program. She’d have to go to a hospital, and all require a referral.
Detroit’s numbers have gone up with the onset of cold weather, like everyone’s have, but on a per-capita basis, we’re doing pretty well. I credit the testing program for a big part of this.
I also want to say something about the election, which is still chapping my ass, weeks later. I wonder if every dumbshit who shared a stupid meme about the TCF Center, or “just thinks something must have been wrong in all that business” ever considered what it takes to put on an election in a city with 500 precincts, in a pandemic, with a new law that makes absentee voting easier, etc. etc. When you consider all of that? This election went down like a cold drink on a hot day.
There was a lot of help and support involved in making this happen, granted. People with deep knowledge of election law and the foresight to see what was coming got involved. The city clerk hired as a consultant a former state elections director, a man of sterling reputation and ironclad nonpartisan status. And there was a lot of grant money pumped into the system, which bought new equipment, paid staff and enhanced training. Of course there were bobbles. Of course mistakes were made. But in the end, for all the crowing about “imbalanced precincts,” the total number of votes described in that phrase were around 400, in more than 250,000 cast. Not one race could have been changed by that number of votes.
I’ve written before about the barely concealed racism behind the endless complaints about Detroit, which is one reason I’ve lost all tolerance for those who cannot let this go. It’s one thing to lose. It’s another thing to be a sore loser. But it’s a third thing entirely to be a malevolent force in the service of an evil individual, and at this point I don’t think any other adjective is needed to describe President Trump.
But now it’s nearly 2021 — the sun is setting as I finish this up — and 20 days in, we’ll be rid of that p.o.s., at least in the Oval Office. Let’s hope, when the sun rises tomorrow, we can wish one another Happy New Year, and actually experience it.
I’ll see you all after the weekend.