Today I’m going to do something in this blog post that I don’t usually do. I’m going to be honest. And yes, I know how that sounds and what it implies, so before we get into it, I’m almost positive that I’ve never told a lie in a blog post and I strive for honesty in every topic I deal with here. But because of the things I haven’t talked about, I have told you less than the absolute truth. At least on this subject.
When I say “this subject,” you might wonder what I’m talking about. The truth is that I’m talking about everything. I’m talking about the planet Earth and the beings that inhabit it. I’m talking about life today. In the midst of a global pandemic and a presidential election year, (here in the U.S.), and of a great awakening of awareness of the centuries of racial inequality that is, like it or not, the theme that runs through all of American history.
If you’ve read this blog before today, you will know that I’ve written about the first and last of these current events, less so about the second. And so again I want to stress that I didn’t say anything that wasn’t true in those posts, or at the very least I believe what I said to be true.
Almost every day I look at my laptop at some point and I feel moved to say something, to do something about the things that are happening all around me. And, again, I have. I’ve written [ed note: You said that already], and I’ve done the things I know to be wise and beneficial regarding the pandemic, (wear a mask in public, hand sanitize or wash often, socially distance – sometimes with championship scope, although writers, in general, are pros at social distancing.)
But I don’t write about it every time the thought occurs to me that I should. There are many days when the best I can manage is an entry in my journal, (and here, I suppose, I’m once again withholding, as the contents of the journal will likely and necessarily remain secret until my biographer obtains them from my estate at a ridiculous price), and there is not one word inside of me that I can offer to the world that will improve anything for anyone.
So here comes the honesty. On this day, June 22, 2020, I am sad. I am profoundly sad. I am sad about almost everything my eyes fall upon. I ache for the families of every one of the 122 thousand Americans who lost their lives to the coronavirus, the 470 thousand across the world. I am sad the my nation accounts for over a quarter of all of the death we’ve seen. I am sad for the family and friends who have actually suffered from the disease and who, happily have recovered. Certainly I celebrate their victory over the virus, but the descriptions they’ve given me of what they felt and what they went through are just terrible.
I am equally weary of all that has come along with the disease, much of it revealing things about humankind that are truly heartbreaking. There was, at first, the same behavior one often sees when a hurricane is approaching. People flock to the stores to hoard things that may become difficult to obtain if the local Walmart is flattened by Hurricane Xavier. But it was worse. Because with the storm-hoarders, once they are not blown off the map, things go back to normal, and regular people can once again wipe their asses. This time it lasted for a very long time. For weeks it was impossible to find certain things, and even now buying anything capable of disinfecting surfaces is like panning for gold.
I would be happy to report that this represented the worst of it, but of course it didn’t. People protested in the streets about being required by their government to wear a mask when in public. Some even interrupted the business of their government by storming into chambers with firearms, dressed in body armor, calling what is clearly an act of terrorism some sort of “statement.” In my own city a pregnant woman was stabbed to death over a “social distancing argument.” I can’t wrap my mind around the willful blindness. Over one hundred thousand human beings died from a disease which is still completely active, and is just as capable of killing today as it did when the “curve” was at its apex. And these people are fighting for the right to expose themselves to it. And naturally it doesn’t end there, for they will invariably spread it to innocent people who have done all they can to keep themselves and others safe. In my mind that’s murder. It saddens me, and it sickens me.
Because at the same time people were protesting their right to die, a far larger, far louder group, reacting to the video of George Floyd being murdered by a Minneapolis police officer were protesting for their right to live. I don’t think I need to recap the event, or all of the subsequent and related events, both peaceful protests and violent riots and episodes of looting. We’ve all seen the flames, the tear gas, the punches thrown. We saw the old man knocked to the ground, then called by the president of the the United States a professional agitator. How can you not be sad? How can your heart not break?
And then there’s the election. I am relatively optimistic about the outcome, but here I come to the thing that makes me saddest of all. I am so confused and disoriented by the number of people who appear in every other way to be perfectly rational, intelligent human beings, continue to justify the bizarre, disgusting behavior of the head of the free world. Somehow a significant portion of a nation of allegedly educated people seem to have, with willful forethought, chosen to ignore the evidence of their eyes and ears. They have sworn allegiance to a man who has made statements in front of thousands of people and has been recorded doing so and then takes to Twitter to decry that the news reporting showing him saying what he said is, in fact, fake news. A man who, prior to being elected, was recorded saying the most disgusting, demeaning things a man can say about women, and then took to the podium to declare “no one respects women” more than he. He has an immigrant wife, but constantly panders to people who would have the country sealed in a dome if possible, constantly says we have a massive immigration problem, and even went so far as to complain about “chain immigration,” wherein a person gains citizenship, then sponsors relatives, allowing them to immigrate as well. Like his wife did, sponsoring her parents after marrying Donald and gaining her citizenship.
Donald Trump is without question the single worst mistake the American political system has ever made. And it shrouds me in a sadness so profound that it is almost crippling.
We have reached the part of this post where I apologize. I am sorry, because in my posts here, in my posts on Facebook, in my posts on Instagram, I have worked hard to be a voice of encouragement. And admitting to you that I am at this moment in time I feel almost completely discouraged makes me feel like something of a hypocrite. A fraud.
While this feels true, I hope it isn’t. I hope becoming discouraged doesn’t invalidate the encouragement I’ve attempted to share. I believe everything I’ve said. I believe we are capable of working through all the issues facing us in this ridiculously tumultuous time. All we have to do is make the choice. All we have to do is educate ourselves and then agree to accept the evidence that is plainly on display, to change what needs changing, to celebrate that which is worthy of celebration.
I’m just not seeing it.
I’m not seeing it, and now I’m feeling worn down. I’m feeling tired, physically beaten.
But I’ll be damned if, even as crappy as I’m feeling right now, I’ll end this post with no hope at all, even if I’m not seeing any at the moment. Because the things I’m fighting against gain ground and win when hope is abandoned. They thrive on sadness. They have become brave and stepped into the sunlight of late, but they are still made of shadows, and if we are unafraid we can expose the lies and promote the truth. We can remember that what matters is each other. We can never let anyone forget that each number on the graph, each point of data, represents a human life that was ended by something preventable.
So let me confess my sorrow, but also promise I have not abandoned hope. I’m just not seeing much reason for it.