I speak from a breaking heart and a sad realization that this situation our country is in has been changing my character in the eighth decade of life. I have never wanted to cost a worker their job, even when said worker was inadequate or had other annoying issues. “Walk in their shoes”, see their side, understand their lives has always been my mantra. Not that I didn’t rant occasionally to my daughter or a friend, but never to someone who could endanger the persons position. In fact, I nursed one inadequate office assistant for five years, until she finally talked back to one of the partners and it was out of my control. I have never wished harm on anyone. As a child I could not stand to kill Jack Rabbits with my trusty rifle and stuck to cans and targets. Even when people attacked me (verbally) I was generally inclined to look within myself for the cause.
As a Libra I have been doomed to see both sides of a dispute and preferred avoiding confrontation. As an introvert I have generally kept to the background when possible. Social media and the trajectory of our country have changed that to some extent, and I find myself actually stating opinions and fact checking the many misstatements that appear on line. So here I am, listening to the news regarding super spreader events in my country, and saying it will serve them right if they get the virus. It is a hard truth to admit, and something I deplore in myself. The problem is deniers are not just hurting themselves, without knowing it they could be infecting innocent bystanders, babies too young to wear a mask, people with inadequate masks, or spewing droplets so large they permeate a persons mask.
Of course it is all a hoax. A well known, youngish (from my vantage point), Tony Award winning actor has his leg amputated because of the virus, spends a couple of weeks in a coma on a ventilator, and
finally succumbs. You really believe that could be staged? And he, what, disappears into a witness protection program? Then there is the thirty year young man who attended a Covid party. Among his last words: ‘I think I made a mistake, I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not’, according to a health official. A caller to NPR stated how they had three relatives sick with the virus. They saw each one to the front of the hospital, into which the patients disappeared, never to be seen alive again. I cannot imagine the pain of having a loved one just….disappear.
Spread throughout this country are a hundred and thirty thousand or more families who are grieving family members as young as 5 and as old as 105, with all the ages in between. Even if the disease has only touched your life by preventing your work, or your fun, or your schooling, are we as a people so immune to others pain that we can carry signs that say “my freedom does not end where your fear begins”? Your freedom is threatened by wearing a mask? Oh my. Must we politicize death? Must we be filled with so much ego, so much hubris, that our “freedom” comes way before our neighbors right to survive? Why not call it “caution”? Are you going to saunter across a railroad track with an oncoming train in sight? The wise person would be “cautious” and make sure the track was clear…but of course that prevents your freedom of movement to cross when you desire.
This Coronavirus damages not only the lungs, but the kidneys, liver, heart, brain, skin and gastrointestinal tract. In other words, you might live with ongoing health issues that will affect you for a long time, possibly the rest of your life. This is a new virus, the medical profession admits they do not know all of its ramifications. It will take years to really analyze the effect the infection has on survivors. And they are not certain when, or if, a vaccination will be available.
In the meantime we live with an expanding hospitalization and death count of our fellow citizens. There is a tendency to blame Trump for our inability to control the spread, as so many other countries have been able to do. Of course the White House mishandled the pandemic, but a large share of the blame lies within ourselves, the youth that crowded ocean beaches because, after all, it really only affects the old and vulnerable. The ‘brave men’ intimidating state legislative bodies carrying their massive weaponry, the ladies shopping without masks and cursing anyone who criticizes them. The politicians themselves who forced voters to stand in long lines to cast their ballot, the religious bodies who felt a crowded church, and choir spewing droplets at each other, was necessary in order to pray to a ‘compassionate’ God. One woman stated bluntly that she was “covered in the blood of Christ and protected”.
And so I live with my new normal, not exactly wishing ill on the ignorant and conspiracy followers, but with the distinct feeling that they deserve to experience the impact of the virus personally. Sadly, as mentioned above, one such person realized his mistake too late. In the end I am so sorry for him and especially any family he may have, but the inner me is tremendously frustrated by the wilful blindness to science and reality. Unfortunately that frustration, that…let’s face it, anger…is now, without my actual choice, lying in the underground of my persona, leaving a dark smudge in my brain and tears in my eyes.
Stay as safe as possible, social distance and embrace the mask. Find a fun, unique one just for you!