Four months into the American pandemic emergency, and what is there left to say that’s still unspoken? How does one articulate just how swiftly, horrifyingly, our lives have changed forever? The way of existing as Americans that we knew prior to March of 2020 vanished in the quickest of breaths, and I think this might be what’s hardest to convey, how very quickly this all fell upon this. This virus was a page six item at best one week, and by the next a major breakdown of societal and governmental functions. If life in this country was already tending towards the absurdly surreal in early 2020, this has ushered us into the nightmare territories of pure, unfathomable madness. Our comically-awful luck of having the worst imaginable ‘leadership’ in power, and with the most willfully stupid and self-absorbed of followings, when this virus hit cannot be understated. If we ever contemplated the likelihood of something like this, we surely comforted ourselves that there must be some carefully-arranged contingency in place, some national plan to spring into action at the first warning. Instead, we find ourselves utterly confused, poleaxed, unable to chart a path in proceeding. This disease, and the shockingly stupid response to it, are truly unprecedented. 138,000 dead here while the oppositonal defiant adult-toddler cultists pretend it isn’t happening, calling it a ‘hoax’. If ever there was a calamity set into motion to reveal the ultimate failures of state Fascism and anti-science lunacy, then COVID-19 is it.
As days grow ever more surreal and hazy, I think some of us may feel as if a timeline were jumped somewhere, that we were shuffled off unwillingly onto some dark trail of hypotheticals, running parallel to the comfortable and complacent ‘normal tenor of things’, invisible beyond our grasp. Like so many, I’m guilty of having been enchanted by the idea of some sweeping, grand apocalypse. We’ve romanticized it for decades past as some sort of glamorous freedom, a chance to start fresh on our own terms, rugged and determined. Now I’m ashamed of such daydreams and fantasies. I just want my life back, my greedy, self-serving, privileged American existence. And if somehow the disease were to cease tomorrow, how do we ever find our way back as a country, morally? From insisting we don’t need to consider the health of others (or ourselves!)? That that is somehow tyranny?
I create. I distract myself. It’s ‘self-care’ but it’s also inherently selfish. Those among us in this country that are still sane, still immune to the far-right Republican reprogramming of the past half-decade, should be fighting to right our nation’s course. Instead, we blog, we complain, we sigh, knowing that it’s all too much, that this sort of mass communal trauma will have lingering effects for generations upon generations. We shut it out, we focus on minutiae. We go on, but at what cost?