How are we going to endure this time? How can we, as a people, individually and collectively, be expected to survive this period of pandemic, destruction and collective sadness for the state of the America we grew up with? We seem to be locked in a death spiral between those who believe that America is a nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that ALL men (people) are created equal, and those who believe that freedom and liberty belong to them and those who look and act like them alone. We are relitigating the Civil War all over again, but with technology platforms sowing division through mis- and disinformation CONSTANTLY. I’ll be honest; I’m feeling a little more pessimistic than usual today.
I am not going to talk about the news as it is already being reported by people far more talented than I am. But things are starting to really stack up, and the human psyche has not evolved to handle so much external stress. The fear and uncertainty about the progression of the novel coronavirus on the population has permeated the culture, causing more division. Division between those who are privileged enough (or manipulated) to believe that they are immune, or the virus isn’t real, or whatever, because their sources of “news” profit off their loyalty and the ensuing chaos and those who understand, at least conceptually, that science is generally about learning, isn’t always correct, but that public officials are GENERALLY doing their best to protect their constituents from harm. Some issues are so large that they simply cannot be resolved by more “freedom,” loosening gun regulations and passing stand-your-ground laws. The virus will only be brought down by rigorous use of science to discover facts, leaders who communicate those facts to the public and actions of all, based on trust, that are not intended purposefully to harm others. The ONLY way to come out of this on the other end with an America anyone can recognize is to pull together.
So layer on top of that the racial violence perpetrated on black people (to an extent, all racial and ethnic minorities and other diverse groups) by figures of supposed authority, namely law enforcement. From all angles, those with power are systematically inflicting trauma on those with less power. It is devastating.
I have no prescription. There is no quick fix for any of our ills now. We will all have to claw our way out of this hole and help those who are coming up behind us. If we aren’t prepared to fight for those who have less power than we do, to hold space, to use our privilege to stand up for those who are not like us, we will all fall to tyranny.
If we are divided, we will be conquered.