And Then There Was Corona

Not since World War II has our entire planet been universally threatened by a single issue. And although scary as hell, war is something tangible and visible… progress can be measured by battles won and people come together in song and public displays of solidarity. The war we’re fighting today can’t be seen with the naked eye and coming together in public is being strongly discouraged. We’re withdrawing into our homes, fighting a silent enemy that’s not usually deadly, but has the capacity to bring about great illness and suffering by overwhelming our already fragile healthcare system. Perhaps what’s worse than the disease itself, is the hysteria it’s causing among the population. People are hoarding groceries as if there was some finite event about to occur, like an approaching hurricane or asteroid. When in reality, we’re just being asked to stay home and watch TV, or even read a good book. Like our soldiers on the front lines during the last great war, our healthcare professionals are working around the clock trying to heal the sick, while doing their best not to become infected or infect others in the process. The planet is actually unified in a way previously unseen against this common enemy, using technology and science to help each other whenever possible. Being that our planet has been divided more than ever, perhaps this biological event is happening for that exact reason. Perhaps what Ronald Reagan said about the human race coming together due to an alien attack, will actually happen because of mother nature deciding it was time to play nice.

Ocean Drive In Miami Beach, Florida. Although scary looking, this has nothing to do with COVID-19, rather an approaching hurricane by the name of Frances almost 20 years ago. Perhaps people are hoarding items because their only point of reference are things like storms?

Today my co-workers and I texted each other, asking everyone to be safe until we see each other again. We don’t know when this will happen because we’ve been asked to work from home until further notice. Talk about a surreal movie like experience, the only thing missing was foreboding music playing in the background. There are many of course that can’t work from home, so I’m incredible thankful for this blessing. My mother is 83, and since I recently came home from a vacation aboard a cruise ship, I don’t dare get anywhere close to her. My sister visits to check on her, donning a mask and latex gloves. Of course similar stories like this are playing out all over the world, as social distancing becomes the norm. Bars and restaurants in Miami are still open, but that’s already in the process of changing as many cities decide that’s not in the best interest of public health. I went to an outdoor restaurant on Saturday with no one sitting close by, until a group came and sat at the table right next to me. One of the persons in the group was an older and very animated gay man, that couldn’t help but loudly and graphically tell everyone how he puked at a bar the night before. A perfect example of why governments are taking the actions they have in regards to limiting contact with others.

Many stand to lose a lot of money and possibly their livelihoods, since their jobs depend on interacting with the public in some way or another. However, COVID-19 as it’s been named, doesn’t discriminate… it’s equally destructive to the poor, the wealthy, and in-between. Stocks are falling as markets tank, and millionaires are losing their millions. Some might argue that those with access to healthcare stand a better chance of getting better once infected, however that’s only for the few that manage to get access in the first place. Hospitals don’t have enough beds to handle this kind of event, they don’t build massive wards that are kept empty for an event like this. They build for maximizing profit, not for biological phenomena that might never happen. In fact this virus is challenging the very systems that built this country and others like it, including those that use some form of fear or oppression to manage their population. In China for example, the death of a doctor trying to raise awareness of the virus through social media, has caused citizens to greatly distrust their government for making it illegal to disseminate information without approval. Here at home in the US, people are criticizing the government’s response… this morning I read that Devin Nunes is actually encouraging people to go out and patronize their local bars and restaurants, despite experts, and well most of the planet, saying otherwise. Tiny little virus, huge impacts.

“Yeah this is a lot like some movies we’ve seen or books we’ve read, it’s going to be scary at times, but our grandparents went through this for years during World War II. “

This entire experience also brings to light how fragile we are as a species. We may have the ability to destroy our planet through weapons and pollution, but our planet can wipe us out just as effectively, and with much less damage. I truly believe that nature has a way of restoring balance when needed, and that humans are an afterthought when it comes to complex history of life on this planet. We’re brand new residents in the scheme of things, and if we don’t watch ourselves, our arrogance may cause an eviction by the landlord. It’s time to respect nature, and the delicate ecosystems that have brought us much abundance through food, shelter and medicine.

Disinfectants like bleach have become a scarce item. And for some unknown reason, so is toilet paper.

So here’s the deal, stay home if you can and try not to worry yourself sick over things which are completely out of your control. Grocery stores remain open, even in places where everything public has been closed, the exception is always food supply outlets. There’s no need to panic and buy up everything you can find, especially toilet paper. Holy shit that has to be the weirdest thing ever. Yeah this is a lot like some movies we’ve seen or books we’ve read, it’s going to be scary at times, but as my friend Karen pointed out, our grandparents went through this for years during World War II. Also since everyone is paying attention to see if you cough, sneeze or are wearing a mask, try going the extra mile and showing them a smile. Maybe even say “Hello” or display the Vulcan gesture for “Live long and prosper.” More than ever we need to let others know we’ll be there for them, even if just for a phone call or a simple text message. The psychological aspects of this event are just as important as the biological. Above all, don’t panic, this isn’t the end of the world. Although it may very well be a wake up call.

Divided We Fall

These are not good times for someone like me. I love nature and the outdoors, and as we speak our national parks are being dismantled by our President. Raped for their natural resources, I’m watching in real time as one protection after another is being rolled back in the name of greed. Clean water protections are also being rolled back, in a day when areas like Flint Michigan still haven’t recovered from their enormous dilemma. Hibernating bears and their cubs can now legally be shot, and people can import animal trophies from Africa. Gay and Lesbians are being targeted all over the country, as hate crimes rise and legislation which legalizes discrimination is being passed. Separation between church and state is no longer a thing, as evangelicals influence our President, while simultaneously screaming for satanic pregnancies to be aborted. Children are being sexually abused while in US custody, and guns are everywhere. The concept of a “well regulated militia” as described in the Second Amendment seems to escape those defending it. The line between fact and opinion has been removed, and truth has become entirely relevant. Almost half of the people reading this post will consider it complete lies, despite there being documentation and facts to back it up. And then there’s the ones that will agree with me, but say it’s been also done by the leaders I supported, never mentioning that it needs to stop or is morally unacceptable. Apparently “she did it too” or “what about what she did” is an acceptable defense or reason for allowing all of these things to continue, without attempting any kind of remedy.

This nation is extremely divided and no one wants to budge. There are those so eager to prove their point and defend their side, they are willing to turn their backs on members of their family and own community in the process. One would think that if your loved one was being placed in any kind of danger or harm by a political party, you would withhold any kind of support. Yet families with gay and lesbian members seem to have little or no issue with the ramifications of legislation that would directly affect their LGBTQ brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. This is actually occurring within my own family as I’m writing this, and I’ve found myself comfortably disconnecting myself from them without regret. Even members of the gay community have turned their backs on their own, stating publicly that they deserve it for their outspoken behavior. I have a gay friend that literally stated our community deserves this President, and sited as an example, the way they dance on parade floats. I wish I was being facetious, but I’m not.

When friends and family members are turning on each other, it’s obvious that doing the same to neighbors and co-workers is a no brainer. After all, they don’t share a fraction of the emotional investment. And then there’s strangers…. who are they anyway? We’ve seen this in play so often on the news, as many Caucasians are calling the police to report African Americans for nonsensical issues, such as walking in their neighborhood… banking on the racial friction and disparity being experienced currently by law enforcement and people of color. When you start viewing people as less than worthy or even human, simply because they don’t support your elected leader, there’s a huge problem. And it’s happening everywhere and getting worse on a daily basis. One can’t help but to draw parallels to Nazi Germany, and revisit a time in human history where neighbors turned against neighbors, and reported those hiding Jews. Not unlike the way immigrant neighbors without proper documentation are being reported to law enforcement today. Being pulled over in a vehicle for looking Hispanic and being asked to prove your citizenship, is something we only saw in fictional movies up until now.

Scary times for someone like me. It seems that everything I believe in is under attack from those pretending to protect it. I fear for the future of this country, I’m not sure how this level of division is sustainable. While we fight and argue over caring for own citizens with programs like universal health care, our rivals are growing more prosperous and stronger… because they actually provide for their population. As a wise friend recently explained to me, the age of telling your kids “there’s starving children in China” has past. The starving kids are right here and we’re being left behind on the global landscape. We’re so busy fighting, proving we’re right and concerned with what the Kardashians are doing, that we don’t realize we’re in the slow lane and everyone is passing us.

Time to get our shit together.