This entire year has felt like a series of impossibilities, things we never thought we would see. At times it felt like a cosmic joke as the events that unfolded seemed beyond any reality we could imagine. The truth is that, while this year has shown us things we never thought we would see, it is really exposing all things we could no longer ignore. This is the year we are being called to action. Because when things need to change, it isn’t enough to speak of them—it is necessary to move forward into the territory of the unknown. We can only ignore what we need to do for so long until outside sources put enough pressure on us to incite movement.
As a whole we have witnessed the mishandling of a global pandemic. As things start to reopen due to public insistence, we will soon face the reality that the decision to open this soon was also not the right choice. I have seen calls for kindness and tolerance of people who fall on different sides of the coin in this matter. I have seen people boldly declaring “you do you and I’ll do me” in reference to what people are going to choose to partake in. I have seen people trying to push a comparison between afraid and unafraid when it comes to what people are comfortable doing with the state reopening.
The truth is I have never witnessed such childish behavior from adults. It’s beyond childish—it’s selfish, entitled, and dangerous. It is the epitome of handing a toddler a butcher knife. It brings out a level of frustration in me that feels like it could torch the world.
When it comes to the matter of disease there are some very simple facts. First, the nature of any disease can and does change quickly. That can either be for the positive or negative meaning, it proves to be either more or less dangerous than we thought. When it comes to Covid, it is simply too early to make a clear distinction about where it falls on that scale. YES we know more about it than we did 3 months ago. But do we know enough about it to determine how it is going to evolve? Do we know enough to establish a SAFE and effective vaccine? NO. Second, when we don’t know those things with at least 90% certainty, we are not prepared enough to move into the next phase of ANYTHING. People are touting that this disease has a 90% survival rate with 10% mortality, which may be true. But the regular mortality rate for most cases in hospitals is from 1% to 3%. This is a significant increase and just because you haven’t been affected by the illness, a large majority have been and it isn’t ok to ignore what others are going through.
Third, the real reason people have been so determined to get life “back to normal” has nothing to do with their fear of being controlled. It has to do with the fact that during one of the biggest crises this generation has ever seen globally, one of the most financially strong countries in the world left its citizens to fend for themselves. The powers that be supported business over its people forgetting that without people, business doesn’t exist. We were told to stay home while simultaneously being expected to pay our bills. People lost their jobs because companies had to close. We were told to not go to the store but places couldn’t even keep toilet paper on the shelves. We. Had. To. Fight. For. Toilet. Paper. We were not cared for at the highest level. I will be the first to admit there was no manual on handling a pandemic, but I sure as hell know that we need to feel safe in order to try something new. We needed to know that we were safe. If this is really about getting back to normal, shame on you. Because normal wasn’t working for everyone and until it does, normal isn’t good enough. Put on your adult underwear and deal with the fact that things change.
Fourth, this isn’t going to end until we start thinking outside of the box. There are just too many unknowns and that means that what we think we know may not apply here. This may be a time when rushing forward isn’t the answer. This may be a time of figuring it out. I’m not suggesting we wait forever. But I am suggesting that we do a better job of acclimating to reality and that the powers that be let go of their love of money in favor of love of humanity. This simply means doing the right thing. Keep people healthy and do whatever it takes to do that. This isn’t a civil rights issue that needed to be overturned by courts—this is a public health issue that requires people to do as they are told.
There are additional public issues happening now. I feel compelled to address the George Floyd atrocity. For those of you focused on the riots, the way people are protesting, I am so unbelievably sad for you. You are completely missing the point. You are missing the fact that we have left an entire community of people on the outside and said their pain is wrong. The hurt of the African-American community spans generations and the fact that these atrocities are still occurring means that this is a hurt that exists. It is real, it is tangible, and it is happening. If you’re focused on the riots, you’re oblivious to the human suffering that is happening today at the hands of people we entrust with our safety. You’re also incredibly privileged to be able to live your life without those fears or that pain. If you can’t get to that level of compassion and understanding, then you have nothing to contribute to the conversation but more hurt.
With all of that being said on both issues, the bottom line is there is a lot of fear and hurt right now. Fear manifests as anger. So instead of anger, I want to share this. I am profoundly grateful for everything that is happening right now. I am grateful for leadership that continues to ignore real issues and to gaslight and that mismanages real public issues. I am grateful because all of this unrest is leading to action from the people. I am grateful that the voices of the few now outweigh the voices of the rich. I am grateful that we are finally in a situation where we know that there are things occurring that can no longer be ignored. And I pray that as things continue to evolve, we continue to raise our voices for health, safety, and equality. This world is crying in so many ways and we need to hear it. We need to hear the words and heed them. Our actions impact each other no matter how isolated we feel we are.
Regardless of how you feel about either situation discussed, I encourage you to question and go deeper. I encourage you to try and see things differently. I encourage you to hear all sides. I encourage you to entertain new ideas about where you stand. I encourage you to act in ways that benefit us all.