We need this tree’s determination to thrive. Split rock, as needed.
By Caitlin Kelly
It’s not a joke or a hoax.
It’s forcing everyone to re-think every element of our lives: work, relationships, employment, money, access to government aid, education, worship, mourning, celebrations, trust in government, the safety and reliability of medical and hospital care.
Many people have died. Some are very ill. Some wonder — without easy access to testing — if they’ve even been infected with COVID-19, its now official name.
It’s forcing Americans, especially, to behave in ways that run counter to how they’ve been socialized for decades — i.e. to behave as individuals, to behave as they please, free of most government interference, (but also government aid.)
Writing in this week’s New York Times, Donald McNeil says:
Is that what some countries are missing? This sense of collective action and selflessness?
That is absolutely what many Americans are missing — that it’s not about you right now. My parents were in the World War II generation and there was more of a sense of, “Hey, we did something amazing; we ramped up this gigantic societal effort.” It was this sense of we’re all in this together.
We’ve got to realize that we’re all in this together and save each other’s lives. That has not penetrated yet and it needs to penetrate because we all have to cooperate.
When you grow up not giving a damn about “the other” — people unrelated to you or you’ve never met and why would you even consider universal healthcare for the “undeserving”? — a pandemic throws this thinking out the window.
The nation’s addiction to capitalism and for-profit healthcare and limited government has also led to this crisis — you can’t keep an economy centered on consumer spending alive when no one is shopping or traveling or buying a house or a car.
The wealthy? They’ve already hopped aboard their private jets, and are safely ensconced in their third or fifth home, like the guy writing to The New York Times who fled New York for his house in Rhode Island.
In a time when Americans have never been more divided racially and economically and politically, this virus doesn’t care.
Like it or not, ready or not, we’re all intertwined now
People may look, sound, earn and vote just as you do — and still be carrying and widely spreading this lethal virus.
I finally went out for a walk yesterday on our town reservoir path — lots of people (safely distant!) walking, running, biking. It felt great to be out of the apartment and moving.
It’s no fun being stuck indoors all the time.
It’s really hard not to get irritable and snappish if you share a small space with others.
Yes, people are really disappointed by cancelled parties and weddings and kids’ sports and graduations.
Stay home and be responsible.
We have to buck up.
I wish, more than anything, we could still hear the wise and seasoned voices of those who survived WWII, who knew the kind of shared terror we’re only now beginning to feel — and who can share the mental strength and stamina they all needed to get through it.
Here’s my new theme song, from one of my favorite bands, The Talking Heads: