The past week or so I’ve been scattered mentally, unable to concentrate, unable to sit down and write anything coherent.
It’s the cumulative effect, not of social distancing, but of the relentless onslaught of lies and corruption from the White House, and the blatant recklessness and disregard for humanity exhibited by his enablers and supporters, especially little men who need big guns to feel strong.
Last night, a torrent of disjointed and random thoughts came over me, so I scribbled them on a Post-it note and said, “Well, that’s what I can write — a disjointed collection of random thoughts.”
Trump is basically a mob boss, surrounded by henchmen and lobotomized Bond villains like his creepy robot son-in-law and plastic vice president.
I have had difficulty staying active politically. The progressive movement thrives on actual physical presence among others at protests, rallies and meetings. I can’t get excited about meeting via Zoom with my Indivisible group, even though I know it would be good for me.
Staying safe doesn’t matter to the ignorant, Fox-fed, flag-wearing, weapon-toters gathering and shouting at nurses at Trump’s urging. Can we have a “Liberate Intelligence” counter-protest? I guess it would have to be virtual.
Social media, Twitter in particular, just gets more depressing every day.
I’ve heard recently that we shouldn’t use the word “heroes” to describe delivery people, store clerks and others whose jobs put them at risk — that they are “victims” forced to risk their lives for capitalism and to keep corporations profitable. There’s truth in that. (This doesn’t apply to front-line healthcare workers or genuine small businesses, of course).
Other than my County Executive, Republicans in my Congressional district are failing miserably. Failing to speak the truth about the fatal missteps by their chosen one in the White House, failing to act with true empathy toward anyone who’s not a fat-cat donor, failing to show any shred of genuine empathy. They disgust me no end.
I have “survivor guilt,” knowing that so many people have died, families are suffering and face years of trauma and recovery if they survive this.
One of my escapes during isolation is reading, and I’ve been ripping through short stories by one of the literary idols of my youth, John Cheever. I now look at his characters in a different light — New York City blue-bloods whose superficiality is peeled back to reveal their true selves — philanderers, alcoholics, racists, classists. At one point I may have felt sorry for them as their shallow lives fell apart, but now . . . not so much.
I am no longer troubled by my lack of compassion for Trump supporters. I have tried to reason with a few of them, to no avail. As a wise loved one said recently, “They literally don’t know what they don’t know, and can’t be bothered to find out even if it literally kills them.”
On that note, there will indeed be a second wave of COVID-19 in the U.S., perhaps a third. One could argue that the seeds of it are being spread to the four winds right now, via jails, prisons and immigration detention centers. The numbers of infections are growing among detainees and employees.
Just yesterday, I read that 45 detainees have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia run by ICE. That number started out as 4 two weeks ago, increased to 11, is now 45. I can’t find data on how many ICE employees are infected.
I’ve visited that prison a couple of times, and took note of the open hostility shown by ICE officers and guards. Detainees wrote a letter last month calling attention to the lack of caution shown by employees and vendors, and how everyone there is at risk (including, I would guess, the officer whose huge pickup truck parked out front sported an Oath Keepers window sticker).
I’ll try to end on a positive note. To get through this crisis with our physical and mental health intact, we must have something to look forward to. That’s been tough of late, but maybe we can keep a list, however short, of things to look forward to weeks or months or perhaps years down the line.
A return to Tijuana is near the top of mine.
As another loved one said, Trump and his corrupt crew want us to feel so overwhelmed that we give up. We cannot let that happen.