Darkest Days

            It seems the bitterest of ironies that things could be so bleak and stressful as spring is starting to return. With the sunshine and warm air drawing us out and tempting us to go for a drive, to go out with friends, and to remind ourselves that there’s life outside of our homes.

That’s not reality though, and that’s a hard pill to swallow.

The hardest part of this Covid-19 pandemic though is that we are being asked simply to stay at home, to stay safe, and to wait until the smoke clears before we return to life once more.

Easier said than done.

Americans, if we are anything, are strong willed and willful and telling us not to do something just makes us want to do it all the more.

Then there’s the part of our nation that is inherently suspicious and believes everything they hear and disagree with is ‘fake news’ or some sort of trick. Many of us have seen it, the people shouting about how this is all fake, that things aren’t as bad as they seem, or that one political party or the other is trying to create and issue that harms the entire nation.

It’s madness.

But this is our country now.

We have let political division get so deep and have empowered the bad actors leading the charge to keep driving that wedge in and to keep stoking the fires. And this isn’t an Us and Them but there are, literal, bad actors. I’d never say that the Democratic party is one of saviors and saints – to me, all politicians are in office because they said ‘yes’ to people they shouldn’t have and they took money from people they knew better about but right now, for these past few years, it is the GOP, the Republican party, that has proven that it is agenda above all.

It is President over party.

It is Us vs. Them.

And it’s frightening.

It’s scary to watch the President obsessing over his ratings, and how how great a job he believes he is doing as people around the nation die en-masse daily.

I admit with complete honesty that I am a liberal. I believe in many of the touchstones that make up the liberal agenda.

Saying that though, I have – regretfully – voted for a Republican in the past when I thought they’d be a better leader than their opposition – I was wrong.

The thing is that I get it, everything is politicized and made out to be a sports contest between Us and them.

Win.

Win.

Win.

We demonize the perceived opposition, but we don’t see that both sides are gaming the system.

Let’s be honest, there aren’t many, IF ANY poor politicians.

This is their job, and as such, they make choices and stands that often are related to either keeping that job or profiting from it.

Still and all, this nation has a President to lead us, to guide us, and to make the critical decisions – with the aid of vetted councils – that will keep our country and its people safe.

That is their job.

We don’t always like their decisions, we don’t always agree with them, but the HOPE is that their decisions are those which harm the least and do the best to steer us forward wisely.

Every President though has their decisions that we struggle to understand.

Decisions that play to their party, or to their voting base.

Decisions that make us shake our heads because we just don’t understand them.

But the hope is that they will do as little harm as possible and will try to raise the nation up in times of terror and struggle.

Not so with this regime.

From the outset this has been a Presidency about brand, and that brand is to put ‘America’ first, which means the interests of the President.

HE is America.

His decisions seem rash and uniformed.

His counsel seems as if they are preaching to a choir of die-hard donors and voters.

The Presidency, for this President, is a part-time job he does for a laugh.

He wanted the position because everyone said he had no chance and when he showed he had more than a chance he wanted it even more.

It was his.

He stoked the fires of division, conjured ghosts and demons where there were only shadows, and has done everything in his power to drag us back to the dark days when America had isolated itself from the world

Those days are gone.

We are an interconnected globe and have to deal with everyone, of every color, creed, sex, and belief.

Of every faith, nation, and ideal.

We have no choice.

When someone in another nation half the world away can push a button and obliterate part of our country and our people you have to deal with them.

You have to deal with everyone.

You have to empathize, sympathize, and learn to speak to and work with people whose ideologies you are against.

It doesn’t make you pals, but it makes you tentative allies.

Again, this isn’t to say any other President, ANY other President, was beyond reproach.

We have become a nation of myopic views though where we want the narrow scope of what we want, at any cost.

At a time when we need to band together, need to find the commonality in the horror of our situation, we are finding reasons to fight against one another and to fight against the things that can make us safe.

I have seen, time and time and time people creating false narratives because they don’t trust the media that doesn’t speak directly to them.
These are strange, scary days.

We have allowed the Presidency to become the bully pulpit of a leader some believe to be chosen by the Christian God, which is, in all honesty, dangerous because it makes him above human law and gives him power he should never have.

We have seen faith become weaponized before, in other nations, but never quite as it has been here.

Daily the President lashes out at people that oppose him, lies to push an agenda that all is well to boost ratings, and he keeps making decisions that seem to be to benefit himself first.

I write this not to change someone’s mind.

Not to preach to a choir that already distrusts the President.

I write this to work through the fears and concerns in my own mind.

I know what I feel.

I know what I believe.

I know what I trust.

But I feel like we keep getting closer, and closer, and closer to the point of no return on some things that will not just change our country but will change all of humanity, and not for the better.

That this pandemic could have been dealt with sooner, and better is obvious.

That things shouldn’t be this bad, is obvious.

That this horror has been politicized and weaponized by the President is utterly heartbreaking.

People are dying and he’s playing politics.

Welcome to the new real.

That things will be different when we emerge from our cocoons of safety is an understatement. We still cannot see how different this world will be. Not because we want it to be different but because we have no choice. We have to change because the world is changing around us and there’s a new danger we need to come to terms with before we can imagine returning to normalcy.

This is an historic time.

Books will be written.

Movies will be made.

Classes will be taught.

Parents and grandparents will pass stories of the days of the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 to children for years and years to come.

That our leaders aren’t all taking the gravity of this moment in history and rising to meet the challenge, that they are letting their own interests, biases, and personal grudges drive them is only making things worse.

ALL we have to do right now, as a nation, is stay clear of one another and let the scientists do what they have to do to guide us forward.

The white noise of bias and politically motivated news keeps inserting itself into things to make it all that much more complicated and dangerous.

We are in an era of political brinksmanship where scorched earth is the policy, and we are all going to burn for that.

People that lead us are not interested in history, or legacy, or guiding us with wisdom – they are interested in party politics and making sure THEY don’t win.

Them.

Us.

But we’re all in this together, that’s the thing.

We all burn together.

Whether we like it or not.

We all burn together.

And we have locked the door to get out.

We will get through this.

As a nation.

As a people.

We will get through this.

It’s a shame that our leaders refuse to lead, and that we are needing to fend for ourselves. That our governors and local leaders have to beg, borrow, and bid on the things we need to keep our medical personnel and the people safeguarding us safe themselves.

This is an unprecedented time and it calls for patience, from all of us.

The system isn’t meant for this many people to be out of work, to be out of money, and to be kept away from one another.

We are a social race and even with all the technologies we have we need direct contact as part of who we are.

Our patience is running thin though.

We want hope.

We want leadership.

We want answers.

We are getting very little of all of those things and we’ll have to figure things out for ourselves.

We’re in this together.

We are all stressed.

We are all suffering.

We are all doing the best we can.

But we are all together.

All of us.

We Americans have our flaws and foibles but we manage to stick together when we need to, to help each other when we have to, and to stand as one when the world is crashing around us.

Now’s that time.

More than any other perhaps.

Now is that time.

We must rise about the least of us to prove that we see our humanity above all else and will do the things we need to do to stay healthy and to keep one another healthy.

We have no choice.

No one is coming to save us.

It’s up to us.

And we’re up to that task.

…c…

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