40 seems to be one of those numbers. It’s mentioned in religion – a period of fasting, waiting, testing. Quarantino against the plague – 40 days before those who might be infected could come ashore in Italy in the 1400s. A time for preparation.
I’ve been meaning to start some kind of quarantine journal. But it was too wrapped up with the disgustingness of brand identity. Now – those thoughts – seem innocent, frivolous. Like everything since the last disastrous presidential election, we’ve thought it couldn’t get worse – and then suddenly – it did.
Now the US is at a tipping point of history. It’s clear from the videos that there are a large number of agent provocateurs undercover. From the two women who were spray painting on a Starbucks, to a man with a gas mask and an umbrella, these are people who are not there to engage with protesters, but to make it worse. They all seem to have expensive black undercover clothing, and an unwillingness to explain themselves.
Watching the country burn, watching my mayor say the police were justified in smashing into peaceful protestors, seeing the police chief tell police officers to protect each other – as if they didn’t already! – as if we were the enemy! – there is no other response than horror, dismay, and finally – resolve.
How close to the edge we all are already. Inside, fearful for the lives of the people we love, fearful for ourselves, without any leadership – it’s a dream we wish we could wake up from, but we can’t. There is only one way forward, and that is action. As frightened as we may be at any moment, going forward is all we can remember.
Even as another day ends, and we’ve seen no one except from the window.
Even as we watch people pushed aside violently, heads bleeding on the pavement, as militarized police forces turn this country into a police state.
Thank the goddess there are people willing to fight, willing to push back, willing to call out the infiltrators.
I’ve seen too many of the intellectuals who one would hope would be on the front lines of this battle complain cravenly from the sanctuary of their second home – no – it’s their first home, because their work residence is only small – about their needs, their wants, their difficulties.
No one strikes.
I’ve seen people in positions of power visibly enjoy the idea of layoffs, punishments, endings. They fear for their own position, so everyone else is at risk. The centers we would hope to be beacons of information, history, and facts fall by the wayside as they are threatened with cuts. The second house is a refuge…but for how long? They thank those key workers who take the train, who have been on the front line – but want their plants watered, and access to their offices, and isn’t there some way they can send me my work?
As in the war against fascism before, it’s too late to make excuses. When you find that your coworkers are racist, and claim libertarian leanings, or believe that universal health care is a step to communism, then what? When professors hide in their second homes and ignore reality? When the groups are separated, and the bully always wins?
There needs to be a change.
More education – the right kind. Not the kind that needs tuition or a subscription. More understanding of humanity. An end to the blind worship of money and status – which produces the failure of newspapers like the New York Times that equates balance with reporting falsehoods and blatantly fascist points of view. A million will buy you a starter home, they say. Say no more.
We may make mistakes along the way. But knowing that, acknowledging our errors, and getting back up again is how we move forward.
This isn’t a battle for America – it is a fight for humanity. To preserve what matters – what the philosophers of the 18th century thought explained it all – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – isn’t enough. We need to fight for our humanity and the earth – the life breath of resources that we depend on. The species that also call this planet their home. The differences that bring us together. Mothers and their children. Love, strength, and unity.
Writing books almost seems stupid, petty, ridiculous. But without falling into the trap of political art, one can still move forward – grab someone by the arm and say – hey! look at that. Look at your fellow humans and rejoice we are all there – animals on the breathing planet. Don’t kill each other. Don’t hurt each other. The real strength lies in compassion. Can you hear that?
Time to look to the real heroes. And they will be the ones who speak up, a child’s hand in their own. The one who speaks poetry in their anger, tears in their eyes. Arrests don’t stop a soul.