Warning: Slightly political rant. PG for violence, but no sex or graphic language.
I watch out the window. A couple pushing a stroller pass by. Child, cat, or dog—I can’t tell from here. Both people are both wearing masks. And it comes to me once again that today is unique in history. Today, tomorrow, this week, this year—all marked to go down in the books. Yes, history is always being made, but not often on such a grand scale. The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 has encompassed the entire world, and that world will never be the same.
Though it may not look like it, confronting this disaster has brought us together in unprecedented ways. We’ve allowed people into our living rooms through Zoom; we’ve reached out to help others; we’ve stood up for our beliefs; we’ve made things happen. Musicians have given symphonies for free, never leaving their own isolation. Celebrities have joined each other to entertain the homebound. First responders have pushed themselves to heroic levels, fulfilling their oaths to help those in need in ways they never expected.
We’ve seen the greatest of humanity during these times, but we’ve also seen to worst.
For the first time in my life, I saw a man die. I saw my city torn apart by hatred. I saw graffiti on boarded up windows, not in outlying areas but downtown. I saw piles of garbage heaped on the streets faster than anyone can pick them up. I saw politics get in the way of saving lives. I saw guns and automatic weapons in McDonalds and Starbucks. I saw people standing up for their right to infect others with a deadly disease. I saw insurrection perpetrated with laughter, joy, and big smiles on cruel faces. I saw people vying to be heard, all believing in the rightness of their cause. And that’s only what happened in my little corner of the world. Others have fared even worse.
I am exhausted. Sure, in time when this is all over, we’ll go back to our old ways—gathering together, going to work, wearing pants—but what will come of the horrors we have brought upon ourselves? Will we accept responsibility?
I hope, having seen the positive results of less cars on the roads, we can now take climate change seriously. I’d like to see the Zoom comradery continue, bringing a new dimension to those who don’t get out. I’d love to imagine the helping hand that has reached out to so many during this time will continue into the next.
Most of all, I pray the violence is transitory, and that we will learn from our mistakes, that the good will overcome the bad. But if not, and this is the beginning of the end of humanity as many assume, I hope we go down before Earth is scorched, so the plants and animals can rise again. Maybe the next sentient species will have more of a conscience than us humans.