Not too tired to care
We’re weary. It’s evident when you talk to people, read emails, gather around Zoom, follow the news, track the social media contrails. It’s been an unimaginable nine months.
It would have been politically tumultuous no matter what.
Layer that with the coronavirus pandemic, which didn’t have to be so catastrophic if we had intelligent leadership rather than criminal negligence fueling willful ignorance.
Add in timely social upheaval, which needs to be fierce, outraged and persistent if this country is to ever recover its soul, its decency, its humanity.
We’ll take big steps toward corralling COVID and restoring this country’s dignity with the right choices next Tuesday.
As for political tumult — the lasting effects of a racist president running a racist campaign pitched to a largely racist base will not quickly fade away, no matter what happens. Trump has made it OK to hate anyone, OK to be violent and hurt people, OK to abase morality and honor, OK to lie and obfuscate every waking moment, OK to ignore (in fact, disdain) truth, facts, science and reality, OK to denigrate women, children, people of color and the LBGTQ community, OK to abandon American values in favor of cultish devotion to a fascist demagogue.
Many of us are exhausted by the campaigning and relieved that it will be over soon. And like the 60% of Americans who know this country has been headed in the wrong direction, many of us dread a worst-scenario outcome on Nov. 3: that the majority will make the right choice, but it will be challenged and the nation further roiled by Trump and his relentless dismantlers of democracy.
On the upside, the destructive, inhumane policies promulgated by Trump and his loyalists have motivated millions of Americans to rise up in fervor to take back their country from the president’s imperious rule.
Yes, we’re weary. Tired to the bone from listening to lie after lie, lies about the lies, lies about lying about the lies. Worn out from battling a deadly pandemic while largely left to our own devices as the feckless COVID-fighting policies of the Trump administration have devolved into “you’re going to die, your loved ones are going to die, your friends are going to die! So what? Let’s go to a bar and mingle without masks!” Benumbed by watching millions of peaceful demonstrators upstaged by the violent fringes — most of them right-wing extremists who the FBI identifies as domestic terrorists.
Thanks to the pandemic, none of us will ever see “normal” as we knew it again. Most of the time we’re too tired to think about that as we struggle through our prescribed days, yet somehow we must summon the strength to endure for a different future.
Our sense of community has been challenged as never before. The ever-fragile social contract has been shattered by bullies, distracted by inane QAnon-style conspiracy theories, sundered by ideological obstinacy.
It wears on people, tests their forbearance and generosity, makes them less charitable and patient. Many of us — most of us, if the polls are any indicator — are tired of being polite to “freedom fighters” who won’t wear a mask, tired of the MAGA hat camo people who think it’s their right to carry automatic rifles around and scare the hell out of others, tired of trying to understand what makes otherwise rational people adhere to Trump, tired of trying to figure out evangelicals who seem to have forgotten the prophesy that when Satan returned he’d be disguised as a savior, tired of people who just have to make Black Lives Matter all about their white selves. The All Lives Matter crowd seemingly can’t let people of color have anything, not even anger.
Out of all that, we somehow need to rise about our weariness and find a path to healing that is more inclusive, more respectful, more reliant on truth and fundamental human values. Tuesday might be this country’s last chance to follow that path. We can choose the time-tested American way or we can follow Trump’s road to oppression and tyranny, but make no mistake — they are not the same.