by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ July 4, 2020
A rainy 4th of July seems appropriate for the ongoing disaster of 2020. Even with a full holiday weekend, the resurgent COVID number has made the mistaken reopening exuberance disappear. The traffic is light, my phone tells me, but the absence of traffic noise on a Saturday morning was a hint.
Our planned dinner with kids and grandkids, only the second since March, will be handled with full pandemic rules and limited to their patio with masks and distancing. The benefit of having a doc daughter in law.
As the virus spreads, that welcome break of family time now seems nostalgic as those things will probably go on hold again. People, ignoring the segment lost to social psychosis and the youth with the usual illusion of immortality, are learning the new rules of our planet. At one level, the less thoughtful lose focus and become sources of risk, but many are working at long term change, and everyone will learn eventually.
People no longer disagree but remain quiet when you mention the epidemiological position that this will, probably, never go away. We are now very aware of the relationship between climate disaster and zoonotic diseases. That reality is a daily spoon of unavoidable medicine. You don’t want to say yes, but you can’t say no, so you don’t say anything at all.
I sense the beginning of acceptance among the majority that we have a new, more severe, and threatened existence, but we can deal with this. It takes new knowledge and care in planning with some things no longer possible, but people find ways to adjust.
All seasonal holidays carry nostalgia for things and people who are gone. Summer of 2020 has a very long list of things that are gone with many more leaving. Nostalgia is the long term residue of grief that ages into the flavor of life. Eras of drastic change, trauma, and disaster wear people, and we are being aged quickly now. Even impulsive and exuberant cultures are learning to be slower and more careful, realizing we can lose things that cannot be recovered.
The irony is that this is just what Homo sapiens needed, and the majority of us know that. But, damn, this is hard. On top of that is the social psychosis populations lured by fear and hatred or taken advantage of by the usual reactionary opportunists. It is all part of the age of bitter medicine that we must move through.
The usual trite messages of hope required by mainstream media for significant holidays seem few and restrained in the US on its birthday. The extent of hope exists in the Floyd Demonstrations that are, already, the largest in US history and the accepted leadership of our Black communities. The massive support for the removal of the racist remnants of the Confederacy feels good.
Police violence is still to be solved, but the people directly affected have all of our support to do that. The fight will go on, but how this links to our more significant problems is realized. Those problems are the need to return to local community democratic management, simplification of the superfluous national governments, and expansion of planetary level alliances for survival.
These are problems requiring paradigmatic change, but with the removal of vestigial and malignant ideologies, the illusions of usefulness are now visible. It may be that the complete failure and descent into racist idiocy of the Trump-Republican Party has become the vaccine against itself. That political pandemic is always prone to return, but it may be that the current US instance has met its match. We will see.
Who could imagine that Joe Biden, an aging associate of all the worst in the US political system, could be the bridge to a new future? But that may be the way that those who have lived as white finally get out of the way.
For a quiet, rainy Saturday, July 4, 2020, the future is difficult but not hopeless. That is better than we deserve. Perhaps, very late in the game, our species is painfully limping toward maturity. The nation may not long survive, but let’s hope we will.