My son lost everything about his senior year of high school that the rest of us took for granted. He didn’t get to perform in his last high school musical. He didn’t get to enjoy all of the silly senior activities, prom, or even graduation. There was no fanfare for his hard work. He walked into the school office and was handed his diploma quite unceremoniously.
He lost that whole fun thing you get to experience when you’re finally on the top of the heap in high school. He lost late nights with friends, plotting to change the world, or just figuring out how to stay out together just a little bit later. He lost the opportunity to sing with his award-winning choir at the Sistine Chapel. He lost field trips and classroom experiments and terrible lunches in the cafeteria.
He didn’t even get to say goodbye to all that. It just…ended.
But he did his duty, happily and without complaint. Stay home. Stay safe. He gave up what others will say is meaningless and silly to protect the vulnerable. Don’t dismiss what he sacrificed. He has no other reality but the one he lives in. He can only have the perspective of an 18-year-old American boy because that is all he has to go on right now. To him, this loss was real and devastating.
Watching months of loss and personal/economic destruction simply disappear from public memory as protesters flood the streets in hordes is insulting, to say the least. In fact, it is downright infuriating. Even as our state leaders continue to cling to absolute power, slowly “allowing” law-abiding citizens to resume what is left of their business lives, they are out marching arm-in-arm with thousands of protesters. They’re going to memorials, they packed into George Floyd’s funeral, they’re kneeling in the midst of hundreds of protesters to show their solidarity. To show they care.
If you have a problem with people having a problem with that, then that’s a problem.
My son’s loss — though completely valid and real — pales in comparison to what so many others have lost in the last few months. People have lost their livelihoods and please try to understand that behind the “lost their livelihoods” cliche is a very real and devastating consequence.
My good friend, who is a professional singer and actor in Los Angeles, lost every job, every source of income overnight. Even as businesses are beginning the slow process of reopening, she still has no prospect of career employment on the horizon. Theaters and concert venues remain closed indefinitely.
My dentist says she has recently lost three colleagues to suicide. Imagine you educated yourself for years, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to be able to practice your profession. Imagine losing that sole source of income for your entire family in a single moment. Imagine being told to sit there and take it because a solitary official deemed your job “non-essential”. The stress and the burden of that is so real that it has literally killed people. My dentist also told me she jumped through every hoop to be able to reopen her practice. It cost her thousands in PPE and retrofitting. In fact, she had donated PPE to the state at the beginning of the virus panic. When she applied to the state later on for COVID relief PPE, she was told there was none, even after California donated thousands to New York City. After everything she has lost over the last three months and after tentatively reopening to great expense, she is forced to watch the very media that called her a “granny killer” for wanting to go back to work now praise and support hordes of protesters jammed into all manner of public spaces that were off-limits mere weeks ago. There has been nary a breath about COVID from the mainstream press while this immigrant woman of color with her own business flounders to stay afloat because of what we were told was a life and death situation.
Restaurants that have been in families for generations have closed, losing decades of work and memories. Schools have shut down, jarring millions of students out of a vital daily routine and forcing them into situations where they are no longer connected to the outside world. This is fine if your parents are the Cleavers. Not so great when your parents are alcoholic abusers and school was your only respite.
We have closed churches — ostensibly the most important conduits of the first amendment — and shredded the delicate social support provided by such organizations.
Our leaders have made us enemies of each other — demanding we don’t touch, don’t speak without being covered, don’t congregate, and don’t even make an attempt to get closer to each other than six feet. We have literally been forced to view each other as danger. Is it any wonder the whole damn thing is burning to the ground right now?
You may say — as some virtue signaling health professionals have been doing — that racism is a bigger issue than COVID and so requires some risk. How grossly offensive. In either case, on either side, here we have people suffering and people clamoring to exercise their constitutional rights to expression. In either case, people are shouting, “Please! Our families are hurting!” but we’ve been instructed to apply labels to those cries instead of logic.
What are people to think of all this? What are the hardworking business owners and peaceful demonstrators supposed to think? We’re willing to risk mass infections to march against racism but not to march against tyranny? To my mind, both those things amount to the same goal — defying the status quo. Pathetically and unsurprisingly the left-wing media has devolved the issue into white people vs black people, Reopen vs. BLM. It is sad and frightening that at the end of the day, we decide who is worth the privilege of public assembly based on their skin color or the cause they support.
What should we believe when we see such hypocrisy? So many people have lost everything in the name of public safety and now those people are being degraded and maligned for wanting to get back to their lives even as the streets overflow with large crowds…and not a single idiot dressed up as death to shame them.
While person after person comes forward with heartbreaking stories of their loved ones dying alone, even confused…not being able to attend the funerals of their own parents and say goodbye one last time…while all that is happening, Joe Biden and the mayor of Minneapolis and thousands and thousands of other people are getting to attend memorials and a funeral to say goodbye to a man they did not know.
How are Americans supposed to take that?
The outrage is real. On both sides of this fence. It is grossly unfair to suggest that some civil rights matter more than others, according to whatever narrative the mainstream media is pushing.
However, what is happening is that two revolutions are forming at the same time. One is in the streets, and the other will be at the ballot box. Only time will tell which one yields the systemic changes all Americans are clamoring for.