That’s the real question on everyone’s mind. Are we going to get out of this? Will the virus go away or a vaccine be found? If a vaccine is found, will it get distributed effectively? Can we get back to normal?
Will the virus come back? Will the economy come back? How many different ways will lousy politicians and immoral business people take advantage of our vulnerabilities? Will there actually be a Presidential election come this fall?
And what about our food supply and distribution systems? The virus is just beginning to hit our large industrial food production base.
What about the economy? The first stimulus package has been sucked dry, all the while, accusations are being leveled that not enough of it reaching those who really need it.
Education? You can’t do distance learning without a computer, and lots of kids don’t have access.
Everywhere you look, things have fallen apart or are showing signs that they are beginning to. The latest? White Supremacists deliberately trying to spread the virus to minority populations and the police – and probably within the military services as well. The President of the United States is encouraging insurrection in Democratically led states. Some states had previously banded together in regional coalitions in order to help temper Federal overreach. More are starting to do so.
And the constant drumbeat of false information, deliberate misrepresentation, the undermining of true authority and accurate information beats on, almost drowning out the renewed threat of nuclear war.
As word of the virus began to spread, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announced that they were moving the hands of the Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds to Midnight. One and two-thirds minutes, the closest it has ever been.
Trump and McConnell are working on ways to adjourn Congress, ostensibly to get around the blocking of Judicial appointees; during a recess the President can simply appoint judges. And the Fed is doing everything it can to curtail wider voter participation, coming out against increased mail-in voting, even as the President himself has used mail-in voting.
A food supply on the verge of falling apart; the first signs of Balkinization among the states. A President making claims to authority that simply do not exist – and then seeking to punish those who objected to his claims. An increasing inability to gauge the veracity of information. A nonsensical patchwork of rules and regulations, changing daily. Voices of authority denying reality.
The legal definition of Insanity is this:
mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.
How does that NOT fit our current circumstance?
Can you distinguish between fantasy and reality? Is the virus really as bad as some are saying? Do masks help or hurt? Does New York state have enough ventilators or don’t they? Is testing effective? Which test, where? Are they or are they not getting the funding they need?
Can you conduct your affairs properly? Try going to the movie theater or the bookstore. Try buying the mask and gloves you’re being told to wear. Try getting rid of your kids for an hour of peace and quiet. Try moving into the home you just purchased. Try running your business. No, you can not conduct your affairs properly.
Uncontrollable impulsive behaviors? there are white supremacists trying to infect cops’ people deliberately gathering at city halls, on beaches, in churches in defiance of best practices because they don’t believe what they are being told; people licking product on shelves, panic-buying, individual towns, counties and even states restricting travel. Conspiracy theories – drinking bleach protects you! – are running rampant.
As a society, at least at this moment in history, we are INSANE. We meet all three requirements of that definition, and then some.
I wish I had some pithy words of wisdom, or, lacking that, some solutions to offer. I don’t.
What I do have are my own plans for keeping myself alive, extended appropriately for the people I care about. Some of those plans involve getting out of this country. I’m a member of an increasingly vulnerable segment of the population and the need to absent oneself has always been with me.
But the primary thing I have are a set of warning signs to keep track of. Right now, they largely center on the upcoming election. If it doesn’t happen, or, more likely, if it happens but is so compromised by doubt as to the validity of the outcome, it’s probably time to leave, and I’m hoping there’s a window between the election results and the inauguration that will allow me to do so.
All under a cloud of believing that I may have already waited too long. I’ve friends who have already left. Their circumstances are different from mine, but their reasons for doing so are not.
Some say they and I are over-reacting. Things never get as bad as they look like they might. There’s always room for hope. Thinking that the US of A may have run its course is nuts.
In which case, all I can say is: in an insane world, responding insanely is the appropriate, the “sane” thing, to do.