I’ve Got My Money on Wakefulness
Yes, there are some ugly things happening.
But there are also beautiful, truly beautiful things happening. People are helping other people in ways that I didn't think people could anymore. People are finding amazing, creative solutions to quarantine living. People are reaching out to other people in ways they never did before. People are offering assistance, money, and free or reduced cost services. People are starting and facilitating relief efforts for children who depend on schools being open to get fed.
Nextdoor.com let you “green dot” your home to let your neighbors know you were available to help them if they needed it. Netflix has a netflixparty.com extension so you can watch a movie in real time with a remote partner and comment in a live feed. Jimmy Fallon is doing some of his best work ever creating The Tonight Show from his home (search Jimmy Fallon At Home on YouTube. Quarantine humor at its finest). Streetjelly.com is bursting at the seams with live, quality, and totally free streaming performances by amazing musicians (but you should tip them if you can).
As of this writing, according to www.worldometer.info/coronavirus, 113,121 people have recovered from a COVID-19 infection.
Crises like these don't make us worse or better, they make us worse and better. They amplify our highest compassion and our basest instincts -- sometimes within the same person. I watched the last pack of TP get snatched right in front of me at the store the other day and I felt just a twitch of my predator rise to the surface. (Quarantine life-hack: run out of toilet paper, take a shower.) So I get it, and I am thankful for whatever benevolent force or proper upbringing or privilege has allowed me to stay out of the frenzy.
House of cards crumbling…perhaps. But we, all American citizens, and all citizens of the world, build that house of cards every day of our lives with the choices we make. And that includes Election Day: you know, that one day every four years where we momentarily put aside our deep-rooted suspicions about the bald-faced corruption of the electoral system so that we can feel as if we are making some modicum of a difference, or at least be vindicated in our suffering when the other team wins. Don’t blame me, I voted for (fill in the blank).
My friends, it’s the other days, all of those other days, and there are lots of them, where our choices are actually building that house of cards. And as we now can see, that house of cards isn’t (just) America. That house of cards that has no borders. It is “civilization” itself that is the real house of cards, and the real threat, to itself and to Mother Earth. Not China or Korea or Afghanistan. Not democrats or republicans. Not the Green Party. Not even Trump.
The game doesn't start and end in November. It's right now. It's every day you live, before, during, and Mother-willing, after a pandemic. It's YOUR choices that determine our outcome, each and every one of us. Who you are as a person among other people, who you are as a creature among other creatures, who you are every day as a representative of the greatest threat to Mother Earth - that's what really matters.
Every time you open your mouth, your ears, your mind, your heart, and especially your wallet, you are choosing the fate of the planet. We will get out of this mess; staying out of it means all of us making conscious decisions to end the suffering and abuse that got us into this mess in the first place. The bad choices. The bad habits. Namely, the casual disregard for the welfare of nature and animals.
Mother Earth is fighting to restore the balance that her human children have disrupted. As of this writing, according to Worldometer, 20,519 people have died world-wide from COVID-19. For the billions of animals that are murdered every day, for the hundreds of species that go extinct every day, for the slashing and burning of the rainforest in the name of our next meal, for the 1/3 of oceanic wildlife caught in dragnets that are killed and simply thrown back in because they aren't on the menu, and for all of the animals that are on the menu...COVID-19 is barely a slap on the wrist. You think this is bad, keep it up. The next one is going to be way, way worse, I guarantee you.
So, I'm optimistic. No really, I am. Because – and I say this with nothing but love, respect, and sympathy for all that have suffered and died because of this pandemic – this strictly human-centric tragedy is a warning to humanity itself. One of many we’ve experienced in our short stint as world destructors. This one really got our attention because we couldn't easily just blame it on someone else - although some tried. This is everybody, so it has the most potential to wake everybody.
If it only makes people think about their country’s so-called leadership...if it only makes people think about ways to survive the next pandemic...if it only makes people hoard and arm themselves...if it does nothing to wake people up to the power they wield with the choices they make every single day, then yes, we're fucked.
I've got my money on wakefulness because I'd rather be wrong about that than right about Armageddon. We wake or we die. All of us. Plain and simple.