Two weeks to Election Day 2020 in what is by far the most bizarre and troubling 365 24-hour spins through its course in our solar system in Earth’s recent (since science afforded mankind the ability to know where we are) history.
Only the best imaginations, methinks, could conjure the story that not even a compilation of page one headlines in the most recent 100 days could adequately represent. An airborne pestilence shows up amid the most powerful political association known and its leader, rather than spearheading a frontal attack against it, is so far gone from reality that he wittingly or not contributes to its spread, angrily condemning what will eventually become millions of his subjects to painful and ugly deaths.
What kind of twisted, if creative, mind comes up with such a bizarre scenario? And we can’t even know, at this juncture, how it plays out, or maybe we can but few are willing to actually face that.
This really is a lulu. The collective sensibility of our culture is working overtime to corral this reality into the domain of the knowable, sensible linearity of a small-mind rendering. So all we see on our TV screens are numbers, numbers that count for infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
But in reality, we’re besieged with a massive assault not on our respiratory systems, but our species’ vascular systems far deadlier over time, far more consequential for our evolved species to cope with.
All our hopes, even for the most conscious among us, lies with a vaccine that may or may not prove effective in the coming period. It’s the fail safe.
For Christ’s sake, people, can’t you see what’s really happening here?
Is our chronic passivity so enhanced in the last 100 years or so of reductionist game playing that as a culture we cannot freak out about this?
Well, maybe, calmly and dispassionately we are holding out for the November 3 election. That’s when all of this will turn around, and we’ll get on with fixing things. That’s what all our pundits are telling us.
Of course, you or I may never see that if we’re among the 250,000 in the U.S. dead or dying right now. November 3 is meaningless to us. It applies only to the living, or the still to be living.
That’s fine, but maybe next time you’re not going to be among the lucky ones. Nor am I.
You’re going to care a hell of a lot more when it’s you who are sick, trust me. So am I.
When that happens, it won’t matter a hoot whether the illness is being caused by Covid-10 virus or something else entirely. You and I, when we get sick, are going to care a helluva lot more either way.
Just to make a point, I lived through the AIDS horror. Yes, from that I got a good sensuous jolt of terror, a continuous jolt that was like holding a finger into a live electric socket for, like, some 15 years.
Agreed, the human emotional system simply can’t handle that kind of overload, so all of us at risk then became for much of it, as Pink Floyd would say, “comfortably numb.”
It was always there, though, whether you could identify a time when it might have bitten you or not. The terror was constant. It was a middle-of-the-night panic.
In that period, from 1981 to 1996. Every at-risk person who did not come down with it, with its 100 percent rate of unbelievable suffering and fatality, lived with the fear of its imminent visitation.
Ah yes, that was a time, a time of an emotional blur, a time of mass traumatic stress syndromes that blew previous case studies of post-traumatic versions out the water. I hardly remember anything from that time, anything that I could connect to a human emotion, anything except vague death threats from angry in-laws in the event I became one of those (a victim).
Why do you think LGBTQ culture continues to be defined as little but a glorified, tacky Marti Gras?
Humanity has no choice but to get really serious about Covid-19 and its eradication.
Nicholas Benton may be emailed at email@example.com.