A couple weeks ago, a caller, who was trying to find a small piece of good in the mess that is 2020, stumbled over his words. Rather than finding the light at the end of the tunnel or the cloud’s silver lining, he suggested that he was offering us the light inside of the rainbow. A hysterically stupid innocent mistake, given that a rainbow is the light and is already positive; but in this year, we’ll take any sort of laugh we can get.
Amidst the George Floyd fallout, there is a light inside the rainbow.
It is too soon to know what the end result will be of the protests and calls for further equality and police reform. Based on our history, I’m confident we’ll screw this up mightily by lurching far too far in one direction or the other.
We will wait and see; until then, let us find the light and appreciate it for what it is. The video of Floyd being callously murdered by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin couldn’t have come at a better or worse time, depending on your point of view. After 3 months of a nation being locked down, 40 million jobs lost, anger over the lack of any sort of consistent guidance on re-opening, and a seemingly never-ending uncertainty over if or when life would be normal again, this nation was simmering. The Floyd video made us boil over. That is not to say people are not legitimately enraged over police brutality and racial inequities; it is merely an observation that when you give an already angry and restless population a cause, they will respond.
And there is the light. For 3 months, we were told that we couldn’t leave our homes. We were then told that when we did, we had to stay 6 feet away from each other, leave middle airplane seats empty, unplug every other slot machine, remove half of our restaurant tables, allow only 25% of capacity inside businesses, and wear masks everywhere. We still don’t have most professional sports and we’re told that when we do, we won’t be allowed to go watch them. Disneyland remains shuttered with no re-opening date, and every major crowd-gathering event from The Reno Rodeo to Hot August Nights, to all Fourth of July Celebrations have been cancelled. California has already announced there will be no at-school fall college sessions, and parents around the nation have no idea if their kids will be going back to school this fall, or what it will look like if they do.
But hey! If millions of Americans are pissed off at racial injustice and want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder shouting droplets all over each other, that’s just fine.
Don’t get me wrong; the protests matter and are just. They will bring whatever reforms they will bring. In the immediate, they have shone a light on the stupidity of our Covid-19 reaction and people are noticing. Even if they aren’t saying so aloud, there is an unavoidable subconscious conclusion each of us will reach when seeing people gathered together with no Covid-related consequences.
Remember, it was only weeks ago that we were arresting and/or fining people for violating social distancing orders while protesting for the re-opening of businesses. Yet, protesting for social justice brings no such punishments.
It doesn’t take long for the average American to ask “why the hell am I standing 6 feet away from the person in front of me while I wait in line to be allowed into Bass Pro Shop? How stupid is all of this?”
These protests might be the very thing that finally push enough Americans into the land of sanity. All of the statistics and facts in the world haven’t done it, so maybe their own eyes will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Americans are foolish, ignorant, and cowardly; but they aren’t stupid. They can still engage in deductive reasoning, especially when it serves their self-interest, and as these protests continue day after day, it is impossible to not begin to scream “open everything up and take off your stupid mask!”
Heir Fauci, of course, is singing his usual Chicken Little song by warning us that the protests, while justified (unlike those to open businesses apparently), will bring a second wave of Coronavirus. https://www.foxnews.com/health/dr-fauci-says-george-floyd-protests-provide-perfect-recipe-for-new-coronavirus-surges
And, so what if it does? Can we please, finally, for the love of God, stop being afraid of getting sick? Headlines this weekend decried the fact that the worldwide death toll from Covid-19 is now at 400,000. Never mind the fact that we know those numbers are inflated due to the fact that we are classifying anyone who dies and has Covid as a Covid death, even if Covid didn’t kill them, which we have documented ad nauseum in this space. Covid-19 has been on the planet, by all accounts, since January-ish. It’s June. That’s 6 months…better know as 25 weeks. According to the all-mighty World Health Organization the average flu season lasts 13 weeks and kills up to 650,000 people worldwide. https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/14-12-2017-up-to-650-000-people-die-of-respiratory-diseases-linked-to-seasonal-flu-each-year
What in the actual hell are we so afraid of? And why have we fundamentally transformed our society into a socially awkward stupid place filled with germaphobes following ludicrous and inconsistent rules that do actually nothing to prevent them from getting a virus that won’t harm 99.2% of us? https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/494034-the-data-are-in-stop-the-panic-and-end-the-total-isolation
Much good may eventually come from the tragedy that befell George Floyd. That will take time and reflection to know for certain. For now, let us hope that at the very least, the outrage over his death propels this country to pull its’ collective head out of its’ enormous ass and get back to life.