Please Kill Me,
I’ve got to be honest, writing anything over the last few weeks has felt a lot like pushing a 20-ton boulder uphill. Even as I sit here, puffing from a vape (I know, I shouldn’t) and contemplating yet another drunken day devouring Netflix, the current state of everything looms in the background of my mind like a swarm of murder hornets. Life has devolved into an ongoing nightmare we’re all obliged to share—if only to remain accountable to whatever sense of humanity we’d once hoped for.
100,000+ people are dead, from a virus we still know little about. Civil unrest has resulted from generations of systemic racism—a tragic issue that remains only indirectly addressed by those in power. Peaceful protests have escalated to riots—catalyzed by over-aggressive, poorly trained, and militarized police forces. Meanwhile, Americans go hungry, cities burn, families are destroyed, businesses are erased, and we lack any unified direction. Only rage seems to cut through the cloth of federally subsidized incompetence and indecency. If this is MAGA, I don’t want it. I probably didn’t have to tell you that.
I believe we’re at a point now, where those entirely unaffected are few and far between. It’d be a lie to suggest that this stage of our cultural upheaval was always inevitable. Similarly, it’d be false to claim that we’re too far gone to come together. Despite the heated emotions and uncaring leadership, there’s still hope past this veritable ring of hell. There’s still sunrise beyond this dusk. There’s still life to be lived in the midst of ideological confrontation. The most dangerous thing that any of us can do, is to lose sight of a hopeful future in favor of the lustful call for chaos and despair.
In the end, we’re only here because of our shared suffering. You can’t sentence an entire country to glorified confinement for months on end without acknowledging the degradation it’s done to our psyche. The news, social media, our leaders, our friends, families, and experiences all tell the tale of an uncertain path toward an irrevocably damaged future. But what if we embraced the other side of that narrative? What if we remembered the good that we’re capable of as an American unit? Not two sides but one, enthralled in an ongoing exchange of compassion, ideas, and hope for tomorrow?
I suppose that the thought is somewhat naïve. If I’m objective (and I try to be, for the most part) our political, socioeconomic, and ideological divides seem severed beyond any rational discussion or reprieve. I’ll reserve my opinion about who’s right, wrong, or justified and simply say that we’re going nowhere fast if we refuse to peacefully engage with each other and the harsh realities the months ahead are sure to bring.
If I’m objective, I’d tell you that we’re heading for worse. If I’m objective, I’d tell you that we’ve been broken and have drifted so far afield that any plan for repair is pointless. But I can’t be objective. I can’t be logical. I can’t be rational. Not if those thoughts will pilfer my hope and desire for a brighter era. We don’t need logic right now. We need hope and direction. We need to come together again.
I believe that begins with the anti-instinctual desire to communicate, understand, and attempt to empathize with one another, with either side, with our best foot forward, in the hopes that we’ll one day rise from these ashes. Together. Naïve? Yes. However, I believe that it’s also necessary to counteract the angst, anger, hate, insecurity, uncertainty, and rage that’s currently boiling over into our streets. Into our homes. Marring our lives. Marring our country. Scarring our children. Killing us at random.
COVID isn’t the only disease that’s ravaging our nation. It’s this sudden (or suddenly acknowledged) hatred for the opposing side. It makes sense. Hard times force people to find an enemy. For lack of a singular face (or, at least one that we all agree on) we’ve turned our poisonous glances toward one another.
We’ve allowed difficulty and misunderstanding to bolster the desires of evil and psychologically divide us in ways that were once thought trivial. We are not each other’s enemy. We are not antagonists to each other’s lives. We are flesh, bone, and brain matter—all managing the anxiety as we blindly seek a path toward morality, success, and balance. Maybe not all of us. But certainly, the vast majority.
Either we find our way back to the precipice of peace and shared goals. Or, we’ll all tumble down the dystopian cliff edge of senseless conflict. No matter what we choose, we have no choice but to do so together. We’re one body. One unit. In times like these, it’s easy to forget that.
I have no answers beyond these observations. I bear no cross for any ideology that seeks to divide us even further. Like most of you, I’ll spend the next few days, weeks, and months pivoting back and forth between active horror and passive resistance. Like some of you, I will withhold and protect the irrational hope that fills my heart. Not because I want to. Because some of us need to. Not for the individual. But for all of us. For the future.
If I had to suggest somethings, it’d be this: Call someone you care about and ensure they know you do. Greet those you meet with kindness, no matter what assumptions you may have. If you create, continue doing so. If you don’t create, perhaps consider it. Read enough to know your history. Think enough to evade the impulses. Love enough to retain your hope for tomorrow.
This era will not be defined by the pain and what we’ve lost. It will be defined by what will inevitably bring us back together again. Until then, we’ve still got each other. We still need each other. We still are each other.
Until Next Time,
The world is a dark place. Let’s see how deep the rabbit-hole goes…