Home > Uncategorized > Quarantine Diaries – Day 122 (Zinn)

Quarantine Diaries – Day 122 (Zinn)

There’s no end in sight. There’s no plan. There’s no nationwide unity. Everybody is pretty much walking around doing whatever the fuck they want, as the rest of the world looks on slightly horrified, secure at least in the fact that they’ve closed their borders to us. We’re about to send our children out into this maelstrom, and will be shocked…..SHOCKED I tell you, when they start to get sick. And their teachers start to get sick. Soon they’ll all be sent home, and online classes will resume. Those not wearing masks now will not be wearing them then either. And they’ll be the ones screaming the loudest when everybody’s doors get re-locked. And they will vent their fury by screaming at minimum-wage cashiers, the way they’ve always done it. And it will go on, and on, and on. And we still won’t have any sports to watch on TV.

It’s the age of insanity……people doing the same dumb things over and over, expecting the bars to stay open.

Everything we view is filtered through this Covid maze. Time feels like it’s racing, or not moving at all. There’s nothing normal about its passing.  I can barely remember when this thing kick-started mid-March, and yet schools are set to re-open in a few weeks….and summer will be gone. I clearly remember long walks when it was snowing outside, and this weekend temps will be in the 90s. It’s like reaching for hand-rails for support and they’re not there. We’re going in circles, and time is doing the same thing.

This thing has taught us a lot about ourselves, and those we thought we knew. All this angst is crowded together and manifests itself in different ways. The pandemic has intensified both positive and negative qualities. The good are better. The bad are worse.

Many of us have become socially distant without leaving the house. You sort of fall into this rut of self-isolation, and even the thought of doing so-called “normal” things seems absurd. “Going out” is sitting on your porch. Crying is recreational.

I’ve become hyper-sensitive to what’s going on around me when I do leave the house. Who’s wearing a mask? Who isn’t? Why is that one wearing a mask with the nose uncovered? Should I move further away? Should I cross the street? Do I need to be here at all? Which of the ones without masks are just looking to be MAGA-triggered? You hate the idea of witnessing another Ken/Karen breakdown, but hope to hell your phone is charged enough to capture it if it does happen. It’s this weird twilight zone of appalled fascination. Never have stupid people been more willing to show off for the cameras.

So, in the end, really, there’s no more loitering. Get what you need, and get out. Unless what you need is hand sanitizer ’cause you still can’t find any.

But everywhere, people are working through this. Packing shelves and working registers and bagging your groceries and delivering your packages and putting up with your abuse and most of them are making shit wages and they aren’t allowed to go anywhere until their shift is done. And pondering this is when you realize how little most of us are being asked to sacrifice. And how all of this could have already been past us if we’d simply pulled in the same direction.

We could get through this. Ourselves.

zinnLately I’ve been sitting up late at night, co-writing songs with friends, and reading Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States”. It was a birthday gift to me from my long-woke 22 year old daughter. A book I’ve always wanted to read. History from the perspective of those being governed, not the ones doing the governing. History from the vanquished, and not the conquerors. The “founding” of our nation through the eyes of native Americans. Our constitution from the perspective of the slaves the document did not see fit to free. The industrial revolution from the vantage point of young women in textile mills. WWII as seen by pacifists. Roosevelt’s New Deal as seen by African Americans. A history book that contains almost nothing found in the history books I was brought up on. It should be required reading, especially now. Change only becomes permanent when the pressure comes from the bottom up. From the top down? That’s not change. That’s oppression. And it’s what is happening now. And it never lasts.

We find a way to right ourselves.

In the book there’s a fascinating passage quoted…about the Iroquois.

“No laws and ordinances, sheriffs and constables, judges and juries, or courts or jails–the apparatus of authority in European societies–were to be found….prior to European arrival. Yet boundaries of acceptable behavior were firmly set. Though priding themselves on the autonomous individual, the Iroquois maintained a strict sense of right and wrong…..He who stole another’s food or acted invalourously in war was “shamed” by his people and ostracized from their company until he had atoned for his actions and demonstrated  to their satisfaction that he had morally purified himself.”

Seemed pretty timely to me. For all kinds of reasons.

Maybe you too.

In a bit..


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