Coronavirus Truth Serum Reveals Our Sickness. Is There a Cure?
April 22, 2020
As the world continues to absorb the tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic, ecoRI News has maintained our mission and stayed within our capabilities. I couldn’t be prouder of the people I work with, most notably the leadership of our publisher Joanna Detz, who also happens to be my wife. We’re still a viable news organization because of her.
For selfish reasons, though, I’m about to stray from our mission. I need the therapeutic release that writing gives me. I don’t know where else to turn. I need to vent. I can’t make sense of what is going on. Most of us can’t. We would have to combine the complete works of George Orwell, Octavia Butler, Kurt Vonnegut, and Margaret Atwood to create the dystopia in which we now reside.
This country was built by the blood, sweat, and tears of slaves. But in the nearly 244 years since the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Second Continental Congress, our cruelty hasn’t waned. It’s just morphs with the times. The savagery being exhibited now is soul crushing. I won’t burden you by repeating any of it. Most of us have seen the photos, the tweets, the propaganda, the warped ideologies, and the non-fake news reports.
One would think a global pandemic that has killed more than 45,000 Americans in less than two months would unite us — all of us. It hasn’t, for reasons that a historian, political scientist, or sociologist could better explain.
All I know is that the crisis has exposed the deep roots of this country’s cruelty, hate, and selfishness. It has served as a truth serum for the collective we. We are sick, both literally and figuratively. Our society is terribly damaged.
If we can’t be best now, then when? This question has been gnawing at me since our collective resolve in the face of this crisis couldn’t last two months. I don’t have an answer. Who does? My hope for a better society slips away with each racist tweet, breaking news story, and daily body count.
This horrendous situation, like many of this country’s preceding tragedies, was made worse on purpose. When do we break this vicious cycle? I don’t believe we can, and that makes me sick to my stomach.
The many valuable lessons history and science have taught us are routinely ignored. We’re sick because of it. We’re dying because of our never-ending search for loopholes that allow us to continue to marginalize, scapegoat, scare, and abuse others.
We’ve made considerable technological advances during the past 243 years that have made life easier and better for many of us. In the meantime, though, society continues to make the lives of many others worse on purpose, because of our ingrained cruelty, hate, and selfishness.
While this public-health crisis has exposed our sickness, it also has reminded us what we also are made of. Reading about the awe-inspiring acts of sacrifice and selflessness, from courageous health-care professionals working — incredibly in this nation of riches — without proper protection to undervalued professionals stocking supermarket shelves and delivering food, many of whom are also doing so without protection, have brought tears to my eyes every day.
Unfortunately, these Herculean efforts and the nationwide collection of small acts of kindness that we’re witnessing during this pandemic may not beat back the hate, anger, and nastiness that sickens this country. Similar efforts in the past never did.
So how do we heal ourselves? I wish I knew. I guess the best way to start is to be kind, and to stop electing people who don’t have our best interests at heart.
Frank Carini is the ecoRI News editor.