I can’t say I am surprised about what is happening.
I saw it coming six weeks ago.
In war, there are acceptable casualties.
In the invisible war America fights today, I am in the age bracket where I am likely to become one of them.
The messaging battle has been framed correctly for all of us to see. It has come to us slowly, but the lines have been drawn in the sand.
Either we open our society, and delicately negotiate the vicious dangers of the virus, or we collapse our economy, destroying our livelihoods, ending society as we know it anyway.
It should not have been this way. We should have had more testing and better tracing, more advisories and better warnings. We should have had better leaders educating us about the hard choices. Instead, we have had a comedy of horrors.
“So, it goes,” as the Little Prince once wrote in that excellent little book by that name.
The result for seniors is that if you are over 64 years old, and living with compromising health conditions, you might want to experiment right about now with spending the rest of your life on house arrest.
If you go outside, you are taking a chance that a cough, a sneeze, or a laughing friend might be a fatal connection. An unwanted encounter, or a delivery man showing up at the wrong address can push a lethal button.
When you are struggling to breathe on a respirator, and using an iPad to say goodbye to your loved ones, you will probably have a moment wondering how and where it happened to you. Does not matter. You won’t know for sure — the virus is invisible.
Across the globe, more prudent societies wisely heeded the scientific call. Our America though, is as arrogant as it is defiant. We never locked down in unison.
When the death toll topped 50,000 a week ago, we had 21st-century militiamen storming a state capitol with AR 15’s, declaring “give me liberty or give me death.”
They were no Patrick Henrys, though.
They were mobsters maniacally following their Fuhrer’s White House lead.
We did it wrong, America. Too many have died because we have not listened to science or reason. Warnings, admonitions, and advisories were ignored. It could not “happen here.” It did — just look at the death tolls hourly. Can any of us say we could not have done better?
When you read that 3,000 fellow Americans are dying daily, how does that number sink in? Imagine if news anchors were reporting on 20 plane crashes daily, every day, for three months in a row, with no survivors?
What if there was another 9/11, not once in 20 years, but once every 20 hours? What if the city of Fort Lauderdale and every one of its citizens were just swept off the face of the Earth in 60 days?
Does anyone believe that an economic package from the House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate will restore our lives to normalcy? It’s simply like giving chipped beef to the brave American troops before they hit Normandy Beach on D Day in World War II. Many knew it would be their last meal.
I am sitting here at home in the living room where I have lived for the last 40 years, thinking it is simply just not safe to go out anywhere any longer. I am trying to piece this all together, but there is no way.
Until there is a vaccine, and every potential asymptomatic carrier is tested, or wears an N-95 mask, how can I protect myself? Do I let the pool guy clean the pool or the fish guy the aquarium? Shall I let a plumber in to replace the toilet?
Normally, you go to the doctor to get better, but do you want to go to visit a place where you know other people are sick? It is not surprising to hear hospitals are getting fewer visitors, not more. Nothing makes sense yet. There is more uncertainty than understanding, and that, my dear friends, is exponentially unsettling.
I could see defying the doctors and taking risks if I was 25, 35, or even 45 years old, but when you are 70, you generally don’t go sky diving daily. If you are my age, it’s just wiser not to walk barefoot on a wet riverbank.
I am just a columnist, and I have only come to write. I want to give science and research a chance to find a protocol that can tame the virus. A vaccine would even be nicer. I can wait. America does not have the patience. The handwriting is on the wall.
Our citizens are rushing headfirst into waters much deeper than we think, in lakes full of alligators, with incoming tides we may not be able to ever negotiate. The news reports will come in daily, of those who rode the surf and survived, more still who were sucked under, never to surface again. Those of us who survived the AIDS era know of those days.
Don’t expect an ending to this column. It’s unfolding, like the days in my life, in your life, and in our lives. I simply know that we cannot spend our days worrying about what we can’t control. We can shift our energy to what we can create. Be a force for the future, and what can still be. Out of adversity comes honor.
Those of us who live in South Florida know of hurricanes. Every storm has an eye; a place where there is tranquility and peace. In these times, it is the only place to be. Journey to it. Find that place, and anchor yourselves there.