7 April 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

 

Dear Diary,

I have apparently reached the I AM FURIOUS portion of Quarantine 2020. Because here I am, and I am mad. I am outraged and angry and all the synonyms for livid.

Diary, NOTHING ABOUT THIS IS FAIR. And, as usual, EVERYTHING DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTS VULNERABLE PEOPLE. And, yes, that’s obvious. And expected. And I typically walk around with a constant level of Injustice Anger. But today, for whatever reason, it’s all Too Much and Overwhelming and Gross and WHY CAN’T WE DO BETTER THAN THIS?

I’ve seen the reports and articles and interviews that say COVID-19 is the Great Equalizer because it’s affecting the rich and the poor alike. Prince Charles has it. Tom Hanks had it. Boris Johnson’s been admitted to the ICU with it. Senators have it. Pop stars have it. Super hot CNN prime time hosts like Chris Cuomo have it. 

But, Diary, COVID-19 IS NOT THE GREAT EQUALIZER. And it DOES NOT affect the rich and poor alike. The rich have access to tests. And places to self-isolate. And teams of people to deliver groceries and check in and ensure they’re receiving proper care. They can purchase medicine. They can rest in comfortable beds and entertain themselves with books and movies and cable as they while away the hours. Their livelihoods are not threatened. They can die, yes — a hazard of being human — but they’re less likely to perish with early interventions and top notch medical attention. 

The poor, meanwhile, aren’t being tested at nearly the same rate. In myriad countries — including my own — they don’t have expansive places to remove themselves from contact with others. I have my home and my family and a place to walk and toilet paper and flour. Folks in India and Haiti and swaths of Africa and American Indian Reservations don’t even have access to clean water in their homes, much less the level of grandeur I experience daily.

Black Americans are dying in disproportionate numbers. Almost as if our healthcare system is broken and generations of suffering from health disparities and other gross inequities have caused embedded problems. 

Donald Trump removed the inspector general who was charged with overseeing the government’s $2.3 trillion coronavirus response. Because, you know, who would want that money safeguarded against waste, fraud, and abuse at a time like this? This move, of course, comes after Trump fired the intelligence community’s inspector general on Friday. Then today he falsely accused the Health Department inspector general of faking information about shortages of supplies in American hospitals. If I didn’t know better, Diary, I’d start to think he’s systematically dismantling oversight in general so he can continue to operate on a foundation of corruption and lies. In other words, President Trump is a supreme fuck widget. A manky ratchet troll. And, both generally and specifically speaking, vile. 

I feel OK about name-calling at this point, Diary. It’s what Jesus the Table Thrower would do. He did his best to disrupt people with power taking advantage of the vulnerable. And he called them names while he flipped their livelihood on its ass. Brood of Vipers. Hypocrites. Blind Fools. Names that were the Supreme Fuck Widgets of their time. 

WWJD, Diary? J would fracture the power paradigm. It’s what J always did. It’s who J was. It’s who J is. 

I’m furious that Wisconsin voters had to choose today between casting their votes and exposing themselves to the coronavirus or being disenfranchised. Thousands requested absentee ballots that never arrived. 

I’m furious that Navy Captain Brett Cozier was fired for trying to get medical help for the people under his command. 

I’m furious that all 17 year olds and 20 million college students will not be receiving any financial assistance from the $2.3 trillion government economic stimulus. They won’t get $1200 checks. They get $0 — and it doesn’t matter if they’re their  parents’ dependents, either. It’s $0 for them and $0 for their parents. Not only were my adult children’s job prospects already heinous before the pandemic, now none of them — my 18 year old who was supposed to graduate high school in June, and my 21 year old who was supposed to graduate college next month — have job prospects at all. AND they’re left out of the government checks. So they’re left with less than nothing. Wheeee!

I’m furious that we’ve forgotten there are still asylum seekers in cages who we’ve treated like criminals, abandoning both our moral code and our adherence to international law. 

I’m furious that we defend America’s unconscionably high incarceration rates and continue to support unjust for-profit prisons even in the midst of a pandemic sweeping through the buildings. 

I’m furious that our system is based on who can acquire the most wealth and that it leaves millions in the dust.

I’m furious that our system abuses the very people we should be sheltering and feeding and providing succor and solace.

I’m furious that my fellow Americans justify our collective abuses by equating capitalism and the religious right and a small-minded, cheap, warped theology with God’s will which should be wide and broad and high and deep — an unfathomable love and immeasurable grace, expansive and all-encompassing, putting the last first, and championing the vulnerable, and bringing everyone in. 

I’m furious today, Diary. 

I’m just really, really mad.

So I’m going to sit here awhile and just let myself be.

Wishing we were better than this,

 

 

 

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
11 comments
  1. Yes, this exactly. These are all the things I am furious at. Thank you for expressing it so profoundly.

  2. All of this. SHOUTING with you.

  3. Thank you for writing this and sharing this. It is so important all this is said. You are brave! Stay strong, we are here with you.

  4. One fortunate thing about being as busy I have been since our schools closed and I switched to remote work is that I don’t have time to think much about these things. Because I agree with you 100%, and if I had more time to contemplate them, like you, I would be furious.

    One small silver lining in the dark cloud that is my current situation.

  5. Yes. This. This is how sane, kind and Christian people think. If only there was one of those in charge.

  6. Beth thanks for saying all the things that have been going around in my head too. Yesterday my state legislator voted “no” to a bill that will give Workers Compensation to front line workers who get the virus due to their front line jobs. And yes, she is a legislator with an “R” after her name. Thank god she was only one of four voting no, so it passed. But it made me furious. I wrote her an email and told her off but I felt no better. Because of all the things you wrote that are wrong. Because all I can do is write a letter or make a phone call instead of making a sign and rallying at the capital to hear speeches and shout slogans and be with my people who also are furious. So I understand completely why you are really really mad because I am too.

  7. All of this!!!!

  8. You are right to be angry. The less privileged will always suffer so much more in any disaster. In an epidemic, people who already have poorer health will suffer far more. Even in a country with good free health care for all, there are huge gaps in health between the haves and have-nots. Let’s not even mention the lack of access to a car for shopping, the lack of savings, no garden to get some fresh air or an extra bedroom and bathroom to self isolate.
    Here it’s become obvious that, apart from health care workers, the key workers are the people who don’t earn much – the people stacking the shelves in the supermarket, the refuse collectors.
    I just wonder how long this new perspective will last.

  9. These are things worthy of fury, Beth.

  10. I’m sorry your angry and upset. I wish I could give you a hug and a hot beverage. Otherwise we agree to disagree on how we view this world. It isn’t all bad. There is hope, there is joy and there are opportunities that will come out of it. I have to believe we will come through this as a more united group with more compassion for humans than politics. Waving in the light.

  11. Hello!
    My name is Sabrina and we are friends. You don’t know that we are friends. But we totally are. I’ve been reading your website for years and Beth, I’m always waving at you. I don’t respond or comment because you’re my friend. And I’ve never felt I needed to. You had my half of the conversation already so I was happy to wave and nod and smile.
    I’m responding. NOT because you didn’t have my half of the conversation but because I’d like to extend it. I’m asking for help. For the past few weeks I’ve had a brain niggling. And I’m ready to collaborate.
    Remember six million years ago when the government shut down because of a pointless wall? (I think technically 15 months ago) and the way the shutdown was ended (not resolved) was not by elected officials working together or anyone exhibiting any sort of common sense but by air traffic controllers saying. Nope. No pay = sick day. It wasn’t organized in the sense that anyone could negotiate or talk them out of it but it was detrimental.
    I feel like we have a similar opportunity. But I don’t know how to sort it out. There needs to be clear goals and planning/organization but no negotiating and there’s going to be a specific limited window where an opportunity will be available. I’ve barely been feeding myself for the past six months – I was self isolating before it was cool 😉 – and my brain is too muzzy to cope with all this alone.
    I don’t even completely know what I’m trying to communicate. Just. I know there’s an opportunity. How can we use it? Personally my priorities would be education and healthcare.
    Shaking my fist with you. In the dark.
    Sabrina
    P.S. thanks. I really do enjoy and benefit from your friendship. Really really – so thanks friend.

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