Today feels like an inflection point. In Minneapolis, we're under curfew again. There's the news the RNC used new citizens as props. A hurricaine bearing down on the Gulf with a potentially-record storm surge. The Bucks, and then the NBA, and then the Brewers not so much pressing pause as much as throwing up their hands in anger and dispair. A 17-year-old riot tourist from Illionis murdering people on the streets of Kenosha. And people I went to high school with ecstatically cheering him on from Facebook, itching, foaming, and outright praying for civil war.
It's not an inflection point, of course, but just another day in our slow decline.
A neighbor died unexpectedly this morning of a heart attack. Not a close friend, but a good neighbor, a great neighbor, kind of the slightly cranky but loveable teddy bear a couple of doors down. The kind of person you'd hope to have as a neighbor. The kind of person you'd have to chat with when you saw him outside, which was often. The kind of person who would loan yard tools, or make recommendations on how to handle invasive plants, or chat about cars (gas and electric), or, as I learned today, run outside to flag down the ice cream truck for other people's kids. And because we're a failed state, funerals aren't safe. And we have to support those who remain from a distance.
The virus. The last day in the office was Friday, March 13th. I started counting the days the Saturday that followed. Working from home isn't as effective as being there in person, but we're making due. The technology has mostly been ironed out, and we've fallen into a routine. I'm blessed to have great coworkers, a great boss, and a great team. I'm more worried about another school year handled online. It's not the right way for kids to learn. The pandemic will stick with our kids in a way other national crises have not.
We are fortunate. We have stable jobs. But there's almost a guilt that comes with that when so many are so unlucky.
But, really, what a fucking year. We've watched our city burn. We've watched places we've loved closed or destroyed. We've watched a Minneapolis police office kneel on a terrified man's neck for eight minutes and slowly squeeze the life out of him, and then had to listen to the head of the police union defend the killing. We've watched our city and state leaders fail to respond. And have found ourselves having to be grateful that the federal government hasn't.
The thing that overwhelmed me this morning, though, the thing I found demoralizing in a way it's difficult to explain, is the rabid way some people I grew up with are reacting to Kenosha. It wasn't them defending the cops shooting an unarmed black man in the back seven times. No, I expected that. What changed was the emergence of—and I don't really have a better word for it—glee about about this kid and his rifle who drove up to be in a militia or whatever the hell he was thinking. There's an aura, a chatter of "it's finally happening" going on among these folks. They're looking forward to the killing. They're excited about it. They want it to come.
And it kind of broke me. It's partially a loss of hope, but it's more than that. Any attempt I've made, or others have made, or that we've all made, at fostering doubt, or empathy, or even the tiniest bit of understanding with these folks... it's always been doomed to fail. It was wasted time. They are impervious. They've poisoned themselves, and now they're looking to poison the rest of us. And I feel incapable and useless in the face of it.
America needs a deprogramming, but I'm not sure such a thing is possible. And I know for sure I have no idea how to do it.