Day 281: The New Colossus
The march of time stops for no one, yet we shut down the world. Only for a moment. Then that moment passed, but not by choice. There is a pandemic going on, tomorrow we will most likely pass the somber 100,000 official deaths from COVID-19 in the US. There is a very good chance the actual number is much higher. It hasn’t stopped, it won’t stop, but somehow we are choosing to ignore it.
If I told you a trillion people died, how would that make you feel? What if I told you five people died? Do you think you would feel any different? What about 100,000 people? Anything? Probably not, but that’s okay it isn’t you, it’s your brain. We don’t know those people, to us that is just a number. It’s a bad number, but (generally speaking) we have no emotional attachment to it.
Those 100,000 people were family members, loved ones, brothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, mothers, fathers, lovers, these were people with rich lives who touched the people around them, even if they didn’t know it themselves. For those people who knew them, they mourn, but we do not mourn collectively. We have a common enemy, but we can’t see it so we don’t want to admit it exists.
It’s easier when our enemy is a person, a group of people, an ideology. It’s easier because we can fall into racist tropes very comfortably, as a species we are good at that. Yet, we can’t do that with COVID-19 so we can’t coalesce as a country like we did when 9/11 hit.
Less than 3000 people died during the 9/11 attack. We waged a war that is still going on for that. We unleashed a new wave of xenophobia that can still be felt today because of that. Three thousand, one hundred thousand, it’s just a number and we rationalize it away. Those were people who were going to die anyway. They had preexisting conditions!
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…” and watch as I ignore them. We are watching a wave of people essentially celebrating eugenics. Kill the unworthy so the rest of us can survive. We need that haircut and that latte. If I need to let others die to get it, then so be it. Only the strong should survive was not how I envisioned this going.
One hundred, one hundred thousand, what’s the difference? You didn’t know them, I didn’t know them, so do they even really exist? We are opening the world back up because of the vocal few who think that their comfort matters more than the lives of the people dying around them. Because the people in charge of our country agrees that their comfort matters more, that by killing off the poor and disadvantaged we will somehow become better for it.
It’s called the american dream because like any dream, it’s not real.