So this is hard, huh?
I’m annoyed with everyone and tired of everything. Including myself.
I turn judge-y when I feel deprived.
“Why are those cyclists riding in a group? They’re going to get cycling banned.”
“Why does she feel the need to buy that much rice? She’s the reason I couldn’t get rice last week. Compulsive hoarder.”
And people are judging me, too. I know because they tell me. I’m not covering my face right. I’m accidentally too close to them.
There’s a right way to do this catastrophe! Do it right because what you do affects me!
Then I read about the people who protested last weekend. I don’t agree with them, to put it mildly. I think they’re advocating for a decision that could reverse our progress and re-ignite the spread of the Covid-19.
But I also noticed that very few people actually engaged in these protests over the weekend. (200 in downtown San Diego, a city of 1.4 million.)
So why did the protest of 0.01% of the city’s population make the front page of the paper the next day?
We’re engaging in physical distancing because we’re scared. We’re scared we or someone we love will get sick, very sick, and maybe die.
But, we’re not just engaging in physical distancing because we’re scared.
We’re also doing it because we have empathy.
We have empathy for people in our community who have a higher risk of dying from Covid-19. They need us to stay away from each other so that they don’t interact with the delivery guy who interacted with someone who interacted with someone who has Covid.
If we care about the people in our community enough to do physical distancing and stay at home as much as possible, then we have to examine our impulse to excoriate these unwise protesters.
The protesters are scared of what will happen if they can’t go back to work soon. They believe that people who work are the Good Guys. They’ve been separated against their will from the possibility of being on Team Good Guys.
Yes, their position is unwise. Yes, they make it hard to care about them.
But the protesters are scared and vulnerable. If we care about scared, vulnerable people, that means we care about the protesters, too.
They are part of the fold.
Everybody’s part of the fold.
Fear divides us. We shout at the protesters, “What you do affects me, dummy!”
And fear unites us because the protesters feel fear, too. Fear of the challenge to what they think the Good Guys should do. Afraid over what it means for their version of reality. “What you do affects me, dummy!” they shout back.
They dismay me but I won’t start believing they we’re not part of the same community. That dehumanizes them. When something’s not human, I don’t feel for it. Anything can happen to it and I won’t care.
I am annoyed and tired of everyone and of myself. But I am not kicking anybody out of the fold. How’s by you?