There's a far worse pandemic than COVID19. But fortunately, there's a cure...
We're only half way through the year and it's already clear that, looking back, 2020 will be remembered as the year it all came out; when all the systemic evils of our lives were thrust into the zeitgeist. The economic and judicial iniquities, the racism and bigotry, the oligarchy-run news outlets; the perfect storm of the COVID19 pandemic and social media brought all these monsters out, screaming too loud to be quelled and swept quietly aside this time.
Sure, those issues were a part of the U.S. before and we had protests and vigils in the past and had some champions to fight to end some of the atrocities. But for every Harvey Milk there was a Harvey Weinstein; for every Martin Luther King Jr. there was a Roy Cohn; many of the villains working behind closed doors or out of the public eye. But this time, no one could hide from the spotlight that shone on the systems that were failing us or those who were responsible: from the smallest town’s malcontent ranting on YouTube that they were free to shun masks, black, gay and/or transgender Americans and anything else they chose, to the country’s president lying on national television about the border wall, the COVID19 pandemic and his own political prowess—punctuated by inflammatory, finger-pointing tweet storms. It was all out there for everyone to see: inarguable, infuriating, and utterly irreversible from the analogues of history.
Everyone who looked at all that without filters saw it for what it was; evidence that there was a pernicious pandemic—and not the latest coronavirus, which was temporary—but a pandemic of a contagion causing a lack of empathy. And lack of empathy is the root of all bigotry, all greed, all injustice. Because with empathy, we cannot heartlessly harm another living creature without feeling harmed ourselves. And whether that amounts to killing an animal for food, fashion or sport or denying a human being justice and equal rights, it is a crime against nature and it is what destroys our world. With empathy for the planet and all its inhabitants, you cannot condone pollution just to line your pockets; you cannot hate someone because of who they are by birth—whether it’s immediately evident like skin color or realized later in life like orientation; you cannot create religions, governments or laws that harm people with dogma or decree. But we do. And we are damned forever to live in a world of iniquity and hatred unless we change. Unless we end the pandemic of prejudice, greed and the abuse of power.
Fortunately, a cure for this pestilent malfeasance exists. And the cure—as old as the world itself—is love. Because love breeds empathy. And empathy breeds kindness and respect. And kindness and respect are what will guide us to make the changes necessary to build a better humanity. A better world. A future in which we can—not only survive—but thrive. Together. In harmony. But it is up to us demand those changes in ourselves and our systems.
There is work to be done and we cannot afford to wait or to be afraid to begin. With a brave spirit and a kind heart, we can all do our part, however small.
And do it, we must.