So much safer today
I went to the grocery store at about 8AM today (Sunday) and it was all different. First, it was just not busy but the shelves were mostly stocked with some ongoing stocking still in the works. Secondly, masks are required now. But for that bozo who has it under his nose either not smart enough or sufficiently arrogant to prove he doesn't have to wear it in a usable fashion to meet the requirement, everyone was onboard with saving each other. I felt comfortable for the first time in a while.
I've been watching the news about mask protests and have noodled it a lot. I'm no sociologist or psychologist so my opinions are generally worthless. But they are free.
The last pandemic resulted in mask protests in the U.S. and the creation of the Anti-Mask League. Sounds like a Sherlock Holmes story.
Americans (at least those born on 3rd base, the majority of white Americans) are raised that they are special. Exceptionalism. We are the best. We built this country on spit and pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps. I heard the head of the Chamber of Commerce in Georgetown (a guy in his late 60's who was pretty smart) say that Georgetown was the best city in the best state in the best country. I was pretty shocked by that statement. My first thought was it isn't true, which it is not. My second thought was that he had to know that it isn't true but said it anyway. With conviction and damn near a tear in his eye.
I've lived in about 30 different towns and cities and rode Navy ships into maybe another 40. A lot of them were more exceptional than Georgetown.
But the American dynamic is we're the best. It is the drum beat sounded through the country today and through history. As my father would say, "If you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes". I'm not so sure that other countries believe that of themselves. On the one hand it gives Americans an edge. Nothing succeeds like success and nothing breeds success like belief in yourself, blind or otherwise. So we've sold the world on how great we are but that system is collapsing under its philosophy in an event that requires individuals choose others over themselves.
What we all see every day is people who don't wear masks, who scream and push and fight for all their worth that they 'don't have to' feet stamping like a child in tantrum. What I hear is "I am unique". "It is my right to be exceptional."
And I'm not sure that is true.
One of my favorite quotes: "You are unique, just like everybody else."
It is the very essence of the American philosophy of manifest destiny that is working against us. And the leadership (NOT just federal.. .that is a given) but day to day leaders, people of privilege who should be saying "Let's band together and fight this thing" are saying "I know better than Fauci, the papers are making it up. It is just a cold."
I suspect that we'll have the roaring 30's just as the last one kicked off the roaring 20's. There will, I suspect, be a time when we can hug and shake hands again and be in crowds and run around maskless.
But I wonder how much the US will have lost before that happens, how much the foundational premise of the country will undercut our healing, delay our return to the world.