We are ALL in this TOGETHER

I wrote this back in 2017 while taking care of my father in his home:

“While listening to the news in my father’s kitchen, two things occurred to me simultaneously. One, how extremely divided this country is right now. Two, how We the People are ALL in this mess TOGETHER. Then, I thought, if you take away the different religions, races, sexual orientations, and levels of wealth, we are all the same. Just people doing the best we know how in this crazy world. Yet, when given the chance to band together as one, it seems the opposite course is the one that is chosen. I think that if we are truly honest with ourselves, we would see that we all harbor a little bit of prejudice and/or judgment against a particular religion, group, race, etc. If we are honest. But, my question to you is this: In your lifetime, have you or any of your loved ones received blood in a life or death situation? When that gift of life was transfused into the vein of the recipient, did anyone care what race the donor was, what religion they practiced, about their sexual orientation, or what political party they supported? I imagine that all you desired was that your loved one stays alive. When it came down to living or dying, no one asked what kind of person donated the blood. It didn’t matter in the least, did it? That’s what I want you to think about. We the People are ALL in this together and one day it may just be you and that one person who supports what you condemn. Just you. Just them. Your only hope of survival may be that one person.  The one person who represents everything that you feel contempt toward — just like that donated blood was the only hope for you or your loved one. So, if when it comes down to facing the bitter end you would choose acceptance, compassion, and unity over hatred and segregation, why can’t we choose that now? Like it or not, we are all in this mess together.”

Today, more than ever, we need to band together. Coronavirus has literally taken the world by storm. It’s the headline of the day — every single day. It’s constantly blasting through Facebook (on which I have drastically decreased my “scrolling” time; although, the memes that have been created are pretty amusing). My parents lived 89 and 88 years on this earth and never experienced a mass shutdown. I wonder what they’d have to say about this situation and if they’d deem it worse than The Great Depression.

The fact is, no one’s life is more important than any other’s life in this world. Everyone is someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, cousin, friend, husband, wife, daughter, son, or someone’s sole source of support, etc. Earlier this spring, I read a headline that claimed gun and ammo sales had increased in the U.S. with larger than usual numbers of Asian-Americans making such purchases. These, our fellow Asian-Americans, neighbors, co-workers, and friends fear that they will experience retaliation due to the virus coming from China. It is no more our Asian citizens’ fault that coronavirus exists than it is the gay’s fault that HIV began in their community. These viruses could have happened anywhere and to anyone. Hate the disease, not our fellow human beings for getting it first.

Every time something horrific happens in our world, the number one priority seems to be the urgency to place blame. Who is responsible? Blame must certainly be assigned, posthaste! Press conferences and special reports are aired regarding, “It’s the fault of…(blah blah blah),” and we are blindly placated, albeit temporarily, because it looks like our government officials are doing something about the current disastrous event. This current crisis may have started in China, okay. So…what? What now? Are we going to hate China and all of its people? Are we going to shun every Asian-American in the USA? Are we going to cuss the media and blame them for their current round of sensationalism? Sure, we can do it all, and sometimes it feels really good to vent, blame and cuss a bit. But, the fact remains, we have a health crisis in our midst and how is any of that going to help us get through THIS mess — you know, the one that we the people of Earth remain IN THIS TOGETHER?!

I’ve long thought that the world was spinning way too fast, changing too rapidly, too many distractions and too much busy busy busy in our lives, and that something was going to “jerk a knot in its tail.” This may be that knot being jerked. “This too shall pass,” my mother told me many times. The fact is, human beings are being lost, and more will follow. All we can do is our individual and collective bests. Blaming, hatred and mass hoarding is not a solution. It’s simply a kneejerk response to fear.

The news is ripe with the catastrophe of the day and a good portion of the population watches, listens, and gobbles it all up day after day, like shoveling in popcorn during a scary movie. Not me. I do not watch any of the news channels, the nightly or local news, period. I’ve been instructed, “You need to stay current on what’s happening in the world.” Trust me! If there is a big news story, I hear all I need to hear about it from everyone else’s conversations. At times, I treasure my hearing impairment. I honestly don’t know how anyone can watch the news all day, every day, TV on from sun-up to way past bedtime and not be suicidal. It’s a constant flow of negativity, fear-mongering and…I’m about to have a panic attack just thinking/writing about it! I wish we could do a sociological experiment: that no one would seek out the news, in any form or medium, for 30 days. 15 days. Hell, even 7 days could have a direct positive impact on the mental health of our population and may even decrease the level of depression and anxiety currently rampant in our country. Yes, we need to be informed, sure. But, not inundated and overloaded. Imagine what the world would be like if for every negative news story broadcast, a positive and uplifting one was also shared. Can you imagine? Sadly, good or happy news doesn’t raise the ratings, does it? We can tip the scale though, ourselves. Cut your news-watching in half and replace the other half with entertaining and/or funny YouTube videos. You do have a choice of what you subject your mind to every day. It sounds like another sociological experiment, doesn’t it? Oh well. My calling in this life is to increase the number of smiles, spread a little joy and, spark a chuckle or two. While there are no chuckles in this particular blog post, there are plenty in my other posts. Hey!! The positive outweighs the negative — nice! Go, me!

In my heart, I truly believe that something good will arise from this pandemic. Hopefully, we will be stronger, more united, wiser, and more appreciative of our daily lives, mundane as they may be on occasion. With the widespread panic and fear, doesn’t mundane sound really good about now? Sigh.

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