A Cloud of Sadness
One of the most “centered” people I know — a winsome young lady whose good cheer promised better times when our entire extended family was feuding — confessed to being bewildered by a cloud of sadness descending on the world. She’s not alone. The Weinsteins, on their DarkHorse Podcast, recently wondered which author best described our current totalitarian malaise. Orwell? Heller? Kafka? Huxley?
I’m far from certain myself, but a good friend, someone I trust, reported an account which encapsulates the weirdness of our era: a couple who recently tested positive for the Commie virus in Phoenix, Arizona checked themselves into an emergency room when their symptoms became unbearable. The husband found himself on a metal gurney, naked and abandoned for 48 hours–essentially left to die. When his strength returned, he managed to find his wife elsewhere in the hospital and they escaped in hospital gowns. A good Samaritan returned them to their home. They were seniors, new to Phoenix, and their story lends credence to the passionate testimony of a 77 year old relative of mine who — hacking his way through a Covid cough — declared, “Hospital? Hell no. You check in, but you don’t check out.”
Since then, I’ve been watching the journey of a dear friend who, struggling for breath, checked himself in at a local community hospital. About 36 hours later, his wife defied hospital Covid rules and went looking for him. He was wearing the same mask he checked in with, and his oxygen had been turned off — at the wall valve. The doctor on call that evening was alarmed and turned it back on, but my friend’s wife was ushered out by security. I kept requesting his treatment protocol, but I’m just a friend, not an immediate family member, and I’m just guessing immediate family has more need to believe the system works, so there you go. My friend has been intubated and given a family Zoom call.
Fear’s Peripheral Damage
I can’t explain these realities, nor can I explain the last twenty months of global Covid policy. Africa and India — unable to afford the “vaccines” — seem to be doing better than western countries. Ivermectin, at $3 a dose, seems to be doing better than $3,000 a dose Remdesevir, but if you try to fill a California prescription for Ivermectin, you get — in many places — indignant denials.
How can we explain this?
As I confessed, I can’t solve the Kafka/Orwell debate, but I can say this: whoever engineered this global crisis—this virus engineered in a Communist laboratory—knew a LOT about what happens when fear announces itself in a group, when fear reveals character, or the lack thereof.
Let me confess, at the outset, that I’m only brave, usually, with my big mouth. I think fear is the norm, and that bravery is the EXTREME exception. When I was in second grade, my younger brother had a minor scrap with one of the Shelf brothers. The next morning, his three older brothers arrived to settle accounts, and I stood and watched as they knocked him down a few times. My utter lack of courage STILL haunts me.
So don’t think I’m saying any of this easy, but ponder what happens when a real threat announces itself in, say, the movie theater, right in front of you. A huge thug grabs the hair of the man in the next seat and starts wrenching his neck. Very few people actually do anything at all, these days, except whip out their cell phones and record it. Afterwards, comparing video, there’s a weird, unvoiced recognition: none of us did a thing about it. We recoiled at the evil, but its presence revealed something about all of us: none of us were man enough to even pour hot coffee on the assailant.
During the Covid crisis and lock-down, people who described their very identity by passionate worship on Sundays actually forfeited their church fellowship. During the Covid crisis, people who claimed to LIVE for their families willingly abandoned them for fear of infection. During the Covid crisis, a few neurotic old people demanded that five year olds, with ZERO chance of contracting the disease, accept a risky inoculation–just so those old folks didn’t have to worry about asymptomatic transmission.
Fear reveals our inner ugliness
Think about it. You finish a fine meal in an urban restaurant. You walk outside, with four or five friends, and you wait for your ride share. A muscle-bound maniac begins beating his girlfriend in front of all of you. You know it will take 911, and the police, ten minutes to get there, at best, and all of you just walk back into the restaurant to wait out the atrocity.
There is a silent stink of collective self-revelation in the air. You KNOW you were all cowards, but you don’t say so. In fact, you will be far more likely to reassure yourselves by turning cowardice into prudent non-participation..
“Good thing we got everyone back inside..”
“At least we have it recorded..”
“Getting into someone else’s business is a bad bet..”
And the ever popular..
“Let the professionals handle this..”
Now, of course, there are real life “Flight 93” types, but that’s the rare stuff of feature film and viral video. Just this week, a lot of “conservatives” were relieved Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty, but they went out of their way to distance themselves from “vigilantism” and 17 year old boys taking to the streets in defense of their town. (Quite a few conservatives can be counted on to make the world safe for uncircumcised Philistines and devoid of giant-slaying teenagers.)
When the world’s public health establishment painted a picture of rotting lung tissue and death by drowning in a hospital bed, it revealed the ugliness that fevered imagination can bring: former governors can yell “screw your freedom” in an Austrian accent without making the Nazi alarm bells tinkle even a little bit. Teachers can describe your children as their personal health hazard. Professionals pecking away at their work stations can advocate the bankruptcy of the restaurant industry without the slightest regret, or even sympathy — all in the name of “safety.” Some “Christians” actually applauded the arrest of pastors holding worship through the lock-down, on the theory they were “loving their neighbor.”
Fear Dressed up as Holiness
Danger, even imagined danger, tells us who we are, and more often than not, it isn’t very flattering. I believe that’s why this particular crisis cut across ideological lines, why families were divided, why old folks were kept from seeing their grandchildren. If ten soldiers hear the screams of a wounded friend out in no man’s land, there’s no “Republican or Democrat.” There’s just “plucky or timid.” There’s just “willing to go over the wall or not.”
The fact that this virus is nothing like a fire fight, that it isn’t even anything like small pox or Ebola, makes the cowardice and the preening “love thy neighbor holiness” all the more absurd, but that’s the price of our precious self-esteem. We can’t live with our own cowardice. We can’t even call it what it is.
And that sadness my bright, cheery relative feels descending on us like a cloud?
It’s the gloom born of not being brave enough to live.