As a self-described “good person,” I have to ask myself why I am having such a strong draw toward my most monstrous instinct: rooting for the virus. It’s not a surprise to myself, nor to anyone else, that I have a tendency toward darkness. Today, however, I’m a little caught off-guard by the strength of that darkness.
This is a little hard to write. I don’t like this part of myself. But it’s there, and I’m seeing it among peers and relatives and so if I’m not alone, maybe it’s worth writing about. Have at me in the comments. I am a shitty husk of a human; I deserve it. This is a bad thing.
By nature, I have a wild and creative imagination, a dose of paranoia, and a penchant for dystopian literature. In some ways, I feel like I’ve been mentally training my whole life to live in our dark timeline, because I have always halfway lived in a story where the question is, “what if the most terrible thing you can think of happens?” Epidemic was not high on my list of possibilities, though. Of course, plenty of people saw the writing on the wall when Trump gutted the CDC to pay for his tax cuts.
Let’s be clear: I don’t want to see carnage. I am not that dark; I don’t have a taste for the blood of the masses (although maybe the one percent….eh we’ll examine that darkness later). I don’t want to see any more deaths, I don’t want to continue to worry about my parents and my grandparents. I certainly don’t want to see people in compromised health face more problems. I’m sure some of you reading this are worried for yourselves or your loved ones. I absolutely don’t want to see them suffer.
But the darkness – the thing that makes me grin when I find out that COVID has hit CPAC and AIPAC and that Rep. Doug Collins is self-quarantining and shook Trump’s hand last week – that darkness is my thirst for any sort of justice to appear in our world. My entire lifetime has consisted of no fucking justice – none for marginalized communities, none for those who commit the crimes that affect the most people (wealthy white men in power!), and none for the rest of us who are just trying to make life work in an egalitarian society.
In addition to no justice, it has been a mantra of “personal responsibility” ignoring that the context that person lives in affects their circumstances. So we’ve been gaslit into believing we can never see justice because we don’t try hard enough; CAN’T end wars, CAN’T have healthcare, CAN’T feed the hungry, CAN’T control whether I’m pregnant, CAN’T mitigate gun violence – CAN’T CAN’T CAN’T CAN’T CAN’T. And, in my mid-thirties, I have felt utterly powerless and handcuffed, trying my best to make the world less shitty and waiting for horrible people to die so that maybe, JUST MAYBE, I could have some control over my own fate.
So then this wildcard arrives on the scene and starts taking out the people who demographically are inflicting the most harm on our people and planet – it’s hard to ignore how long I have thirsted for that.
What I am rooting for is the fear. I would love it if we got the deaths under control, but the fear remained. I hate to admit it. I like that it is mostly affecting Boomers but can be carried by all of us. It feels like one fucking weapon – one fucking advantage the younger among us finally have against the oppression of our white grandpas. And the propoganda machine can’t gaslight people out of thinking that they are actually sick. It surely will find a way to obfuscate these facts, but I don’t think they can hide from this one.
I like that Medicare would likely keep them safer if the rest of us had access to it. I like that paid sick leave policies would help keep them safe if we youngs and poors had it. I like that we are seeing why we need a government that functions – not in little patches, like natural disasters or something – but widespread and everywhere. Everyone needs the CDC right now, most of all, the demographic who was fine with kneecapping it.
It feels like karma is coming.
This virus levels the playing field; it’s not just the poor who will get it; it’s like Spanish flu, where just younger, stronger people got it – it’s not going to be the young generations who should have pulled themselves up by bootstraps to protect themselves and get “real jobs” with health insurance (as if those are so easy to find these days). It’s a clusterfuck of being proven right in a way that they truly cannot flat out ignore (even if they pretend they are).
It’s the very people who took away our boots so we had no bootstraps, blamed us for it, and who literally wish for us to die younger and poorer than them so they have more money – it’s those very people who are now more vulnerable because they made us vulnerable.
I’m not proud of these feelings, and this plague could very well affect people I love, and it could devastate me personally. But it’s hard to ignore that coronavirus is doing something that we have been unable to – exposing all our cracks at once, and targeting the very people who (demographically – obviously this is a gross over-generalization) created those cracks.