Monday, September 14, 2020

It's Not 2020's Fault

I understand that things in many places suck on many levels right now.  I also understand that anthropomorphizing 2020 (or whatever year) to be the doom bringer is something you can do safely and without causing offense or harm to anyone else.  As far as I'm aware, 2020 has no kin who will come tell you to be nicer.  And I really don't want to take away people's outlets.  
But, I have seen folks blame the year for things a lot in the past few years and I think there is a subtle trap inherent within this.  It is not 2020's fault, as an example that there is a global pandemic.  Heck the virus has 19 in it for a reason, because that's when it was discovered.  And the reality is vaccines for viruses take time, and herd immunity relies on vaccines.  I can't speak for all of you, but I live somewhere where testing is still only available to some (I am fine y'all, I am part of the some), where an unusually large portion of our population is considered essential, where the surrounding areas have leapt ahead of us in opening up, and we opened indoor dining before opening schools, and now we're going to watch the results of these combined decisions play out in continued infection rates for some time.  None of this is 2020's fault.  This is prioritizing capitalism over people's lives. It's expensive to keep things closed, but, as we're discovering, businesses can't survive when their staff keep getting sick, and so the businesses close and we have less revenue and it turns out that's just as expensive.  
Many people have been working too hard, carrying multiple jobs and multiple roles both paid and unpaid, and so it turns out having to spend more time figuring out where and when and how to get food is a lot. Worrying about job stability is a lot.  Worrying about kids is a lot. Worrying about chronically ill loved ones is a lot.  
Things are on fire.  Things are flooded.  We miss being able to do a lot of things.  I get it.  This is not a great time. 
But, well, why am I yucking people's yum here.  Because something someone said to me struck me.  They said, well, who would have known that in addition to a pandemic we'd have all this social justice stuff?  And my immediate reaction was, um, well, anyone who had been paying attention for the last decade or so.  
But I think in some ways that encapsulates the problem. The problem isn't the year.  Just about everything we're experiencing right now is something we were warned about and we decided would be fine.  Well sure, things seem to catch on fire more, but it just happens.  Well sure, hurricanes are flooding things, but that's what people get for living near water.  Well sure, asking people to carry three jobs to live is a lot, but that's what they get for choosing those jobs.  Some people really like having three jobs.  Well sure, opening bars and restaurants is risky, but what are we supposed to do, pay people to stay home?  Well sure, we've long known that some police officers kill people, but we have to wait for the whole story. 
So my concern is that focusing on the year, allows us to assume that when the calendar flips once again, things will all be fixed.  And none of these things are getting fixed without work.  
Yes, I am aware that people are so tired.  I am tired.  I get it.  And if all you can do right now is keep the people in your household okay, then you do that.  I mean that sincerely.  Surviving another day is job 1.  Everything else comes after that. 
But please don't blame the year for things not getting fixed.