Years ago, a friend told me he was going to visit his sister in Queensland, Australia. I was living in New Zealand at the time, and we made plans to meet up. We ended up hiking through some spectacular parks and amazing waterfalls. On one of our hikes, my friend asked me, “Why do you hate America?” It’s one of those lines often parodied from early 2000s Fox News broadcasts, during the height of outrage over the Iraq war.
At the time, I did hate a lot of American foreign policy, and found there was little difference between US political parties. I had my reasons for leaving, yet I eventually came back to America. Having traveled through and lived in different places around the world, I saw the trade-offs in the different values held by nationals of various countries. I still take issue with many policies in the United States, but I believe there are many aspects to American law and ideology, that respect individual rights and freedoms in fundamentally unique ways. America may run afoul of letting people slide through the cracks, but it is also a nation suited to help people succeed at their dreams.
My mother told me that when I was very young, I would always look out the window in the evenings for the police car that would often sit on our street each night during the late shift. On a night when a car didn’t appear, and my father couldn’t get me to sleep, he would put me in a stroller and walk around until we saw one. I grew up on shows like Dragnet and games like Police Quest, and when I told my neighbors that I wanted to be a cop when I grew up, they’d tell me, “You’re too smart for that.”
The first week of June, I received an e-mail from one of my best friends in London. Her flatmate had committed suicide. Across the world, rates for attempted suicide are growing dangerously amid the continued lockdowns. Serious child abuse emergency room visits have risen by by over 35%, while surveillance into abuse incidents is hindered with many schools remaining closed. The civil unrest, riots and other secondary effects are from the response to the pandemic, but not the virus itself. So far, every indication shows the fatality rates for this virus are in decline. Yet despite what should be good news, leaders from around the world seem to be doubling down on the existing narrative of fear to justify continued behavior modifications, despite the growing secondary effects of the lockdowns.
To those of you who want a civil war, I say to you: you have no idea what you’re asking for. The causalities of war are high. You do realize that being the most moral or righteous does not in any way guarantee victory? There is literally no justice in war, only souls convinced of their rigorousness with promise of nobility. It is vanity to see glory in war. It is hubris exemplified! No American is asking for the war you want. No minority gives a shit about your white guilt. No looter studies the theory of stealing for its socioeconomic ends. And who are you fighting? Despite the stagecraft of the divisiveness of our government, they are unified in holding the nation they control and have the backing of a military who would slaughter any opposition. The people in our nation with the majority of the firearms would not be fighting against them.
“War is hell,” is the understatement of the century. It is the disillusion of any hope. It is soldiers running over children in Iraq, because if they stopped, their vehicles would be overturned by improvised bombs. It is families devastated by the ideology of might. The spoils of war can be seen every day when you open your wallet, and find that it is filled with oil and blood.
Humanity may need to come to grips with the reality that our life expectancy may now be dramatically lower. Have we reduced our life expectancy by a few months, a few years, or a decade? Will it be worse that smoking? Better that heart disease? It may be too early to tell. What we have seen is large swaths of human beings acting unilaterally across an entire planet, in a way that is simply unprecedented. We wade waste deep in a world of data, tracking, and 24/7 hate that could be lifted directly from a George Orwell novel. Far into the future, we do not know how humanity will look back upon this era, but we do know that right now, this is not a time of honor.
I recently got an e-mail saying I had violated Twitter’s rules for hateful conduct. I immediately thought my account password had been compromised, or that this was a phishing attempt. I rarely post to Twitter anymore, except to promote this website or other personal projects. The e-mail was real though, and Twitter locked my account for a Tweet I made nearly a decade ago!