A tribe member shared her experience in a west coast state – the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) in the US. As a traveling medical technologist, she was required to have “traveling papers” verifying her profession and place of employment to prove the reason for her going back and froth from the hospital during restricted hours enforced by the state. These “traveling papers” are kept in her car just like the car registration and proof of insurance documents. The “traveling papers” stated to the effect, “I’m a healthcare worker. I have business related to my job. Therefore I am allowed to travel to and from work during the mandated quarantine.” One of her hospital co-workers was stopped at a police check point. Since he had his “traveling papers” to prove his reason for driving, he was allowed to proceed freely without an issue. Her neighbor, considered a nonessential worker during COVID-19, received a ticket for driving beyond the suggested curfew without the proper “traveling papers”. His fine was $1000. Unbelievable right?
I felt shocked upon hearing this news but I couldn’t quite put my finger on my initial angst. I knew that states and local governments had placed restrictions on its residents to minimize nonessential travel, required social distancing, and the usage of masks, etc. I understood the reasons for the soft curfew suggestion to minimize travel for essentials only but something about the law enforcement check points made me take a slow breath and pause.
My mind instantly recalled certain details from the George Orwell book 1984. In the book, the characters are living under a dystopian or totalitarian state that controls their every action. The superstate government disseminates their version of life via a vast media propaganda campaign using language called Newspeak. Ordinary words and phrases take on new meanings (such as war is peace, ignorance is trUth, goodthink and crimethink) as free thought and language is opposed and used contrary to what the etymology would normally suggest. The mind control strategies used to limit what people THINK, SAY, DO and FEEL was a premeditated attempt to indoctrinate everyone to the point where many are unable to conceptualize who they were as individuals and to understand their personal and collective experiences. It begs the question as to whether free thought will prevail giving humans the right to move and live as they wish. In 1984, the human spirit somehow still intuitively knows when its freedom and liberty is being subjugated even if it rears its head only momentarily to ponder these often simple yet existentially, complex ideas.
How does this famous book connect to our current experience? Our local news reports are starting to show American citizens protesting wanting to go back to work during COVID-19. They show up without masks or practicing social distancing. Some are calling themselves the Rosa Parks of America. Really now? Is there trUly a comparison between fighting the government for civil rights versus protesting for the right to return to work during a pandemic? I understand the need return to work but there is still limited testing or publicly accepted vaccine for the virus. At first glance, these different protest movements seem to be at odds but each movement is fundamentally demanding the right to live freely without governmental restrictions and limitations. Whether one makes demands to be given the opportunity to live a better life or one is willing to risk their lives for this ideal, the choice is one that many Americans view as an inalienable right. In this recent protest movement, most show limited consideration for the potential impact on their families, friends or even neighbors. Some are partying like its 1999 (as Prince suggested). The mixed messages between science and governmental leaders is staggering especially since our leadership is not following the CDC guidelines either.
Pointing out these discrepancies seems confusing and unbelievable, even to me, but they are trUthful observations without judgement. Some people naturally resist aspects of the indoctrination process after completing the mandatory cycles via the educational, familial and societal programs. Perhaps many feel that we are possibly going through a NEW indoctrination cycle, resulting in a loss of freedom, with a propaganda campaign yet to be developed. Current events are happening that cannot be fully explained or understood – – at least right now. Some Americans are actively rebelling against the CDC guidelines as if the loss of personal freedom during the pandemic is a battle cry for war (using the rebel meme “Molly, you in danger girl!”)
The recognition that both science and commerce have legitimate importance, perspectives and roles within society should be quite evident. Finding the balance between them is the hard part. Science and physics matter. The economy matters as well. You can’t spin their impact on humanity (at least not successfully long term). As our country begins to reopen, we will hear about “embers or pockets of COVID-19” in various cities as well as the death rate. We will also hear more stories about the impact of not working upon everyday folks (food lines and shortages, homelessness and housing issues, lost health insurance, spikes in domestic violence and mental health issues etc.) Americans want to regain their personal self-sufficiency but what are the costs under these current circumstances? It should be noted that there is also a cost for not working as well (bills, hunger, homelessness, depression etc.).
There is still an underlying belief held by some that our government will take care of everyone but history shows otherwise. “Give me liberty, or give me death!” is a quote attributed to early American delegate Patrick Henry from a speech he made to the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775. Many are taking up this same battle cry only this time the enemy to freedom is a deadly virus – – and some law enforcement who continue to use the same deadly force, as the virus, at will. Hopefully, our country will eventually strike a balance someplace between liberty and death. If you’re like me, then you are “skeptically optimistic” listening and watching the various attempts to translate and explain current events bellowing loudly through our media loud speakers. Even today, new protests have taken place in response to ongoing police brutality in black communities across the country. It is indeed self evident that something has been said! A George Orwellian explanation most likely exists within this current American story. I hope to one day read the new book.
Update 5/31/20: I deleted the following line from my original blog post before publishing. “Was this a test run for marshall law but with a well thought out subtle execution and propaganda campaign to spin the experience?” The line would have appeared at the end of the second paragraph related to police check points. At the time, I felt hesitant to voice my personal musings touching on this subject. Perhaps, it was too scary a thought to express in print. I’ve been shown once again that one’s INNER-knowing can be far more accurate than the reasoning mind.
The COVID-19 media reports have now been replaced with news stories about the nationwide protests following the tragic deaths of people of color while in police custody and during encounters with ordinary citizens. These current events are disturbing and saddening but must be understood in the context of the impact of this worldwide pandemic on everyday folks (lost income, hunger, fear, loneliness, frustration, etc.) and the historical realities of the abuse of power by individuals using vigilante justice or some in law enforcement, particularly against black boys and men. “A change is gonna come, oh yes it will,” sang the great Sam Cooke. Yes, it will indeed. The STAGE is being SET – – just don’t let it be orchestrated or set up for humanity’s downfall. It is time to plan, plot and strategize for a brighter future – – one we are predestined to create.