There was a heavy fog this morning. Fog is disconcerting in that it takes a clear view and makes it obscure. What we saw in crystal clarity the day before is now hidden in a cloud of obscure and diminished visual acuity. It is difficult to make plans for a journey in the fog and even to see the road ahead.
Fog has been engulfing our world for a year now. The pandemic has altered our way of life and taken over 2 millions lives worldwide. I was listening to a news program this morning and heard a commentator give one of the clearest explanations of why people leave what we agree is the truth and embrace alternative renditions of ‘truth.’ He traced how our pandemic has devastated small businesses and uprooted the lives and upended the reality of so many people. Millions of our fellow human beings are wondering where they are going to get their next meal from and how they are going to pay their mortgage or their rent…or they have been displaced already… What about the families who have lost 1 or more family members while at the same time they have been laid off due to the closing of their restaurant or bar or service industry? So many had a clear and fog free path before them prior to Covid-19 and now have no idea where to go or what lies ahead or if the reality that they counted on is even a viable path forward! For desperate people looking for an answer…conspiracy theories are…at times comforting…and an answer to a world shrouded in the fog of desperation and doubt.
I have been in many meetings where it was clear that there is a great chasm of understanding between those who have enjoyed a middle class life and those who have had to ‘scrape with the chickens.’ There really is a different reality for the marginalized and the forgotten as compared with those who have connections and friends in high places and safety nets. Many of us have been blessed to be able to work at home…but many have not. I understand hardscrabble people…that is where I come from. I have many friends that the church was the refuge and the succor for them and that no one who had means and resources seemed to know that they existed. People that were searching for someone that gave a damn about them. Alternative reality has some appeal to those who have never felt acceptance in the popular society and have never been the recipient of its blessings and perks.
Imagine with me, if you will, that you have lost your home and are standing in a food line for you and your families dinner…and someone promises you a better society and a more equal distribution of wealth and power and privilege…and a front row seat for you in the new government? This is how democracies fall… How would you feel if you had lost your life’s work and dream and the blood sweat and tears that you had placed in your restaurant for over 20 years? How would you feel if you had used all of your savings to pay your staff during the forced closing of your restaurant…and yet the pandemic continues and your government has not seen fit to help you through the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression?
Crisis are real and we are in the midst of the most terrible one that I have seen in my 63 years. We will finally be able to lift the coronavirus blanket that has smothered our livelihoods and our health and our psyche…but the Fog of War will leave millions around our world with lasting damage and who’s ancillary effects will be felt for generations.