Why, I’ve been wondering, am I so tired, so tired that the thought of sitting down and writing something about it required almost more energy than I could muster. But I knew it was important for me to look at it and I am hoping that the act of writing and sharing will help shift the energy, for others as well as myself.
by Ruth Neuwald Falcon, Seattle, WA
“I feel like somebody unplugged me,” my friend Wendy said last night. “Then they left the plug lying on the ground and walked away.”
Another friend, who two weeks ago was working in her garden every day and had sworn off television, is now binge-watching reruns. “I’m so tired,” she says. “I just can’t motivate myself.” Everyone I know is talking on the phone less and less. “I’m too tired to talk,” they say.
We live in the country that has one-third of the global cases of the coronavirus and the number is still climbing. No wonder we’re tired.
Then there’s New Zealand, which has “eliminated” Covid-19. “The real key to New Zealand’s success,” says a story that appeared on CNN on April 28, “appears to be an approach that could be applied anywhere—moving swiftly, testing widely, and relying heavily on good science.” But, the story goes on, “although New Zealand is currently being seen as a success story, it also shows that gains in the fight against Covid-19 doesn’t mean a return to life as normal. Despite New Zealand’s early success, the country is still effectively in lockdown.”
We have not even plateaued here yet, much less seen our infection rate decrease. And we know, whether we want to or not, what the results will be from the actions taken by the states that are rushing to open. Testing is still not widely available anywhere in the country (unless you happen to be in the White House) and tracing is just beginning to be conceptualized.
“New Zealand got everything right,” said Helen Petousis-Harris, a vaccine expert at the University of Auckland in an AP story that appeared in the New York Post. “Decisive action, with strong leadership and very clear communications to everybody.”
Yes, well. The closest thing this country has to a strong, clear leader is the governor of New York. The man wearing the title of president obfuscates and lies. One way or another, he is leading this country off a cliff. If the virus doesn’t get us, the divisions between us will.
I don’t think of myself as a naïve person but somehow I always believed that, in times of great national crisis, a leader fit for the need would emerge. Roosevelt and Churchill. Abraham Lincoln. Nelson Mandela. It’s not that they could take away the pain or the struggle. One still had to soldier on, for however long it took. But, in the midst of that pain and struggle, such leaders helped people believe that their sacrifices were worthwhile, in part because there was intelligent, caring leadership at the helm. And a plan. It makes a difference. Day to day, it makes a difference.
I don’t want this country to implode. I don’t want to be so discouraged by what I hear in the news every day that I drag myself through the hours I am awake and have trouble falling asleep at night. I don’t know how to shift my inner stance so that isn’t the case. I know I must. I just haven’t figured out how to do it yet.