The eye of the storm is getting smaller, as federal agents are sent to more cities and the spread of Covid-19 continues to spiral out of control in so many places around the country. Like Roger, I am living in a pocket of calm, even while parts of Seattle are experiencing terrible violence and the virus is increasing in Washington. I know that many of us are acutely aware of what is going on and greatly appreciate Roger’s clarity and articulation of some painful realities.
In the eye of the hurricane
by Roger Delmar, Port Townsend, Washington
Here I am, in the relative peace and tranquility of my home on this northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula. It is a beautiful day. Clear Blue sky, a gentle breeze, and the temperature in the high 70s. We went for a walk this morning along the beach in nearby Fort Flagler. We were blessed by the tang of salt in the air and a clear view across Port Townsend Bay to the shoreline of Port Townsend proper. We could see the ferry pulling into its terminal. All so very peaceful, serene, and soothing to body and soul.
And yet I am aware that away from here in many places in this country things are vastly different. I am in the eye of a hurricane and around me storms rage. In south Texas people sick with Covid-19 are being turned away from the hospitals and being sent home, to die. The hospitals are already packed beyond capacity and doctors are being forced to decide who has a chance to live – and who dies. If this wasn’t enough, that area is now being hit by the first hurricane of the season. In other parts of the country similar scenarios of overburdened medical facilities, worn down doctors and nurses, and suffering patients are being played out. So much pain. At times it feels unbearable.
A different storm rages in Portland, Oregon. Federal law enforcement personnel under the control of Homeland Security and Donald Trump have been sent in, in spite of the vehement objections of local officials who do not want or need them. They are acting as Trump’s private army and they are violating norms we have long taken for granted. In full military dress they storm late at night from the Portland federal building and move into a citizenry engaged in constitutionally guaranteed peaceful protest. Tear gas and non-lethal projectiles are shot indiscriminately into the throng of moms, dads, and young people who are simply trying to voice their support for an end to the racial injustice that has plagued this country since its inception.
The White House is implying that Portland is just a trial balloon. Other cities under Democratic control will be targeted as Mr. Trump seeks to find some way to convince America that he is saving us from the lawless hordes of left-wing liberals. This is all too reminiscent of the methods used in Germany to take control of that country in the 1930s.
I do not want to dwell on this, but I also do not want to hide from the truth that this is our reality. It is far too easy to blot it all out and convince myself that our peace and tranquility is more widespread than it is. In truth, we are the exception. I cannot hide in my little balloon of a Port Townsend shelter. I need to see, to allow myself to feel and share the pain, the hurt, the fear, and the outrage that surrounds us.