I heard Chris Cuomo say these words at the beginning of his show last night. Yes, I thought. Yes. He is realistic but not hopeless. I felt the same way about the words Bruce Springsteen spoke in yesterday’s post. A friend texted after she heard it. I feel like crying, she wrote. It’s so illustrative of how bad things are. I understand her feelings. I cried a little when I first heard it too. But there is also something in his voice, and in the very fact of his recording it, that gives me hope along with the tears. And there is something in Cuomo’s intensity and commitment to the belief that we are be better than this that also helps me keep at least somewhat steady during these last long days before November 3.
We have to choose our hard
by Chris Cuomo, CNN
We do have a real monster in our midst this year. It’s the virus. It’s on the move. In the shadows. In the light of day. This sense of foreboding that we all feel is very real. And yet this is no bogeyman, no figment of our imaginations. It’s not true because somebody just tells you it is. It’s not just in your head.
This has been the worst week ever for coronavirus in the United States. We broke the daily case record, again, today. We have now surpassed 90,000 infections in one day. I know the president keeps saying we’re rounding the corner, but be honest. Rounding the corner feels a hell of a lot more like spiraling into this complete hell of a hopscotching virus and hospitalizations. The five worst days we have had have been basically in the last week. Five of the last eight days have been the highest five days we’ve seen. Not rounding the corner. Not going to disappear. There is no need for a jump scare in this story. The virus is no surprise—only Trump’s inaction is surprising.
And yet there’s good news. The monster only haunts us if we allow it to. We know what to wear and how to live, but too many, in places with spread, are being told that they don’t have to, and they’re choosing to believe. That’s why the scariest people this Halloween, ironically will be the ones not wearing masks. Everywhere we look, from the pandemic to protests, depressed economy to our growing depression in our ranks, we are in a bad place.
We have to be better than this. We must do better than this. And I believe we can. We’re treating one another as monsters, and these are polarizing times. But we’re making them that way. We could put the same energy into figuring out what we agree on, how to be together, and how to fight together. Why? It’s the same energy. At the end of the day, living angry is hard. Living to be kind is hard. We need to choose our hard. Dividing is hard. Uniting is hard. Maintaining lies is hard. Sometimes telling people the painful truth is hard. Being sick is hard. Doing what you have to do to stay healthy is hard. As individuals and as one country, we have to choose our hard.
Now one choice is going to take us in a direction that’s going to feel like a Trick. Another is sweeter, it’s better, it’s more who we’re supposed to be, and that is much more akin to a Treat. We’re not built for harshness. We’re built for sweet strength. We have always been, in this country, in a battle to get to a better place. We always have been. The question is, will that continue after Tuesday? That’s what this election is about.
The last word goes to Don Lemon. Breathe, he said last night. Breathe, and be kind.