It’s hard to know right now what is an appropriate level of paranoia.
Sometimes I feel like I’m a little bitch. That previous generations had to face worse economies, that epidemics are nothing new. My understanding of history shows that plagues and job losses and widespread fear are pretty common to mankind, most of the time. It makes me feel like my privilege is really being exposed: I’m a homeowner with decent job security (for now) and all I have to do is stay in one place and watch the world fracture in real time on social media.
But then, I feel like the social media part is modern reality is a big component of this present suffering. Watching the drama unfold, as told by unreliable narrators. The “wars and rumors of wars” part of this situation is out of control — the fear-driven speculation drives me into an emotional rollercoaster. Everything is fine. No, everything is fucked. Just kidding, it’s probably fine. No, we have no metric to calculate this modern pandemic. And on and on….
I want to say, however, that I am concerned about civil rights. I’m afraid that fear weakens the masses. I fear that powerful parties can prey on that fear. Or, worse, power can use that fear to convince the majority of people that “the greater good” is trusting the government to slowly and surely tighten restrictions and put into effect marshal law.
See about the paranoia?
Yet I watch Governor Inslee in his latest press meeting call on citizens to report violators of his stay-at-home order.
Informant culture? Is this what our fear is driving us to? Turning others in to the authorities?
“We’re not arresting people, we’re not citing people, we’re not detaining people,” Inslee said. “Our posture, our role — at this time, anyway — is to inform and educate.”
To me, it seems like a slippery slope to a police state. The day that I have to explain to a police officer what I’m walking the street — that is a dark day in American history.
I am conflicted today. Tired of the fear-mongering. Tired of the hysteria. Yet, I’m feeling better than ever, physically. I eat three home-cooked meals a day from scratch. I sleep a full night. I have no commute stress. I work in the garden at intervals and take breaks from my day job whenever I want to stretch my legs or go on a bike ride.
These are strange times. I don’t think that our government is capable of a vast conspiracy — I think they’re far too inept for that, haha. But I do think they can exploit a bad situation where people feel powerless, frustrated, and panicky.
I’m staying alert and taking regular coffee breaks.
Just in case.