I am not nostalgic. I don’t long for a past, period, or place with greater pleasure than the optimism of tomorrow. Yet somehow I find myself in a Richard Condon script where two seniors citizens spouting whimsical “Dirty Harry” one-liners are gambling with my life all the way to the White House. While I’m forced to stay home without a job as they try to pin the tail on the pandemic. When they can’t even set up Facebook Live on their phones, finish thoughts, or handle a challenging question without criticizing the interviewer. Both of them. I’m living in a country that’s allowed this to happen. We did this.
I miss the days when I didn’t know what everyone was thinking. What they were mad about. And most unfortunate, what they believed. There was a time when we didn’t mind dump every opinion onto the world. It wasn’t even possible. A life before real-time USBrain uploads, streaming every droll idea; collusion clusters feeding off each other’s curiosity like brain-eating amoebas only separated by passwords. Where we didn’t exist on a perpetual IV drip of false flags, deep state, and gaslighting memes. When our faces weren’t illuminated blue in technological root clumps. A time when everything wasn’t everything. The Theory of Everything used to be left to philosophers via scribes, not Waxing Wendy on her Insta feed.
It is so hard not to judge people online. (Just think of how hard you’re trying not to judge me right now. Or how much you are.)
Not until the advent of “alternative facts” did we decide to believe in something other than the truth (ours or otherwise). A fringe conspiracy, now at the forefront, that somehow two realities coexist. This is absolute bullshit. What we choose to ingest defines our moral code. For many, it’s hard to know right from wrong when there are two realities. Two sets of facts. Two marketing campaigns. Two “enemies.”
Many moons ago, a part of me would’ve died being forced to sit through another episode of Law & Order SVU in a Baja Mexico all-inclusive. The drab simplicity of one channel, the only English one. It was just enough to remind me of the kind warm blanket that is America. What I wouldn’t give now to reset us all with another Benson and Stabler marathon. Surely a Special Victims Unit Ludovico Technique can get us all back on track, right?
History has a way of shining a light on the truth. If I’m nostalgic for anything, it’s this: I can’t wait for tomorrow so we can see what we said yesterday and relive its nonsense with the nostalgia only the future can regale. Nationwide Easter Sunday ribbon cutting. Sniffing hair. Mayor Goodman. Bleachgate. Celebrating arrogance. Anti-quarantine protests. Twitter culture. Safe spaces. Outrage for outrage’s sake. Virtue signaling. Hypocritical virtue signaling. The need for the expression of virtue signaling. Sarcasm as an excuse for ignorance. Gaslighting. ”The best people.” Constant Breaking News. Reporters being berated for asking questions. Reporters asking mindless questions like, “Is ‘Chinese food’ racist?” All of it.
Then there’s the “burn it all down” crowd. We are currently living in phase two of an arson economy. Sheltered in place, hermetically sealed in political faith with no money or leadership while Rome burns. Do people ever stop and think about what America will look like after it’s all burnt down? Are you still roasting s’mores with smiles celebrating your 401ks? Or are you scratching your head with an empty checkbook wondering how the hell we got here? Lemme guess: Burn It All Down 2: The Wokening?
People come to truths on their terms when they’re ready. Forming new opinions usually takes time, reflection, tragedy, and sometimes even luck. We all have time now. Certainly, a day (or 30) to reflect. We’re smack dab in the middle of a crisis. Maybe, finally, we’ll all get that big break we’ve been promised?
“You’ve got to ask yourself a question: ‘do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”