“I imagine your life in VT going along in much the same way as usual…Tim going to work, Deb going to the writing studio and plenty of hiking, etc., on the off hours,” reads Cousin Becky’s recent email.
What she imagines is, in fact, what is real.
Not Much Has Changed
As if Living in Place has been practice for a worldwide pandemic, my life has not changed very much these past eight months. Tim still drives eight miles to work; I still walk a hundred yards to the Word Shop. We cook, bake bread and garden, as ever; we hike when we can. These activities are integral to our rural life, to living locally, and to supporting our worldly work of doctoring (Tim) and writing (me).
Vermont shut down early, and for the most part, Vermonters have practiced social distancing. Vermont has low population density, and social distancing is a way of life in normal times; it’s not that hard to intensify social distance in this time of plague. And personally, closing down of so much commerce and entertainment has only made it easier for me to sit at my desk without experiencing FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. I’ve made great progress on Learning to Hunt, a narrative about learning to hunt deer, and now I’m preparing to hunt again.
In her email, Becky asks, “Are you still doing your blogs? I used to get them weekly straight to my email, but haven’t been for quite some time now.”
I have lapsed writing this blog. Part of that is due to sinking into writing Learning to Hunt, sustaining my train of thought from day to day without much interruption. But part is also dismay at what’s happening in the world: how the pandemic is worse for those whose lives are already hard – especially in the United States, where racial, social, and economic disparities have exposed the inequality in a country where we want to believe that all people are created equal and everyone has the same, fair chance.
The pandemic has made me so aware of my privilege, from my ability to weather the pandemic in relative safety, to knowledge that I am more likely to be protected by police than harmed by them, that I’m not sure how I can add to the conversations that are important now.
I’m also scared. What will happen to our freedoms if Trump is reelected? And how will he behave if he is defeated? Will Republicans continue to control the Senate, always changing the rules so they can win? If the Democrats take control, will they be able to agree among themselves to forge a path forward? Will there ever be a return to civility, compromise and consensus?
I don’t think I’m the only one with these worries, and maybe articulating them will benefit readers. Please, let me know. I invite civil commentary.
Joan Feret says
I too feel almost paralyzed by fear – the mere idea of Trump possibly being reelected. I am appalled that so many of my acquaintances still feel he is the better choice. How?!
Deborah L. Detering says
Your worries mirror mine. I’m hoping there are still some moderate Republicans who, when freed from fear of Trump’s tweets, will be find enough courage to work across the aisle; if anyone can get them to do so, it’s Biden. But there’s the fear that they will keep doing their best to sabotage anything a Democrat suggests. I’m quite sure we are in for hard times with the economy, and if Republicans truly believe it was was “the greatest” under Trump, and sabotage any corrections, we’re in for worse times. I don’t understand the delusions or the deluded.
I, too, miss your voice. It’s true that there is so much coming at us (like driving into a snowstorm) that it’s tempting to stay quiet. But I think that your voice finding its way through this abysmal challenge will help the rest of us figure out what our role might be (bystander training, participating in Constructive White Conversations, continuing political action, reading books, etc.). Grateful for this post.
Deborah Lee Luskin says
“liked driving in to a snowstorm” – spot on.
Clark Todd says
Hi Deb and all- Fear, yes. I think everyone is feeling that. I have never joined a street protest or done much political work other than attend town meeting very infrequently and voting. I’ve been paying much closer attention to this election though, and the prospect of a power grab or coup looks real and not overblown. I’ve found useful information on what I can do if the vote is undermined on this website https://choosedemocracy.us/trainings/#.X56wLlNKhb8 . It analyzes coups that have been attempted and thwarted in the past and gives practical tips on what we can do as individuals to help deal with this possibility. Lots of resources and ideas based on logic. The worst thing is to remain in paralysis if the vote is blatantly undermined.I encourage anyone who is in a state of fear and paralysis to study up on what practical things they can do to make sure that all the votes are counted. This doesn’t make you a flaming radical, it’s as American as apple pie!
richard dowsett says
I think I am right on this and in fact the Guardian says something pretty similar in Saturday’s paper. Assuming the US Army learnt its lesson in the 1860s and you know who has a finger on the nuclear button, it seems (given the odd law suit or two) that Trump can hole up in the White House for the time being. In which case nothing can happen before January 20 (?) 2021. After this date neither Biden nor Trump can be sworn in so there is no president. In which case the presidency must go to the speaker of the House of Representatives who is a Democrat. I think this is Nancy Pelosi. Has Trump thought this far ahead?
So get out there and vote! The UK government has done nothing in anticipation of a Biden win. So you can understand what the Johnson-Brexit-Farage-Good Friday Agreement melange will look like when it crosses his desk! Direct your sympathy to………!
RACHEL KEEBLER says
Thank you for posting again, so glad your life goes on apace. Living in a pretty rural place myself, the pandemic seems to effect us only in face to face interactions (or potential interactions) with the “outside’ world. I’m grateful for the technology that most of us share which can keep us in touch even if we can’t get together. This blog helps with thoughtfulness. Thank you, and thanks for the content of the comments, too. This time particularly the one that links to Choose Democracy. It’s really a good fear fighter to have a plan and know you are not alone.