Twenty Years

I missed the 20-year anniversary of my college graduation by a day, but under the circumstances, you know. You’ll have that.

Twenty years ago I got a graduation ceremony—in fact I got two of them, one for the College of Design and one for Iowa State University Class of 2000 as a whole—whereas this year’s graduates get a webcast.

Halfway between then and now, I wrote about assorted life lessons at another blog.

Now we are living through a greater unraveling, and, yeah.

Everything is very bizarre.

Personally, fwiw, COVID-19 hasn’t had a big impact on me, yet. I’m doing some work. Staying at home and interacting with others via the internet are not difficult for me to deal with. The biggest change to daily life, so far, is that I take regular hikes because the YMCA is closed. (I have already been cutting my own hair, such as there is any, for more than 15 years.)

Meanwhile, conversations with informed, rational people treat “yeah it’s going to get much worse before it gets better” as completely routine.

My response to the larger problems might be characterized as detachment, denial and/or fantasy. But, I’m one individual and a world-historical hurricane is bearing down; I’m not sure how one would even begin identifying the rational responses amid this. Some have a clearly relevant duty, e.g. mayors, nurses, public health experts. (United States senators even if a majority of them long ago abdicated their duties and aren’t looking back.) For those of us who lack a clear relevant duty, but have the time and opportunity to be activists, there are countless possibilities. If it’s rational to do something, choosing among the many possibilities seems impossible without resort to instinct or something else arbitrary and irrational.

I’m pitching in with various here-and-now activities, but the whisper in my ghost has directed me toward forms of organizing for tomorrow, on my own initiative. It seems like someone should. So, things like a book about running for local office, and exploring some local-level organizing. Also a dive into the deeper problems which I don’t believe any of what we’re doing now will fix; I am more and more convinced that our concept of the political process e.g. is about 50% theater and 50% religious ritual. It doesn’t have to be that way. Another world is possible. Maybe looking for one is entirely fanciful, now of all times.

But, again, I don’t know where is the completely rational response in a world of chaos, corrosion and dysfunction.

Panel from a 1980s “X-Factor” annual

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