Everybody is Broken

It is difficult to write about COVID today without immediately hearing people’s intense often knee-jerk reactions. There are people pushing masking and almost every other kind of restriction. Others with an equal intensity oppose almost any efforts to brace the country for the onset of Omicron. I was reminded of this (as if I’d had much chance to forget) in various conversations about the public schools in New York City this week. I do not put these differing attitudes on an equal footing, or any of the spectrum of gradations between them. I lean more to the former category. And, to be clear, I am only talking here about people who are broadly in a reality-based universe: People who have gotten vaccinated and encourage others to do so. People who recognize the horrible toll COVID has taken on the country. But there is a common driver of intensity across that spectrum. Which is that people have reserves of hurt, fear and anger after two years living through a global pandemic. That gets channeled into these reactions. This doesn’t mean that the sentiments or less true or that they’re equally true. But they’re all powered by an erratic emotional fuel which is a product of the last two years. If you open yourself to it, you can feel it. It’s palpable and not always pretty. Everybody is a bit broken by it, even if their physical health is more or less unscathed.