The Land of Constant Mourning
In America, violence is the click track. In 1619, it counted us in. In 2022, it still does. I know it’s hard to hear with everything blaring so loudly.
There has almost never — not in my lifetime, and I assume not in yours — been a time when we weren’t at war. If not with the world, then with ourselves. In this country, we kill. The many who don’t decry the violence appear to cheer for it openly.
I don’t even need to tell you what I’m referencing, or go into detail carrying statistic after weighty statistic. Yet between the pandemic, climate change, state-sanctioned murder, domestic terrorism, declining life expectancy, forced birth, the opioid crisis, sky-high maternal death rates, and “garden-variety” gun violence, it’s hard not to shake the feeling that in America, death is our lingua franca. It’s our indoctrination. It’s how we tell our children to “grow up.” By traumatizing them … assuming they survive past recess.
Welcome to the land of constant mourning. We don’t even get the day off work to grieve. I woke up at 6 a.m., started editing at 7:30, and by 11:00 I was neck-deep in Slack messages. “How are you?” “Good! You?”
No … I am not good. We are not good. But alas, it’s just back to work. Nothing changes and nothing stops. The machine ticks on; the people suppress their inconvenient feelings. And it’s every day with this horseshit.
I cannot imagine having kids right now. I cannot imagine telling them what I know responsible, loving parents have to talk to them about. I cannot imagine adding an additional body to the count, or bringing life more into this world that this country can then cut short.
Nothing changes. Doesn’t seem to matter how loud, or sad, or angry we get. It doesn’t matter how broad the support is for progress. We watch a governor give a press conference. We lower the flags to half-mast. We hold a moment of silence. Yet all we do is wake up and log back into work. “How are you?” “Good!” Every morning. Every mourning.
We stuff our dread, grief, and rage way down into our core. It calcifies and it hardens us. We plaster smiles upon our faces and plaster band-aids over bullet wounds. We emit thoughts…