We have now endured three boring months of coronavirus lockdown, and it has been revealing.
When we were first attacked by the coronavirus, leaders told us to follow the science. But, after only one month of lockdown, incidents of racism toward our Asian community took off. When challenged, all too often folks said:
“What d’you expect? THEY created this mess!”
Coronavirus and Lockdown
Well, I never expected to see wearing a mask turned into a political statement with folks being accosted in the street, accused of being leftist morons, for the decency of caring for others.
And now, we are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. Folks shrug their shoulders and declare:
“I’m done with this!”
Like somehow, feelings influence the science.
Lockdown and Race Issues
Also, I believe people’s frustration with lockdown has magnified racial unrest. Folks are tired. They are scared. They are angry. And now they have a target for all that angst, something easy to understand.
None of This is New
For ages now, experts warned us of a pandemic and recommended precautions that we ignored.
Denial of science is always with us. It was the theme of many of the horror movies I grew up watching. You know, the new science that inflames folks into an angry mob marching in the streets with burning torches, egged on by an ignorant leader.
But in lockdown, folks use science denial to justify ignoring social distancing, masking and other advice from public health officials.
And I have to say that the number of trolls attacking and harassing the climate community is on the rise.
Scientists are a visible target. Often, they were the nerds that didn’t fit in high school, and they are easy for many to dislike. They use weird language, and they always seem to answer direct questions with:
As an aging and nerdy scientific type, I live this reality every day.
Lockdown and Racism
The race issues we face have been with us forever too, often under the cover of political correctness. It simmers away, always; waiting for a spark to ignite it into the inferno we are living with now.
We can’t douse the fire with token gestures. We need systematic changes and a recognition that those little micro-aggressions we are told to accept, mount up and up until folks explode. The anger and frustration of lockdown was the catalyst needed to ignite the blaze.
Lockdown has allowed folks to indulge in some racist garbage. I am seeing a side of colleagues I never knew existed. They are showing their true colours. This leaves me with the tough decision to unfriend them or stay with them on the off chance we might discuss their fears and concerns like rational adults.
Lockdown – The Positives
So, how has all of this shown our good side?
Well, we have our heroes.
Nurses and doctors on the font line of COVID response, even now, though they are no longer featured in the news. Or, police chiefs who meet with demonstrators, take off their riot gear, take a knee and join the march for systematic change. I include in all of this, my colleagues in the climate community who keep at it, despite the harassment and anger directed at them, always looking for a chance for open dialogue about climate. Much of this, without fanfare, by folks who just want to do the right thing.
Lockdown Gives Us Time to Reflect
So, I went on a bit of a ramble this week. This happens when I am in lockdown. I have lots of time to think, and these issues seem related to me, though I’m still working out how.
And it seems to me, while unpleasant news fills the media, there is more good than bad in all of this. While there are some hateful people out there, most folks mean well. But, we need to look beyond the anger and frustration of three months of lockdown.