I have been a Covid hostage from March of 2020 until February of 2021, which is when I got my first vaccination shot. That is enough time for what’s called the Stockholm Syndrome to take root and build within my psyche the necessary combination of fear and helplessness. If that isn’t a diagnosis of the Stockholm Syndrome then I’m a monkey’s uncle. Although, as we struggle with new gender definitions, I believe I would be a monkey’s aunt or monkey’s They???? Sorry, can’t go there because I am too ill informed.
Ok so I acknowledge I am a victim of Covid Stockholm Syndrome. And thankfully, I do not feel alone. Please let me know if this resonates with you.
Since I have returned north (Brrrrrrr!!!), I have been talking to friends and family about their winter in a cold Covid climate and the advent of the vaccinations and the promise of a different Spring and Summer from last year. I feel like I am a human who has been in hibernation. And as the vaccinations proceed very slowly, one foot in front of the other, sniffing and searching as I go, testing the waters as I move from my cave into the light.
In a sense, the exit from my cave and my acceptance of the vaccine is a very personal leap of faith. Every time I have ever made one of those leaps of faith, I have found the juice of life is more profound and though the leaps can be challenging and frightening, ultimately for me they make my life more satisfying.
Yeah??? So what’s my point???
Well, I have discovered quite a few friends that are satisfied with the Covid status quo of the past. Translation: No vaccine. I have spent much of my life opting for FREE CHOICE… religion, race, sex, education… your life, you choose. Well, of course there is a caveat… what’s the matter with you? You think life is fair or free? Not! Only for babies! And then, as sadly we know, in many cases not even for babies.
All right already, I’m getting to it. Here is my point. There is a cost to life. We are periodically asked to make a leap of faith. And for me, getting the vaccine is a leap of faith. There is so much we don’t know. We don’t know way more than we do know… forever. However, if I want to come out of my cave, not wear a mask, travel to see friends, relatives, or the Aurora Borealis, give or get a hug from someone outside my POD (OMG it sounds like a remake of The Body Snatchers), then I need to get my shot.
So what has this got to do with the Stockholm Syndrome?
All of us have been kidnapped by Covid, that’s what!!!
I think it’s time we recognize that fear and helplessness narrows the world and limits life’s opportunities and the wonderful joyful noise that goes with it.
I have had some interesting discussions with friends and acquaintances who have refused vaccinations. Now we all know how ridiculously judgmental I can be… not all the time, but enough of the time to make these discussions, in polite terms, volatile. The reasons against Covid-19 vaccination run the gambit from “not enough time” to “prove the efficacy of the drug” to “political chicanery” from all parties, including current and former Presidents as well as everyone in the House and the Senate, ad infinitum.
Now, I shall acknowledge the use and abuse of both parties to politicize the vaccinations. Science has always had difficulties with the powers that be. Religion and science have made nice over the centuries. They are still suspicious of each other but my take, at least in the United States, is that slowly, very slowly, religion has begun to take its proper place in the pantheon of life as a support system for individuals… part of the four freedoms… freedom of worship. My belief is that this freedom will allow Science and Religion to co-inhabit the world. Imagine that!!
Over the past pandemic year in isolation I have been keeping good company with myself. Herein lies a recent conversation I’ve had with me:
What is behind the rejection of vaccination? FEAR!!
Duh!!! So tell us something we don’t know????
OK, I’ll try.
Go to Google.
Oh, this is good… it’s almost as though Google knew what I was thinking.
The Tar Pits outside of Hancock Park. Over many centuries, the tar pits preserved the bones of trapped animals.
Here’s the story! Back thousands of years ago there was an approaching climate change. Over the centuries there were many climate changes. You know like another Ice Age or heat wave or drought… there weren’t too many deniers of climate change back then because there weren’t that many humans and there were no political parties. However, most of the animals and the few humans had very sharpened animal instincts. The largest of which was survival. Survival and fear go hand in hand. So picture the dinosaurs chomping away on trees and grass (yes most of them were vegetarians) and as the weather changed, their survival/fear instinct was aroused. Now they loved L.A. but those who followed their instincts left Hancock Park and moved north to where they found safety for many millenniums along with evolutionary changes.
Today you can see the remnants of those who ignored their survival/fear instincts and became trapped in the ooze of the La Brea Tar Pits.
What has that got to do with anything?
Sometimes talking to myself is so difficult. Do I have to spell everything out for you?
It’s called species adaptation. Species that adapt to changes survive. Species that don’t… don’t!
Yeah? So what?
Don’t you see. We have two herds. We have the Vaccine Herd Immunizers or the VHI. We have the No Vaccine Herd Immunizers or the NVHI. Both herds fear Covid. However, once the scientists and the FDA approved the vaccines, the VHI team lined up, pushed ahead and did whatever to get their shot. They moved. They adapted. Yes, into the unknown but for them the known was death and illness and no hugs.
The NVHI are waiting and thinking. Not adapting. Still chomping on leaves and grass.
La Brea Tar Pits… now do you get it?
Not to worry. I am donating my brain to Science.
All, to say my dear ones, I’m not telling you what to do, God Forbid, when have I ever done that?
I don’t know about you but even before the pandemic and certainly before the election, I began to worry about what was happening to cause the ever-widening gap between citizens in the United States.
How had the words of our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our very laws been made to look like yesterday’s mashed potatoes. How had “reasonable men and women” become frightened enough and desperate enough to lose their good old American Horse Sense and verbally and physically hurt their fellow humans who had another opinion. I had always known that the Civil War was still an open Southern wound, slow, if ever, to heal. In my opinion, the way the South voted as first a Dixiecrat bloc and presently a Republican bloc, proved that to me. However, there are so many good people of good intent working to heal those wounds, I had hopes.
Daily my hopes are being pounded into dust. I didn’t understand. Usually, after an election, there is elation for one group, dejection for another. Eventually, as a nation, we pull up our socks and hoping for the best, pull together for the good of all. After my own disappointment in 2016, I really did hope for the best and was willing to give one and all the benefit of the doubt. A doubt, unfortunately that over the years expanded exponentially. I digress.
How did we forget that the American Way is to come together? Furthermore, life isn’t just about me, right? It’s about me in concert, cooperation, and coordination with my family, my friends, all my relationships… which includes my citizenship. Even if elected officials negate their responsibilities, that doesn’t absolve me of my duties as an American citizen.
Little did I know that working against all that good old American way of thinking were some of my social media choices. I have written before about the use of propaganda in this digital age. How did I get snookered into the very action I was wailing about?
I had written about Cambridge Analytica and how they invaded through algorithms people’s privacy …. and forgot that one of the major contributors to their success and ultimately their downfall was Facebook.
Yesterday, a good friend asked if I had seen a recent Netflix Documentary, The Social Dilemma. I hadn’t.
STOP. WATCH IT. THEN DELETE.
I saw it last night.
If they can’t find you, they can’t influence you. And if you think you can withstand their influence, make an appointment with your therapist. Denial and Delusion is not the name of a law firm, it is what I am guilty of. How can I continue to wonder why this growing rash of violence, separation, discord evolved from air? It didn’t.
Corporate greed from a new corporate breed: PROFIT OVER PEOPLE
Until these social media corporations have the same regulations as telephone, radio, and television companies have, you can personally take action. And it is an action that is totally in your hands… literally in your hands.
LOVE, Sally-Jane ❤️
P.S. Whatever Holidays you are celebrating I wish you love and joy. Herein are my gifts to you all:
P.P.S. I got some interesting responses to my latest Blah, Blah, Blog… Here are 2 of them:
1.This isn’t the first time Heather Cox Richardson and I have explored similar topics. Hers from an educated historian perspective me from the seat of my opinionated pants:
In Houston, Texas, today, police arrested a former police department captain for running a man off the road and pointing a gun at his head in a misguided attempt to foil a massive voter fraud scheme. Sixty-three-year-old Mark Anthony Aguirre claimed to be part of a citizens’ group investigating voter fraud. Believing his victim was hiding 750,000 fraudulent ballots in his truck, Aguirre rammed the truck with his SUV and held the driver first at gunpoint and then with his knee in the man’s back until police came. Upon inspection, it turned out the truck was full of air conditioning parts. The district attorney, Kim Ogg, said “His alleged investigation was backward from the start—first alleging a crime had occurred and then trying to prove it happened…. [W]e are lucky no one was killed.” And the reason for this crazy man’s head bent full of these crazy ideas is Greed. Greed by big corporate players like Facebook and greed by right wing hucksters like Doug Jones who draws attention to his website by gorging out conspiracy theories in order to keep his audience outraged which makes them keep coming back for more and let’s him sell them more and thus pull in huge amounts of moneyAs they say in all of the detective stories: If you want to catch the criminal follow the money.
I feel a little bit like Peter Finch in the film Network. Remember he played a television broadcaster who amidst the pressure of his work world and the world around him, had a mental breakdown on television screaming, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!!!”
Well, as I watch the media play into the hands of Trump as they did in 2016… not realizing, or maybe conspiratorially they are aware that by their incessant Trump coverage bad, good or indifferent, they are going to get him elected. In this day and age, the PR pundits from P.T. Barnum to Rush Limbaugh, are right: There is no such thing as bad publicity.
I cannot hear or see about anyone except Trump. If I were someone who watched a great deal of television and I wasn’t sure about my vote I wouldn’t even remember who the other guy was so, “what the hell…”. For those who think I am exaggerating, I AM NOT! And at the same time, OMG! I hope and pray I am wrong.
But like Howard Beale, Peter Finch’s character in Network, I can’t take this anymore!!
So I’m going in another direction where the human experience offers an opportunity to alter a self destructive path to planet annihilation. And you thought I was going to make a funny.
Well, in the hopes of the return of my sense of humor, I want to offer for your consideration, two fantastical documentaries on Netflix:
This is about Craig Foster, a videographer living in South Africa, fast approaching a Howard Beale-esque burnout and how he saves his life, by making a 180 degree turn, removing himself to a hut on the Atlantic Ocean near the Cape of Good Hope. He begins a daily swim and dive in the cold and stormy Atlantic. \He encounters an Octopus. He makes this discovery the center of his daily dives for almost a year.
OK, my only experience is watching other people eat the poor animal. Not an animal I would consider pet worthy. But I’m a Brooklyn girl and not too many pet Octopuses in my experience.
This is not about pets. This is about our relationships in what is left of the world we live in and I promise you… in a time of pervasive meaninglessness you will find meaning and purpose in his journey. And here is the best part: You can apply his journey to your life. Of course it’ll be different because we all are different. Basic human geshrai is basic… and it needs to be visited… NOW!
This gentleman… and literally he is a gentle man… at 93, takes us painfully through the decimation of our planet from the year of his birth through today. When he was born, 1927, our world was in what was called the Holocene Era where there appeared to be a balance between wild places (aka nature) and modern civilization (the industrial revolution gone mad).
For me, it was extremely painful to watch the not so-slow-destruction of our planet because during most of my particular generation we gave very little thought to other geographic spaces that held the natural balance. Oh, yes, we wanted to travel to foreign, distant and unique places around the globe, but never thought about what was happening in these habitats; the flora, the fauna, the air.
For those who want to see what and how it happened and most importantly what we can do to reverse the death of earth planet, David Attenborough gives a balanced, measured and simple accounting. It’s not about climate change. Although, that is in it. It’s not about blame. Although, it’s impossible for you and I and all us humans not to acknowledge our responsibility. He explains how we are losing the battle to save the planet and at the same time, he gives us hope. I’ll run with that. Actually at 87, I shall walk with that. Join me!
I chose these two documentaries because in each we have an opportunity to correct some negative, hopeless, scenarios. I don’t want to feel shamed in front of my children and grandchildren that I left them such a crappy place to live.
This is my response to a special feeling of being pelted by media negativity. As a mere mortal, I have a limited ability to withstand the slings and arrows of the outrageous fortunes of their depressing onslaught.
Repeat with me what Howard Beale of the Network said:
I had a recent unsettling experience… let me set the scene:
Two acquaintances on my porch for morning coffee and croissants. As we settle down and begin discussing the topic du jour… our various adventures in and around the pandemic and the election, eventually, in my own inimitable voice of authority, I bring up the wearing of masks.
“If only we had some Federal leadership that would create a national program for the wearing of masks and other safety issues that are necessary for our protection,” says I.
Let’s face it, my friends, I am old enough – barely – to remember the Federal programs during World War II that were necessary to help us survive and help the war effort… ration books for food and gas, meatless days, paper and metal drives.
Oh, sure there were always people that didn’t join in that effort… and there were many Black Market organizations. But for the most part, most everyone came together as part of the civilian war effort.
People died in the war. People died in the pandemic.
End of the aside.
Expecting to have both guests nod heads in agreement, I was heartily disappointed. The female of the duo nodded. The male said,
“I don’t think it’s fair to blame him. We are a country founded on States’ Rights and each state should have their own laws about how they want to handle the pandemic. I think, considering what he has to deal with, he is doing a very good job.”
Shock! Dismay! Disbelief!
I know a few people (and relatives, too) who think he is doing a good job. However, I am not in close proximity with them. You might say we really have perfected long distance social distancing. This was the first time I was sitting near enough where I could see the whites of his eyes. I was struggling to be polite. But when he started quoting Fake News items I realized there could be no discussion.
I quickly looked at my watch, which I forgot to put on, and told them that I had forgotten I had an online class in a few minutes. You didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that time had just run out… the party was over.
They left. I was angry. But worse than that I was shocked. This manis a cultured, educated, sophisticated upper middle class white human male. How did this happen? I racked my brain.
And it finally came to me…
After a self-organized reading program of black non-fiction writers like Isabel Wilkerson and Carol Anderson, I realized they were right all along! The white majority is disappearing. I had just been witness to an example of this fact. This white upper middle class man in fear of losing his white majority is going to vote for the man who will guarantee that majority against all odds. As time goes on the white majority will be no more. I am not rabble-rousing. Check the statistics (I can’t believe someone who hates statistics as much as I do is saying this).
And before I let go of this bone, in 1970 you could substitute the silent majority of the Nixon era with the white majority of this era. And never forget it was this silent majority that allowed the wannabe tyrant Joseph McCarthy to flourish.
So alright already… What is this white majority that is being written about and exemplified in books, movies, television, podcasts, editorials, and just plain life? Obviously, I am going to have difficulty explaining it because I am so apparently part of it. I am of the white/caucasian persuasion. Black, white, brown, orange, purple… we are all part of this human condition… with differences. As part of the human condition/nature, consciously or unconsciously, we each strive to be better than someone else. A human animal popularity contest, if you will.
I know as the seventh of eight children I do not remember a day when I didn’t strive to be better than anyone of my brothers or sisters. My parents actually promoted that competition, thinking the competition would push us to excel in our various gifts, which personally I am happy to say it did, but they used it also as a control of a sometimes uncontrollable large family. And because of my race, I could move more easily in the world. And here is the big word that explains how I could do it:
ASSIMILATE – that’s what I could do.
I was acceptable… up to a point… being a Jew kept me back many times in my life and I can still recognize a slur when it happens… even in jokes… but basically, if I chose to I didn’t have to say I was Jewish and then I would always be acceptable because I could assimilate into this amorphous white majority. See how easily it works???
If you are black, this is not possible. A black person is always black. Except of course, black people who look white and then they have to decide whether to pass which is another word for assimilation. So how did the white majority control the black population? During the centuries of black slavery this was easy. Blacks were property, not people. There was no white majority because in fact whites controlled everything and therefore, obviously it did not need to be stated.
It was after the Civil War with emancipation, voting rights, human rights, and civil rights, when whites, most obviously in the South and more subtly in the North, felt the thunder and fear of change.
A brief dream time of Reconstruction was systematically squashed by the new Jim Crow laws of the south, created and enacted by the vanquished losers of the Civil War and legislators of the treasonable former Confederacy.
Ghettos, incarceration, proliferation of drugs, low service jobs, sharecropping (another version of slavery), limited and segregated housing and education, unequal voting and civil rights… all the negative control factors used by the white majority to control black lives.
Whites fear that black lives not only matter but that they will race ahead, leaving white lives in their dust. They certainly have done it in the world of sports and popular music.
Obama’s two-time win (accomplished without the white majority) put the white majority into a tailspin and is the most probable cause for the continued bitter (and what I personally consider un-American) politics of Republic Congressman, Senators and Judges – A black president in the White House? Never again!
The white majority is and will disappear. That’s a fact! The mix of nationalities which, to me has always been the backbone of America’s strength will now add a new strength in the form of mixed colors… HOORAY!
And let us not forget, the President’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders known as the Kerner Commission, headed by Governor Otto Kerner of Illinois, appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in July 1967 to uncover the causes of urban riots and to recommend solutions. The report, which declared that “our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal,” and warned that unless drastic and costly remedies were undertaken at once, there would be a “continuing polarization of the American community and, ultimately, the destruction of basic democratic values.”
There is a slate up for election on November 3rd that exemplifies a necessary and overdue recognition of this reality.
My reckoning is that this person who came to my porch for coffee and an abrupt departure doesn’t even realize he is part of that fearful white majority. I am sorry for him. But I am happy that his partner will cancel out his vote. I worry about others who don’t have anyone to cancel out their vote. So I ask us all to do what we can to give us back a country with some basic civility and caring to help us heal.
A friend recently sent me a link to this article by George Conway in the Washington Post. To say I had a strong reaction is an understatement! I couldn’t understand how reading a list of his bona fides insanity and ridiculousness could possibly be worth my time. Between the pandemic news of the day and the election news of the day, we are taking a battering.
Well, my friends I had to interrupt my reading at Chapter 2 to write to you…
WE ALL NEED TO READ THIS BOOK! It reveals the truth of how the monster made it this far and what we all did or didn’t do to contribute to our current painful reality. It is from this painful acknowledgement that the solution can be found.
And if I didn’t believe there was a solution to the absurd and terrifying situation we are in, then I’d go out without a mask, touch my face, never wash my hands, go to school in Georgia and buy a Harley so I can join the South Dakota Bike Rally.
So while I finish this book, I hope you’ll start it. Then, let’s tawk!
P.P.S. And finally, amidst all this confusion someone speaks how we can understand and come together…
We trust you to make your own choices if you want to wear a face mask. And, in the same spirit of individual liberty, we allow our staff to make their own choices about the safety procedures they prefer to follow as they prepare and serve your food.
We encourage employees to wash their hands after using the bathroom, but understand that some people may be allergic to certain soaps or may simply prefer not to wash their hands. It is not our place to tell them what to do.
We understand that you may be used to chicken that has been cooked to 165 degrees. We do have to respect that some of our cooks may have seen a meme or a YouTube video saying that 100 degrees is sufficient, and we do not want to encroach on their beliefs.
Some of our cooks may prefer to use the same utensils for multiple ingredients, including ingredients some customers are allergic to. That is a cook’s right to do so.
Some servers may wish to touch your food as they serve it. There is no reason that a healthy person with clean hands can’t touch your food. We will take their word for it that they are healthy and clean.
Water temperature and detergent are highly personal choices, and we allow our dishwashing team to decide how they’d prefer to wash the silverware you will put in your mouth.
Some of you may get sick, but almost everyone survives food poisoning. We think you’ll agree that it’s a small price to pay for the sweet freedom of no one ever being told what to do – and especially not for the silly reason of keeping strangers healthy.
P.S. My experience of this pandemic is that it is wreaking havoc with our emotions and psyche and ultimately physically. People are saying and doing things that in ordinary times they would never say or do.
A friend sent me this Mark Twain quote and it went straight to my Heart, Mind and Soul and I feel better. If it’s relevant for you, I hope it helps. If isn’t relevant give yourself a reality check, pronto.
I really don’t get the hullabaloo concerning masks. If I understood that if I didn’t wear a mask I would be affecting and infecting not only myself but friends, relatives and neighbors and I couldn’t go shopping or walking about, why would I even give it a second thought? I would say to myself right out, “Put the mask on, jerkball!!”
Of course, if I didn’t believe that people had been and were continuing to be deathly ill and dying and dead from Covid 19 and that it was nothing but a political manipulation by “The Enemy”, (and will someone please tell me what the enemy looks like so I can be prepared?), I might think differently. But please tell me, what human in the universe has not heard of or know someone who has contracted the virus. If you are someone who is that someone (talk about isolation!) please tell me where is your desert island and aren’t you just a little bit lonely?
Below is a very simple demonstration of why the mask is essential to your and everyone else’s health.
If anyone is still skeptical after that video, which is as apolitical as it gets, then all I want to say to you is, “Don’t be a jerkball. I don’t care who you vote for but I do care that you LIVE. Got it! Get it! Good!”
And now let me give you a slice of hope and happiness as an antidote to those the little germs from the previous video. I think it is interesting how even in social distancing (and such distances in this video… around the world and back), these wonderful people obviously use their creative juices to give themselves and others joy and beauty.
I firmly believe, as others tear at the fabric of civility in whatever is left of this civilization, this is the kind of enterprise that is destined to keep us together.
Right? Of course, right!
P.S. And whatever you think or do or say, never lose your sense of humor. Survival isn’t possible without one. Thus spake the Oracle (and my cousin Bernie).
Every time I think I have a handle on how to handle the world I and fellow beings presently inhabit, I lose the handle. Why can’t I keep a steady hand on the wheel of my life? I know the rules of safety. I try my best to follow them… Social distancing, masking, hand washing, sanitizing, travel limits.
I am kidding you and myself because, of course I know why I can’t keep it steady. I am not in control.
I feel like I am between a rock and a hard place. I know the feeling well because I have been there many times before.
I think I am being vigilant. But then, I watch others out of my control, threaten themselves and others with their choices. It then becomes my responsibility to set limits and put out the no vacancy sign. It is so alien to the nature of this here beast.
My door has always been open. In the world today that is not an option. I can make some adjustments. And for this I am so very grateful that I am able to set up for a meal in the garden or the porch with safe spacing, masks and whatever else is necessary for the safety of all.
I did not know the depth and the extent of the migration of Black Americans from the South to the North and to the West from 1915 – 1970. For me, Ms. Wilkerson’s narrative is the foretelling of the ongoing struggle for Black equality we are experiencing at this time. She has chosen three protagonists from three different locations in three different decades of the migration. Their detailed journey from the white racism of the South that followed them to the white racism of the North and West is shocking and a necessary and important tool in understanding how racism, subtle and not so subtle works.
At the end of the book Ms. Wilkerson writes some notes about her methodology in putting this brilliant study together. She quotes from a 672 page report by a white-led Commission on the Chicago Riots of 1919 wherein the commission admonishes all.
THIS MUST CHANGE!
It is important for our white citizens always to remember that the Negroes alone of all our immigrants came to America against their will by the special compelling invitation of the whites; that the institution of slavery wast introduced, expanded and maintained by the United States by the white people and for their own benefit; and they likewise created the conditions that followed emancipation.
Our Negro problem, therefore, is not of the Negro’s making. No group in our population is less responsible for its existence. But every group is responsible for its continuance… Both races need to understand that their rights and duties are mutual and equal and their interests in the common good are identical… There is no help or healing in appraising past responsibilities or in present apportioning of praise or blame. The past is of value only as it aids in understanding the present; an understanding of the facts of the problem — a magnanimous understanding by both races — is the first step toward a solution.
Excerpt, The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, page 543
The report came out in 1922. Last time I checked my calendar it was 2020.
THOUGHT 3: IF YOU’RE NOT IN THE OBIT, EAT BREAKFAST
There is no way that I am going to leave you without a smile on your face and a laugh in your heart. Even though my go-to cheerleader, Carl Reiner, left for quieter climes.
I am sure Carl and Snoopy were in complete agreement.
Here is a documentary he narrated when he was only 94:
Love, Sally-Jane ❤️
P.S. Happy July 4th. It’s way past time to put our money (and our votes) where our mouths are…