Every so often throughout the course of history, a monster comes along – the kind our parents promised us don’t really exist – to put the human race back in its place. Its sole purpose is to remind us how small and truly insignificant we all are. This monster is among us now, lurking invisible to the naked eye but proving itself to be bigger, more adaptable and more powerful than any one of us. Ironically, it’s this very beast that reminds us it can only be defeated by “the whole” of us.
This monster could care less who you voted for in 2016 – or who you’ll choose in 2020. Your skin color is of absolutely no consequence. Fat or thin, Jew or Gentile, millions of Twitter followers or zero “likes” on Facebook – none of that matters in the least. Neither does it care who you love. Nor which restroom you prefer to use. You’re at risk whether your home is secluded behind gates in Malibu or tucked underneath an overpass along the West Side Highway. Princes and paupers, Kings and Kardashians are infected equally. Your chances of surviving are essentially the same as anyone else’s. No biblical god you worship will descend in a blaze of glory to redeem you. You are not special. You are not exempt.
Some of us immediately step up to confront this beast face to face – despite a shortage of weapons and ammo – as first responders, doctors, cops, EMT’s, postal carriers and those unseen heroes who restock our supermarkets under the cover of darkness. Some of us listen to the experts and isolate ourselves to protect “the whole”. There are those of us who find spring break and other sorts of socializing more precious than “the whole.” Let others do the quarantining while we get drunk, get laid, or at least, get tanned. And then there are the big-mouths with small-minds among us who spread hate nearly as rapidly as this monster spreads its seed. Hate is a currency that pays handsomely when stirred within a snifter of fear. Some expect our grandparents to graciously volunteer their ventilators to get the economy restarted – and thus prevent a potential third-quarter global shortage of the brand new Smartphone Max with a 120Hz refresh rate. After all, that really is an astounding evolutionary leap in technology.
What’s so utterly fascinating is how cunning this creature is to see past all the bullshit we so desperately cling to – all these labels which divide us – and deny us the power to embrace each other – on purpose – for who we are. Imagine what “the whole” could achieve if only we wore the same blinders this monster chooses to wear. But alas, we’re only human beings. We will forever see ourselves as separate entities – rather than part of “the whole”. Let’s face it. Whether it’s divine or by design, only “the whole” can defeat this monster.
The once firm foundation of “the whole” – our supposed pillars of society – have all failed us. One by one, they’ve been corrupted. The Church, Wall Street, Government, Education. Even Family – however each of us chooses to define our own family, is failing to provide character, values, virtues and love to successive generations. Look no further than our leaders for false positives amid fake presidents. Our statesmen are stable geniuses of misstatement. And yet so many of us still listen. So what are we left with? Medicine? Is that our last pillar of hope? Probably not. Hospitals are our cathedrals to health. Doctors make life and death decisions daily. We expect a vaccine for every virus. A pill for every pathogen. Yet when something so simple as social distancing can’t be sustained by “the whole”, it becomes every man for himself.
And that’s where the lie comes back to haunt us – that lie our parents told us about monsters. They’ve always been real. They’ve always been here. They’re us.