A blog about how the world has changed over the last few weeks and months. Because not only are we going through a pandemic, but we are also witnessing social change and history in the making.
Could 2020 BE any madder?
Don’t ask me what week of lockdown it is, I have no idea. If it helps with the timeline, it’s been 100 days since the last Premier League match was played. I only know that because unfortunately, the welcome hiatus comes to an end tonight with matches, played in empty stadia, resuming on TV. Mr Maven is disproportionately excited.
The last fortnight has seen so many huge news stories, it’s been hard to keep up. This blog isn’t usually a place for politics or current affairs, but I felt I had to record these events, in a factual way – without (too much) opinion.
Black Lives Matter
On 25 May 2020, a policeman in the US knelt on George Floyd’s neck until he died, leading to Black Lives Matter protests all over the world. Trump reacted with his standard outrageous fuckwittery, tweeting “when the shooting starts, the looting starts.”
A fence was erected around the White House to keep the protesters out. That same fence has since become a memorial to racial justice, displaying hundreds of posters and placards supporting the cause.
Black Lives Matter Plaza is now the official name of the road leading up to the President’s house. The words are emblazoned on the tarmac in huge letters, in a permanent middle finger salute to Trump.
The British response
In the UK thousands of anti-racism protestors took to the streets across the country, with the statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston being pulled down from its plinth in Bristol and tossed into the river. This has led to a debate about the dubious discriminatory contributions of many other historical figures, and whether their statues should be removed.
Far-right groups gathered at the weekend, supposedly to protect the statue of Winston Churchill in Westminster, which was already boarded up. There were clashes with the police and a heroic rescue of one injured fascist by a black protestor.
The media’s response
Several TV shows and films have been removed from streaming services. Little Britain and Come Fly With Me were taken down for featuring scenes with blackface, while Gone With The Wind has been ‘temporarily removed’ for racist content.
Social media has been a huge catalyst for scaling up the BLM campaign, providing inspiration and education in equal measure. It’s also given me a great excuse to unfollow a whole heap of people who don’t share my views on the matter.
The coronavirus backdrop
And all of this during the deadliest pandemic in modern history, with millions furloughed or unemployed, facing an uncertain future. The majority of kids are still not in school, parents are juggling homeschooling and work, and there’s talk of this ‘lost generation’ of school children suffering for decades to come.
You couldn’t make it up. You wouldn’t make it up.
So, it’s hardly surprising that many of us are feeling anxious. I for one feel totally conflicted.
Non-essential retail has started to open up in the UK this week, but coronavirus is still out there, infecting new people every day. The only shopping I’m doing is online, or for essential groceries. Claustrophobia and restlessness abound from so many weeks in lockdown, yet I have no desire to go anywhere. We had to cancel our holiday, but even if restrictions were lifted, I’m not sure I’d go.
I want the kids to return to school (one of them already has) but am concerned for their safety. There seems to be no plan for how secondary schools will reopen or how our children will catch up on all the missed learning.
The way through
What to do about all of this? The only way out is through. The virus will eventually stop reproducing. I hope we won’t return to the way we were and that kindness and equality will prevail.
In the meantime, here are a few commitments I make to myself and I hope they might help you too. I will:
- take one day at a time, and will remain at home if that’s where I feel safe.
- take care of myself, by exercising and not eating the kids’ leftovers.
- keep things in perspective and practice gratitude and daily journaling to order my thoughts.
- recognise the little wins (eg, only losing my shit once a day).
- have a couple of days of alcohol abstinence each week.
We all have good and bad days. How are you coping? I would really like to hear from you. You can leave me a message in the comments (or email me if you prefer – firstname.lastname@example.org).
Much love, Vx