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It’s almost two years into this era of the novel coronavirus. While this is an ongoing health crisis this country and its leaders have managed to politicize it. This same country and its leaders have also failed to protect the most at-risk citizens from harm and have disadvantaged them in almost every way imaginable to uphold the status quo and keep those in positions of privilege comfortable.
Now, that’s a pretty harsh critique for something this writer has yet to be specific about, but a salient statement nonetheless. In my short life thus far as a young adult, I have witnessed the absolute chaos of 2020 and its ceaseless grip on the future of this country. Particularly, a tweet is what made me pause in the general detachment I had unknowingly fallen victim to over the course of the last two years' events.
Brian Merchant on Twitter: “Every so often you get numb to living in generally dystopian times, and then a new wave of the pandemic hits, a school shooter kills his classmates with a gun his dad bought on Black Friday, and a theocratic court moves to throw out reproductive rights all on the same day”
The detection of the Omicron variant to the U.S. this week, which health officials still do not know the gravity of, did not halt the regular problems of this country from unfolding to shed a light on just how far gone this country has gone in failing to protect all of its citizens. From the 15-year-old suspected school shooter in Michigan — who realistically shouldn’t even have had access to a gun if this country had adequate gun control protections enforced — that killed four and wounded seven others to the highest judicial authority of this country looking to overturn the single most important court decision that protects women’s rights, there is a case to be made that the children, women, immunocompromised and people of color in this country are being failed every day. And those are just some of the marginalized identities at risk — for this is also the deadliest year in history for transgender people. Never mind the never-ending calls for justice when it concerns the fight for Black lives and the continued slap on the wrist perpetrators get, as such was the case regarding Kyle Rittenhouse.
I, like so many others, am not safe to live my life the way I see fit for my general well-being.
It’s a bleak outlook, but as someone under several marginalized identities (an immunocompromised, queer woman of color), it’s the reality. I, like so many others, am not safe to live my life the way I see fit for my general well-being. The redistricting process, which Republicans are dominating, are exposing dire circumstances for communities of color and the potential for their voting rights to be further disenfranchised.
I am under constant threat — and I have the privilege of earning a fair wage in this country and being able to afford my bills without need for public assistance unlike so many of my fellow minorities who cannot escape the cycle of poverty. This is not to say that everyone isn’t having a hard time, because everyone is struggling, whether it be finding a new job to support one’s self and their family during this “Great Resignation” to the general discomfort and exhaustion that every person must endure until this pandemic is controlled. Struggle will always persist. However, the question is what are we going to do about it?
Politicizing every issue does nothing but cause division rather than unite people for the common goal of saving human lives and improving people’s general quality of life. All this is to say it’s time to demand accountability from the leaders we elect, from the local level to the federal one. Pay attention to where your money is going and be sure you’re spending it wisely where people are actually putting in work instead of raising the bar for elitism and further marginalizing those already at risk.
The desensitization we endure during these dystopian times is not sustainable — for it will be what destroys us all if no one acts.
Nichole Shaw is a Gazette editorial fellow. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org