5/18/2020
The new normal should be a two-way street

We kept ourselves mostly at home.

We let go, perhaps begrudgingly, of the things we love, the things that make us happy.

We, perhaps, even let go of our way of making a living, of our way of life.

We bit our tongues, told ourselves to stop protesting for the most part. We knew this was a potentially dangerous situation, and one where we all have to work together to overcome.

We may not have the most confidence in you, but in these cases, we prayed - we sure prayed - that you will help us find a way out of this somehow. We may have already missed a few steps and failed to see a few signs, but maybe, we thought, we could make up for lost time, make things better than they seemed to be. We may be apprehensive, but we thought we should allow you a bit more breathing room, to be able to respond to this, an unprecedented crisis with no end in sight.

We mourned those we lost. We hoped that their deaths would not be in vain.

We waited.

We still wait.

We still wait, as you drag your feet in telling us what you have done with the additional powers we granted you.

We still wait, as you pursue the silencing of perceived critics and the building of a system that would, perhaps, ensure that they are silenced for good, rather than establishing methods to reassure us about our health, to make us feel confident that what we are doing will not be in vain.

We still wait, as you revive dormant grudges, and start new ones, perhaps to distract us from what really is going on.

We still wait, as you provide increasingly confusing visions of where we are, and where we should be.

We still wait, as you focus on making sure we stay at home rather than working towards us being able to resume our lives.

We still wait, as you tell us that we should adapt to this, what you call the "new normal", as if we should let go, permanently, of the things we hold dear, of the things we need to survive, to be able to provide, to be able to contribute, to be happy.

We know things will not go back to the way they were. We know we will have to let go of meeting our friends, our loved ones, our colleagues, in a way that does not involve screens and unstable connections. We know that we will have to endure long queues and longer commutes just so we can be apart from each other. We know that we will have to present a slip of paper at checkpoints to prove that we can be outside of our homes. We know that we will have to live with the fear that, while we can get by today, we may not be able to get by tomorrow, next week, next month.

We also know that the new normal should be a two-way street.

You should not be passing all of the responsibility to us.

You should be working, perhaps working harder than all of us, to make sure that what we have been doing for the past ten weeks, that what we will be doing for the foreseeable future, will not be in vain.

You should make sure that those of us who have not been able to make a living these past couple of months would not just be able to live day by day, but also be able to bounce back to where they were before all this, and perhaps do better than that.

You should make sure that you are slowly reopening the economy not just to make the numbers look good, but to truly benefit those who rely on it to survive and to live.

You should not just reassure us that you are doing everything you can to flatten the curve, as they say, but rather, truly act to cover all the ground that needs to be covered, and not just the hottest of hot spots, and the politically convenient.

You should go the extra mile to make our frontliners feel that their efforts are important, that their sacrifices are not just appreciated but rewarded, to tell them that they are not just pawns in a chess game between a grandmaster and a novice player.

You should stop preying on our goodwill, on our fears and worries, to do the work you should have done a long time ago.

You must implement mass testing.

You must fix your reporting and provide us with a real picture of what's going on.

You must provide genuine safety nets not just for those who you can bend into voting your way in two years' time, but rather, for everyone, financially, socially, mentally, physically.

You must stop telling us to do more than that we can do.

You must stop telling us that you are doing enough. You are not doing enough. You have spent more time managing the message, blaming your enemies for getting in the way, blaming us for being stubborn. You have spent more time contorting the situation to fit your preferred narrative, that this world is filled with chaos and you are here to bring order, no matter what the cost.

You are not doing enough.

We believe we can do more. We blame other people for being so stubborn ourselves. We, however, feel that after ten weeks of whatever this is, and faced with many more months of whatever this will be, that we have done more than we can. You have to give us a bone. You have to do something. You have to do more than we are asking of you. The new normal should be a two-way street. Otherwise, you will be remembered not as the corrupt leaders you try not to be called, but as the selfish leaders you really are.

And your responses...

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