When I was out earlier today I spied a small sticker stuck on a sign post. In typed script it read:
“None of this is your fault.
You have a right to be angry.
It didn’t have to be this way. “
Hmm. I could start by saying you’re not supposed to stick things on sign posts, etcetera, in my community but people do. Usually though, it’s yard sale signs or business flyers. It’s unusual to see general text like this. The person who put it there must have been busy because I saw the same one later on a (light) post. Somebody clearly felt they needed to spread this message around. To me the intent is clearly about the pandemic and not about racial or other issues. The self-pitying tone makes me think that. I googled the first two lines to see if these words were turning up online but no, apparently this sentiment belongs to a local.
On whole, I’m not impressed or comforted. I’m on board with the first line; if any average citizen is blaming themselves for something related to the pandemic, of course it’s not their fault. The second line starts to bother me a hair. Angry? Yesssss, it’s okay to feel angry but that’s not enough said. It’s not okay to be angry about the pandemic and take it out on other people. It’s not a great idea to be angry and take it out on yourself either. (I’m reminded of a guy on a community Facebook page a few months ago asking where he could buy alcohol, because he wasn’t going to go through this sober. Not everybody is so blunt but a lot of people appear to have shared that attitude.) We’ve seen plenty of anger this year. It’s not an emotion I’d be advocating for right now, not unless it’s directed toward useful action.
The last line loses me entirely. It didn’t have to happen?? Who can really say that? Yes, I know criticism is aimed at how it’s been handled, but that’s a different matter. I’m so weary of people – American people certainly – carrying on as if nothing bad should ever happen and if it does, SOMEBODY is to blame. Somebody should PAY (often literally but not always). I don’t see how this is much different than ancient peoples railing at the gods for sending them plagues of locusts or bad harvests. Instead of the “gods” being responsible, now it’s governments, institutions, and so on. Sometimes that’s absolutely the case. Sometimes someone (or a government, institution, or business) should be held accountable after a bad event. This just is not one of them. Pandemics happen.