Yesterday, we visited the Lee Statue which has, for the past three weeks, been the site of protest, and yes, graffiti.   It was quite moving. As I walked around it, with the memory of all the news reports over these last weeks and months and years, I realized that this was a symbol of grief unspoken (or at least, unheard) for too long.

The black community has tried to tell us there is something wrong with our world. Colin Kaepernick tried to do it quietly, respectfully. (I’m Catholic, you spend a good bit of time in church, on your knees. Kneeling is respectful. You kneel to propose, you kneel before a king or queen). But, we told him, NO! You can protest, but not THAT way, either.

So, spray paint it is. Loud, boisterous and sometimes vulgar. There was, first, the anger. Those first few days of protest got the raw emotions out around the country. What are the five stages of grief? It has morphed, now, here, into a place of memorial, and peace, fellowship — free water for anyone who needs it, under a tent, People to discuss issues with at hand, available informally like docents in museums– JUST START TALKING to someone you see, and you can’t help but learn something–and activism (Register to VOTE at one tent while you are here).

Surrounding the statue, every 10 feet or so encircling the base are laminated sheets of paper, with the stories of loss.  There are the names we all know– Trayvon, Amadalu, and so many other voices that were silenced.   We went on a Thursday afternoon. I was thrilled to see such a variety of ages and colors and physical wellness in those who were visiting. There were so many young people, using this as a backdrop for casual portraits, there was a young black man standing halfway up the pedestal, reading poetry he wrote while a friend recorded him.

It was supposed to feel so very sad; to be forced to see all the evidence of death, of police brutality. But it really felt so very positive to have the mom with her two little blond girls, going quietly from photo to photo, reading and learning — saying their names. We have a long way to go, but removing statues of people who fought against this country and lost would be a great first start. 

https://www.rteest42.com/StatebyStateTravelog/Virginia-is-for-Lovers/Lee-Statue-BLM-/ See my entire gallery.


OTHER than being forced by the big, bad government and the fines they impose for non-compliance, WHY do you-

Wear a seatbelt.

Stop at intersections, stop signs, etc.

Drive on the correct side of the road.

Wear a shirt into a supermarket.

Not reach into open cash registers and help yourself to money.

Stop at cash register to pay for things you want.

How inconvenient do you find these restrictions on your id? On your desire to HAVE that candy bar, even if you have no money?

The answers should go something like this:

(Remember, we took away any of the the “it’s the law” or “they made me do it” excuses)

1-Even though I AM A GREAT DRIVER, and have NEVER even been pulled over for a broken tail-light, I have no control over all the other people on the road. I can’t control road conditions or the fact someone else is driving impaired, or sudden brake failure. I wear a seatbelt because it is less inconvenient and costly than a week in the hospital, or someone having to go to my kid’s school and tell them I died in a wreck.

2. I am not the only car on the road. If I want to get to my destination safely, I need to rely on the kindness of strangers who are also looking to the left and the right before driving through where I want to put my vehicle– only one of us can safely occupy that space at a time.

3. What are the lines for anyway? Does it even make a difference, if I want to be closer to the other side of the road? I mean, it’s more comfortable to me, the way my brain works, to be on that side.

4. Who decided is not considered sanitary for the general public to be parading around with their unwashed, uncovered bodies in the produce aisle. Why would someone think it’s not socially acceptable to be letting us all have to bask in the glory of your beer belly, your six pack or your lack of lingerie. Come on, man, freedom!

5. The answer really is not—I don’t feel like working for money or I work harder than I should for less money than you anyway, so I am entitled to helping myself to what I need. I think money a false social construct. But, they say money makes the world go round, so I will just help myself to some of the money in that register while you aren’t looking.

6. I will pay for the candy bar with the money I took in 5, thanks so much, I wanted a SNICKERS a LOT. I get that SOMEONE ELSE will ultimately pay for that candy bar, but I was HANGRY and low on cash…

JUST WEAR A MASK. BE INCONVENIENCED. DO it for other people. Act kind of like you are a part of a society that is reliant on each other. LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF, (mark 12:31) even.

No one knows if you had COVID-19 that you can’t get it again, or that you are or aren’t contagious.

NO ONE. (your friend the pet groomer’s opinion is no substitute for the entirety of the CDC or WHO)

If you are walking around without a mask, no one is aware that YOU (think) you had it, and therefore YOU THINK you are invincible. They think you are an inconsiderate lout who doesn’t care about other people.

But– IF you are so bulletproof, hie thee to a hospital and volunteer to help COVID-19 patients in any way you can non-medically because they are overworked and stressed–without a mask, of course.

Shell Game

I really hadn’t planned on writing more than one post on COVID-19. I thought I got all my snarky venting out and was done. And yeah, this probably isn’t going to be a snarky post, but a more somber one. Almost 17,000 Americans are dead, so far. And the current badministration is fetching about, attempting to cast that as a WIN. Because it must be a win, right? We are NUMBER ONE again. (No, not quite; Italy still has a higher death count, but they’ve been at this a lot longer. Don’t worry, we WILL gain the top of the podium soon.)

So, yeah. THAT didn’t happen. So, Revisionist History 101, we change the story. We have 325 MILLION people, ok? What are you, crazy?? Never gonna happen. Who needs stinkin’ tests anyway?? ( the story as of 4/9/2020)

Just REMEMBER THIS little tidbit, will you? IF you are not TESTED for COVID-19, you don’t HAVE COVID-19. IF you don’t have COVID-19, you can’t DIE from COVID-19. Wraps it up in a pretty bow, doesn’t it?

There’s more than one way to keep the number of cases low, isn’t there? If you don’t want to really enforce social distancing or wearing masks because your tan may rub off, just stop TESTING. Presto, the COVID-19 positive numbers will stop rising. Maybe all those pneumonia deaths are simply coming from somewhere else…

Irrevocably damaged or destroyed–families, communities, companies. THAT is what we will find, on the other side. Because at some point, we WILL find the other side. Each city and town will get there in their own time. But no place will be truly unharmed. Some towns will just have scraped knees, some counties will have broken bones and some cities will sadly find they lost limbs. But, in the end, no one will be able to escape SIX DEGREES of separation.

I already, with this disease not getting anywhere near my personal, physical, geographic circle, exceed all my fingers to count the number of People I know who know People who lost People. And it’s early. And, it’s talked about in the most banal and impersonal terms. Because how else can one manage talking of the death, day after day, of so many?

It DOES feel like a slow-roll 9/11. I was in NYC and watched the towers fall, and for weeks; it was never “personal” unless the death was an immediate relative…. if you were asked, “were you ok”, it wasn’t the the time to say you lost a childhood friend or a cousin or an in-laws neighbor, because didn’t EVERYONE?? No, you lost someone if it was a spouse. A child. A parent. There was a surrealness to deaths that were once individual, with wakes, funerals, obituaries, gatherings of loved ones together, laughter at memories and tears at reality… suddenly becoming also-ran.

Now, with COVID those deaths are now reduced to they died, alone, of course, and three others in that household are sick and….multiplied by factors of scale that dwarf 9/11; geographic impact that isn’t just something that happened somewhere else….and something that just keeps going, rolling downhill, gathering speed.

And, all of us, deep down, have to admit, we have to know it didn’t NEED to be this way. We HAD warnings. And so, I felt compelled this morning to gather some screenshots, some tweets. For posterity, for clarity of the vision around me, in my mind. And you, dear reader, get to partake. To see in black and white the absolute trainwreck that got us to this moment. To see the revisionist statements. The I AM NOT AT FAULT-ness, the bareness of the way this government is trying to evade any blame.

Look at March 5th. ELEVEN dead. 36 days later, there are SEVENTEEN THOUSAND DEAD. And that number is nowhere near the end of this horror show.

STAY HOME. Hearing that as many people who were expected to die haven’t died DOES not mean this was all an overreaction.