Nazism Is Alive and Well in the United States

We’re about two election cycles away from death squads.

After some much research and digging for this post learning what I have shocked me and took me a back a little bit… But sadly with the state of our country’s affairs I am not really surprised, I am more angry, disappointed, and heartbroken that once beautiful nation who despite not being perfect I thought we were better than this. My grandfather and great uncle both served the United States in World War II and I thought we were above this, we defeated the Nazis before and we will do it again. I just wanted to include this quick little note before I began. – Irish Queen


When you tell Republicans that they have embraced racism, white supremacy, and Nazism, they don’t feel any shame. Instead, they violently deny the accusation and then insist they’re justified in turning the attack back on you. Sometimes they cross the line and engage in harmful physical assaults.

They’re loud. They’re violent. They’re unhinged. They’re self-righteous. They follow the exact Nazi playbook.

There’s never any responsibility. There’s never any recognition of the decent people that have been made to suffer by cruel, conservative beliefs. They run around calling everyone who opposes them weak or inferior or Satanic or lazy.

It’s been a year since Trump lost the election. If you walk through my neighborhood, you find houses decorated with billowing Trump campaign flags. It’s as if these people are perpetually trapped on November 2nd, 2020. I used to think that they’d get over and resume some semblance of a productive life.


I don’t think that any more.


People who continue to fly their “MAGA” flags a year after their movement failed are extremely dangerous. They also fly Confederate flags and Nazi flags and flags of other titanic historical abominations and failures. MAGA is a fascist movement. We might as well redesign the logo in the shape of a swastika.

If you printed that logo on a T-shirt and advertised it by saying “swastikas irritate liberals,” Trump supporters would buy them and wear them with pride. It’s time for the country to wake up and recognize the danger that we face. We’re looking at the end of freedom. The United States has never lived up to its promises, but the MAGA movement is a regression back to our darkest and most shameful past.

How did the US end up fighting the Nazis anyway?

Sometimes I wonder how it was that the United States ended up opposing Hitler instead of joining him. Keep in mind that the United States seemed pretty content to sit that war out. The war started in 1939. The US didn’t enter until 1941. If Japan hadn’t bombed Pearl Harbor, who knows what would have happened?


We know that our history books lie to us about slavery. A large percentage of our states refuse to teach critical race theory. Is it so hard to believe that we’re being lied to about World War II as well? School kids are taught to think of our nation’s involvement as one of our greatest triumphs. Perhaps the truth is that we went into it kicking and screaming, and a lot of Americans thought the Nazis had the right idea.

Considering how many Americans seem willing to embrace the “new” Nazism, is it really so hard to believe that there were many Americans who embraced Hitler back in the 30s and 40s? Hitler’s American Friends by Bradley W. Hart explores the topic of historical American support for Nazism.


Hart, who came to the topic via research on the eugenics movement and the history of Nazi sympathy in Britain, says he realized early on that there was a lot more to the American side of that story than most textbooks acknowledged. Some of the big names might get mentioned briefly — the radio priest Father Charles Coughlin, or the highly public German American Bund organization — but in general, he says, the American narrative of the years leading up to World War II has elided the role of those who supported the wrong side.

Lily Rothman

All it takes is a few billionaires to decide what wars the United States is going to fight and the rest of us just have to do what we’re told. Any thought that this country does anything because “it’s the right thing to do” is simply delusional.

White supremacists are the threat

People talk about international terrorism all the time. They talk about riots. But hardly anyone every mentions the clear and present danger of violent white supremacists.

Could it be that the Facebook algorithm cuts off any mention of these domestic radicals? Even if that were the case, what about the mainstream media? Why isn’t every news organization reporting about the fact that our own agencies have listed white supremacists as the single greatest danger facing our country?


U.S. spy agencies warned on Wednesday of an ongoing threat that racially motivated violent extremists, such as white supremacists, will carry out mass-casualty attacks on civilians while militia groups target police and government personnel and buildings.

Mark Hosenball

Why aren’t any politicians proposing to take radical actions to stop these groups? Why can’t we designate the Proud Boys and the KKK as terrorist organizations?

They lead armed marches and storm our Capitol and we just let them get away with it? Why aren’t there any consequences? Do white supremacist groups have massive political clout? Are our politicians protecting them for some reason?

Maybe the politicians are the white supremacists. Yeah, there’s some pretty clear evidence for that.

Capitol Insurrection

When it comes to prosecuting white supremacists, the US legal system puts on its blinders and repeatedly runs into a wall. Lately there have been startling allegations that members of Congress were involved in planning the January 6th insurrection.


As the House investigation into the Jan. 6 attack heats up, some of the planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C., have begun communicating with congressional investigators and sharing new information about what happened when the former president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Two of these people have spoken to Rolling Stone extensively in recent weeks and detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent.

Hunter Walker

Politicians involved in the attempt to overthrow the government shouldn’t be allowed to stay in office. We’ve got laws against things like that.

Other recent news stories discuss the misuse of the presidential pardon as an incentive for planning the insurrection.


GOP congressman Paul Gosar encouraged pro-Trump rally organizers to plan protests in Washington DC on January 6 by telling them they would get a “blanket pardon” for another, unrelated investigation, according to two of the protest’s planners

Matthew Loh

What could be more scandalous than this? Massive violent riots designed to overthrow democracies are what fascist regimes do. The January 6th insurrection appears to be Trump’s attempt at getting his own version Kristallnacht.


The Nazis came to call the event Kristallnacht (“Crystal Night,” or, “The Night of Broken Glass”), referring to the thousands of shattered windows that littered the streets afterwards, but the euphemism does not convey the full brutality of the event. Kristallnacht was a turning point in the history of the Third Reich, marking the shift from antisemitic rhetoric and legislation to the violent, aggressive anti-Jewish measures that would culminate with the Holocaust.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

That the January 6th insurrection attempt was as big a failure as everything else Trump has ever touched doesn’t mean we can forget about it. We can’t sweep it under the rug. Every single politician and private citizen involved must be held accountable.

We need a nation where people are embarrassed to hang their Trump/Pence hate banners like they’re filming a 2020 version of Triumph of the Will. They need to go back down into the holes where they came from and never be allowed to rise up again.

America is too powerful to tolerate this level of ignorance

Any deranged lunatic with two hundred bucks in his pocket can trot down to the local sporting goods store and by a military grade Armalite rifle. Our nation has to stop being willfully ignorant of the radicalization that’s going on right under our own noses.

Make no mistake, there are people in this country who look upon the “make America great again” logo twisted into a swastika and they long for the day they can display that imagery without encountering any resistance.

The Nazi party is alive and well and living in the United States. It is protected by the GOP, it is protected by the courts, it is protected by the media, and it’s protected by Trump and his MAGA supporters. They are among us. You can tell who they are because they are flying “Trump 2020” and “Trump 2024” banners in their yards and pickup trucks.

This is the reality of our country. Radicalized terrorists are sitting around all day preparing for a war. They already tried to overthrow our government. These people don’t learn their lesson. They’ve never been held accountable. Think about this the next time you see any MAGA merchandise. There’s a terrifying chance that we’re only a few election cycles away from seeing our country supplant Nazi Germany as the nation guilty of committing the greatest atrocities in human history.

Remember, Nazi Germany didn’t have nuclear weapons. America does. Do you want to go down in history as a passive citizen who stood by and did nothing as evil was allowed to run roughshod over the whole world?

Resist.

I’m Burned Out on Collapse — And I Bet You Are Too

It was around the beginning of the summer that I noticed that all I wanted to do was sleep. And it wasn’t (just) the heat. My mind felt bruised to a livid purple welt. Just thinking felt — disturbingly — painful. My bones felt as weary as dust. And that fine dust seemed to cover everything, leaving my world cloudy, hazy, foggy, slow-motion, indistinct. The dust sang sweet lullabies of slumber.

Just sleep, it would murmur, please, let yourself rest, doesn’t it feel sweet. So one part of me would plead with another for sleep, for rest, over and over again. The other part, annoyed and alarmed in equal measure by such self-indulgence, such laziness, replied sternly: you’ve slept plenty long enough today! And commanded me to sternly to leap up, write, work, meet, discuss, talk, go, do — like everything was fine, normal, pretty good.

You listen to your internal signs and signals, the movements and pulses of the strange and unknowable thing called a body, its rivers and oceans, its beats and murmurs. And yet I couldn’t pin down just why I felt so tired. So sleepy. So utterly exhausted. Lethargic, drained, done, like all those rivers and oceans had turned to deserts and parched earth.

By about a week later, I was a walking zombie. I’d toss and turn at night, then leap out of bed, groaning with frustration, and pace from the living room to the bedroom to the bathroom and back again. Wait — wasn’t I worn out? So why was sleep eluding me? Then I’d sleepwalk through the day. I’d wake up, and — snap! — my mind would go numb. It would simply shut itself down. Every cell, feeling, sensation in my body seemed to want was to hibernate blackly as if through the darkness of a white winter.

It took me a week or so to put my finger on it. I don’t have a particularly stressful life. Or do I?

I rouse myself, go have tea, write. It’s pretty low-key. I can’t manage much more, to tell you the truth. There’s a reason none of the storybook vampires ever have nine to five jobs. And yet nobody who can’t sleep, can’t think, feels so inexplicably tired all the time can tell you they’re not feeling some kind of acute, systemic stress. So what the blazes was it that was stressing me out?

So I confessed to my friends. Weirdly, they were all feeling more or less the same way, they admitted reluctantly, when I pressed them a little. Sleepless — but restless. Exhausted — but wide awake. Sleepwalking through the day. Worn out, drained, wrecked. Minds numb. Fatigued and stunned — all at the same time. What the hell was wrong with all of us? Was there something in the drinking water? And then it hit me.

I was burned out on collapse.

Our lives might not be particularly stressful in some kind of narrow personal sense — but they’d become profoundly, severely distressed in what you might call a psychosocial one.

Living through an age of fracture and decline, of pandemic and planetary collapse, of indifference and helplessness: it’s an exhausting, soul-crushing thing.

I’m burned out on collapse —. and I’d bet you are too.

It’s not easy living in a time like this. It sucks the life out of you, drains you, changes you. Just being there. Just watching it all go down. Just going on to fight through another day. That’s the truth. Give yourself a round of applause. You deserve it. Cry a little tear for yourself. I mean it. You deserve that, too. You’ve been tested — in a difficult, deep, and painful way. Not just from a pandemic that shows no signs of ending — a pandemic that capital doesn’t want to end, because they’re making the greatest profit in human history. Not just from the rising totalitarianism around the globe. Not just from the climate grief — of knowing that we’re destroying the planet and watching the devastation unfold in real time. But also from the sheer indifference to it all that elites seem to have. Their inaction, their indifference? It leads to our helplessness. And that is a soul-crushing feeling, my friend.

But let’s think about what all those emotions really mean.

Now, I won’t give you the usual rigmarole.

You know: get-off-the-internet-and-practice-self-care. I think all this cuts a little deeper than that. I’ll simply talk you through what I noticed in myself, and you can judge for yourself if it applies to you, too. You can be honest — nobody’s listening but you. (And let me say emphatically that isn’t a plea for pity, though it’s always nice to know that you care about me. It’s just a little reflection, that I thought I’d share with you, about the psychological price of living in an age of collapse.)

The first thing that I noticed, if I looked at myself, was that almost the instant I woke up, my mind was shutting itself down. Snap! It was like it decided, all by itself, to operate at a quarter speed. I’d struggle for words, to make decisions, and so forth. Any good psychologist would probably have noted that this was a kind of protective measure — a defense mechanism, kicking into high gear. Technically, several at once: denial, compartmentalization, possibly regression, maybe even a little bit of dissocation. But from what? Such a sudden, intense defensive posture tells us that a mind is under acute pressure, tension, conflict. It prefers the bliss of ignorance to the anxieties of a dreaded reality. Snap! Shutdown.

In the case of you and I, I think the cause of that tension, that pressure, that conflict, is pretty easy to understand. Who wants to wake up and read the news?

Who wants to pore over the grim headlines anymore? We say casually that they’re full of bad news. But the truth is a little tougher to bear. To constantly read a litany of things like your society’s broken, the pandemic’s not ending, the planet’s melting down, elites have left you broke, and the fascists are rising — it’s psychologically ruinous.

Human beings don’t need to awash in a warm bath of good news — that’s destructive, too. But when reality itself has turned into something like a grotesque, bizarre dystopia — then just making contact with it is deeply psychologically stressful.

How stressful? Like me, during the course of 2021, many of my friends began to develop trouble sleeping. Not just minor-league trouble — but staying up many nights a week levels of trouble. Now, all this is doubly ironic for me, because I stay up all night anyways, because the sun can melt my blood. So there I was, staying up all day…staying up all night. No sleep till the apocalypse. It should have occurred to all of us sooner, I guess. If we’d talked about it, noticed, we would have soon uncovered the next thing a good psychologist would: we were going into hyper vigilance and hyperarousal. Another sign of severe psychological distress — this time, bordering on trauma.

Now, another irony was I’d written many times, over the last couple of years, that I thought this era was leaving many people with low-level PTSD

How absurd and funny then that I didn’t see it my friends and myself, when it was right in front of me. Really, you might wonder, PTSD? Come on! But that’s exactly what I think a good psychologist would and should say about many of us today — maybe not that we “have PTSD,” but certainly that we have been traumatized. To be traumatized is to be exposed to death, of violence, to feel threatened with one’s own nonexistence, or that of a loved one. And a good psychologist would know that none of that has to be “direct.” You don’t have to be the one who is hit by an abuser to be traumatized by abuse. You merely have to be in proximity to such a thing, for the experience to ripple out and strike you, too.

But isn’t that precisely what this age feels like? Proximity to, if not direct experience of, relentless, gruesome, needless abuse after abuse? Abuse of power. Abuse of societies. Abuse of democracy. Abuse of technology. Abuse of the planet. Abuse of women. Abuse of our health, for profit. Violence against the vulnerable. An indifference to life and truth and decency. Predatory profiteering, greed, devastation. Fire, famine, flood. Skyrocketing poverty amongst soaring riches.

Wouldn’t watching all of that make sane person burn with rage, pound with anxiety, shudder with dread, go cold with panic?

It does me, and I think that you the only person you’re kidding is yourself if you pretend it doesn’t do just that to you, on some level, too. This, my friends, is a traumatized time, generation, milieu, society, world.

Imagine watching your house burn down. Imagine being in a car crash. Imagine watching a highway pileup happen in front of you. Every day. Over and over again. We might not be there physically — but that is precisely where we are psychologically. We are forced to watch our house burn down, — or be burned down — every day. The house of democracy, the planet, the future, society, prosperity. Forced to watch our neighbor suffer while we look on, helpless.

What’s worse, it’s addictive — and it’s always on, like a weird, gruesome spectacular machine of destruction. It’s a click away.

Just tap Twitter, Facebook, whatever, and wham!! There’s this age’s choice of catastrophes, on auto-repeat, every instant of the day or night. You can’t really escape it — unless you decide to forsake the modern world and become a hermit. And it’s not just always going, this machine. Sometimes, it feels better to watch it than not to watch it — because at least bearing witness is the responsible, mature thing to do. And so we watch our house being burned down by this giant machine of ruin, obsessively-compulsively — never quite fully knowing that the price is anxiety, dread, panic, powerlessness, hopelessness. In short, trauma.

That’s probably why we’re having less sex, why we’re so depressed, why we’re so unhappy, why we’re committing suicide more and more. We’ve been traumatized — “burned out on collapse” — and we don’t quite know it. But only a traumatized world, society, time, generation, place, ends up like that. Feels so powerless, hopeless, desperate, guilty, ashamed, bad. You can tell me you don’t feel those things, and maybe you yourself don’t. But what else does it say when the pulse of society is taken today — and what it beats with is despair, fury, and sorrow?

It’s obvious to say that people worry these days — what happens if I get cancer? Will I have to off myself so the kids don’t have to pay medical bills? But that is being traumatized. It is not a thing that anyone should have to worry about in a remotely normal, or decent, time, society, or place. And yet that’s just the beginning.

I’ve come to think that we live in something like an age of trauma. Many of us are instantly traumatized from the moment that we wake up.

Today, this school was shot up. See that poor guy? He had to crowdfund insulin. Those little children got Covid because their parents refuse to give them masks. The planet’s melting down. The rich are profiting off a pandemic. Your income hasn’t gone up in decades. How are you going to survive? These are just everyday thoughts that might be provoked by simply glancing at the news, Twitter, Facebook, and so on. But they are also the stuff of panic attacks, of palpitations, of profound distress that must be buried deep where it isn’t seen or felt. They are the stuff of trauma. They are the living essence of a constant exposure to death, to nonexistence, to violence.

I’m burned out on collapse, and I’d bet you are too.

We need to take better care of all of us. We need to take better care of the wounded parts of us — individually, as societies, as a world.

And to do that, the reverse, strangely, maybe beautifully, is also true. We need all of us to take better care of each other, too.

So hang in there. Stay loving, stay gentle, stay kind. Sleep, rest, breathe, eat well. Taking care begins with the basics. Above all, stay true. It’s OK to admit it. This has been a terrible, unforgiving, horrific couple of years. It’s been a psychological catastrophe for all of us. You don’t need to keep it inside. It’s the greatest gift that you can give, to share your burdens, sometimes. That way, we grow.

America’s Dangerous Forty Percent

Throughout history democracies have been a fragile form of government. This is because Democracies depended on reasonable cooperation, a strong regard for the rule of law over personality and at least some semblance of truth telling among competing political parties. There is, unfortunately, among even the most sophisticated societies roughly forty percent of a citizenry oblivious to the big picture when it comes to national and international political issues.

In America, it’s forty percent — In the main — is composed of really good folks who are among the best acting humans when among family, friends and coworkers. However, being almost exclusively focused upon local and practical matters; and with little interest in serious biography, history or politics, and possessing a kneejerk reaction for brushing off all politicians as useless clowns, these folks tend to be devoid of a reasonable basis for divining broad but subtle issues pertaining to the protection of America’s highly venerable institutions of democracy. In fact they take American democracy for granted, assu ming that things will always somehow work out for the best without their ever having to directly participate in its protection.

Additionally, such folks tend to function on pure emotion and nature’s hardwired tribal impulses that often foster covert or overt bigotry against the “other.” Throw in feelings of being personally aggrieved over factors they see as being beyond their personal control, they can become made particularly ripe for exploitation by political charlatans, which in this country also means being helped along to this end by those parts of our social media that profit from spreading hate, lies and crazy conspiracy theories. Yes, dear friends, beating the drums for such poisonous nonsense is worth big bucks for Fox News and its right wing media allies, including that rat’s nest of disinformation, Facebook — sadly hate sells bigly.

Also among this dangerous forty percent are society’s most violent elements. In America it’s the White supremacist — mainly the Klan and patriot groups spoiling for a fight with anyone, but especially establishment components of our democracy. These are the same order of persons that in the last century comprised Hitler’s Brown Shirt ruffians that rapidly morphed into the ranks of Hitler’s SS guard units. Would-be dictators are always careful to pander to society’s ruffians as they represent potential enforcers and intimidators against those who would appose them.

And this brings us to the amazing Donald John Trump, a man long regarded by the New York business community as a gadfly buffoon, a man who squandered a 400 million dollar inheritance from his father upon poorly run business ventures — Trump water, Trump ties, Trump stakes, Trump airlines, Trump University (for which he was compelled to pay the defrauded folks 25 million dollars in penalties) and of course his Trump casinos fiascos. Indeed, in the 90s Trump teetered on the edge of bankruptcy at a time when American banks would not touch him with ye old ten-foot pole.

But if the Donald was a wretched businessman, when it came to self-promotion in the eyes of the common man, the pathological lying, con man salesmen was something of a genius. He had a ghostwriter put together a fluff piece he called the art of the deal, a joke of a book if ever there was one — this according to the ghostwriter himself. But then things took a drastic turn for the better for Mr. Trump when a reality TV show, the Apprentice, came his way.

In this highly staged entertainment production, Trump convincing portrayed himself to the nation’s regular Joes and Jills as a tough, no nonsense businessman. This gave him super name recognition and tremendous celebrity status among the masses that he would later use to gain political leverage for an easy high jacking of the Republican Party.

Trump’s prime political target was, to be sure, what would later be seen as the dangerous 40%, mostly lower middleclass White folks that were terrified of a rising multicultural American democracy. Two terms of a Back Democratic president had generated a white-hot backlash among said ilk that Trump saw as his political opening.

After months of greasing the skids for his political undertaking by relentlessly questioning President Obama’s American citizenship, Trump made his famous ride down the golden, Trump Tower escalator, making it abundantly clear to his target audience whom he was against — foreigners and minorities, especially those “rapists and murderers” coming over the southern boarder. It all came straight out of the authoritarian’s handbook for taking over and killing off a democracy, which includes undermining democratic institutions and the people’s confidence in their government, attacking the nation’s free press (calling it “the enemy of the people”). cozying up to dictators around the world and making nasty with America’s key allies.

One by one, as he eventually became president, Trump worked to politicize America’s protectors of democracy — the Justice Department, FBI, State Department, calling all who apposed his attempted run at a dictatorship the “Deep State.”

The Republican Party for the most part was helpless to put the breaks on the Donald.. Starting with the Regan administration the GOP had been moving ever move toward recruiting what would become the dangerous forty percent in tandem with its right wing media propaganda organs.

For sure, Republican political powers of the land were not happy to see Trump among their ranks, but they soon realized that what they thought to be their political base had quickly morphed into Trump’s cult like supporters. They were stuck with a dangerous personality holding the most formidable leadership post in the world. Not only could Trump ruin them politically, but with a wink toward his most violent followers he could threaten their very lives and those of their families

And so now the GOP feels compel to rig the American electoral system with undemocratic rules and laws for a Trump victory in the 2022 and 2024 races. If that happens there will be no guardrails left this time to check a President Trump’s out of control ego. Our democracy will be finished off before the nation knows what hit it.

Of course Trumpist have a need to believe otherwise about their hero who says he loves them. For they are a true believer lot that were all the angels in heaven to descend to earth and tell them that they were wrong about the Dear Donald, they would close their eyes and plug their ears, for such “heavenly hosts would not deserve to be either seen or heard.”

These are the same sorts of folks that it has been said pray not so much for their daily bread as the do their daily delusion. To that end Donald John Trump is an answer to their prayers.

We came close to seeing democracy overturned on 1/6. We likely won’t survive a second Trump inspired insurrection. Hitler was jailed for inciting insurrection in the 1920s, but returned to take total power in 1933. He also had his dangerous 40% to rely upon; with disastrous consequences for Germany and all the world it must be said.

Race & Racism for Dummies

For those who are confused (and there always will be those who don’t get it… or won’t), I’d like to offer five points that, hopefully, are easily digestible.

1. White privilege is not about individuals and whether they have or have not.

It’s about a system that was designed to favor one race over all others and still does.

2. Every White person in the US benefits from White privilege.

It doesn’t necessarily make them rich. It doesn’t necessarily make them evil. It doesn’t necessarily make them racist. If you’re White, having White privilege is not your fault. But if you wield it — or refuse to acknowledge it — that’s on you.

3. Racism is not just a Southern phenomenon — or a historical one.

The end of slavery was not the end of racism or discrimination. I do not have to be a slave to be affected by the legacy of slavery, and if you are White in America in 2021, you don’t have to own slaves or even be descended from slaveowners to benefit from their legacy.

And although Southerners have historically been cast as the primary villains of racism, they weren’t the only ones and still aren’t. George Floyd was murdered in Minnesota, one of the northernmost states in the US.

4. I enjoy a degree of economic privilege (yep, I can admit it), but that doesn’t preclude White people who make considerably less money than me from benefitting from White privilege.

Our legal system tends to favor White people on both sides of crime, and that is one of the most glaring examples of White privilege. It’s why when young White men drive down dark roads late at night, their mothers have one less thing — trigger-happy cops — to worry about.

5. We won’t achieve truly meaningful change until we all face America’s collective failings and stop looking for loopholes to escape incrimination: being poor, being colorblind, etc.

The collective failings will continue to mean collective failure as long as some insist on burying their heads in the sand and denying the harsh reality that most of us in racial minorities are unable to simply disregard, as we are stuck on the short end of it. You can tune us out — a privilege we are unable to exercise in return — but you won’t shut us up.

COVID Has Become A Permanent Fixture

If you haven’t heard by now, after the government has issued this advice: COVID vaccine booster shots are now going to be in your near future. Let me translate that for you: COVID is now officially become permanent. Now I am not one to be the bearer of bad news but…

This is NOT good news. It’s actually very BAD news.

Whenever I am out in public — where everybody’s still masked up, and social distancing’s in place. How long are these types of protections going to last? The answer that is emerging is this: for the foreseeable future. Life is NOT going to go back to “normal” anytime soon, or gulp maybe ever.

What does this perma-COVID look like? Well, part of the answer’s above. We are going to need to accept certain fairly drastic changes in our lifestyle as we know it. A more sophisticated, better answer goes like this: perma-COVID goes on wreaking social, cultural, and economic havoc.

Many people like myself are happily wearing masks. Maybe you seen how school board meetings are irrupt Ing into violence, because, well, the Trumpists think that their kids wearing masks is like the gas chambers at your terminal Auschwitz. I’ll know that this doesn’t make sense, but what does when it comes to the American Idiot?

COVID going permanent is going to continue accelerating and exacerbating social tensions. Ultra conservatives don’t “believe in” masks and vaccines. I put it in quotes because facts exist whether or not you believe in them. And yes one thing the Americas Red States and the Taliban have in common is that they don’t want people to get vaccines or to wear masks, unless you mean burgers. That’s how regrets of the American conservative mind is: on the issue of COVID, it’s neatly aligned with… The Taliban.

And it’s willing to, thanks to Trump, use violence to make itself felt. Hence school board meetings and town halls and so forth — the small, everyday expressions and institutions which a functioning, modern civil society is made of — are not working. What are you supposed to at a school board meeting when Trumpists mob you and, screaming at the top of their lungs, threaten your life?

Again: shades of the Taliban, for whom, too, local governance is an exercise in brutality and stupidity and violence.

COVID exacerbates the fractures in our societies is not a joke or some kind of minor league issue. Conservatives have seized on the issue of COVID in many, many ways. In Britain, COVID’s been politicised to the point that government data is questionable at best — the Tories are deliberately using it as a bludgeon with which to break the NHS, so that they can then privatize it. But what happens when the Brits get American style “healthcare,” which mostly means bills nobody much can pay? They grow impoverished, that’s what.

So the cultural tensions COVID’s revealing and accelerating — a match dropped on an oil slick — have very real consequences. Do you want your kid to go to a school where masks aren’t required? How about college? Do you want to live in a state where the governor bans masks and mask mandates, like Texas?

This is where cultural tensions become political and social boiling points. Places like Texas and Florida have long been heading toward becoming failed states — and darn proud of it too. COVID has actually made them failed states. Florida was the world’s hottest COVID zone — it’s most virulent incubator — until a few days ago. Texas is a place where the rule of law has broken down completely, school boards and principals defying the governor’s edict against masks.

Those are huge, huge breakdowns. What does it say about a state, county, or city where people are openly defying the governor’s edicts? It says that the rule of law doesn’t work. That matters can’t be settled with formal institutions, because they don’t work anymore. People have taken matters into their own hands. Let me make clear that in this case, that is a good thing. Nobody should obey something as incredibly, painfully foolish as a ban on wearing masks.

But that America’s now the kind of place where civil disobedience is required to fight a deadly pandemic — well, that points to what a failing state it is. And who wants to live in places that are failed states? Florida has sunshine and Texas has… well… I truly don’t know what Texas has. Still, having to put up with such levels of dysfunction is a VERY real price that people must pay. When you have to engage in literal civil disobedience just to keep your kids healthy, to protect them from harm, malice, ignorance, and stupidity means that something is very, very wrong with society.

In that sense, COVID is pouring fuel on America’s burning state of collapse. Yesterday, your average sane Texan or Floridian didn’t have to engage in civil disobedience just to protect their kids from harm. Today, they do. But where does that cycle end? The Trumpists aren’t going to wake up anytime soon. COVID’s gone permanent — and unfortunately, their stupidity is forever, too. Only now it’s lethal.

The Trumpists provide an economic rationale for their willful stupidity. It hurts the economy, they say, to go on taking the basic precautions against COVID. Of course, that’s not true. It doesn’t hurt the economy to wear a mask, or even to social distance, except maybe on a Friday night in a downtown bar.

Yet, perma-COVID is going to harm the economy in a much deeper way. Do you understand how, let’s first into the idea of public health. What is it, really? It’s what economists call a public good. That means we all share it. That’s why you should have your vaccines — you getting vaccinated benefits me, and vice versa. COVID make a mockery of individual list of countries like America, and their approach is to health, reviewing them as shallow and naïve. Private health is no match for public health.

Yet, COVID is a grave and serious threat to public health — the most severe in a half a century or more. It’s probably the first new deadly virus humanity has experienced in the global still in the modern age, period.

Public health requires an investment. Again, think of America — Americans live the shortest, cities lives in the entire rich world, precisely because there is very little investment in public health. There are starting high bills for private healthcare, sure — which is the opposite of public health.

Now put those two concepts together. You have a new pandemic shopping away at public health — one that’s going endemic. That means higher levels of investments are going to be required to sustain the same levels of public health as before, if those can ever really be hit.

What does this mean in the real world? It means more nurses, more ICUs, more ventilators, more oxygen.

It means more trips to the hospital for more people, corridors overflowing with Covid patients, who require intense treatment and care, hundreds or thousands of them a day, and that’s just in one region, state, city. My wife, the doctor, went to her own doctor yesterday — and there, she saw a woman desperately struggling for breath being wheeled out on a stretcher. Multiply that by a thousand, every day, and you begin to have some idea of the stress COVID places on healthcare systems.

But every dollar we need to invest as societies to take care of Covid patients is one that we’re not investing in any of the following: climate change, global warming, ecological collapse, reversing the mass extinction of wildlife, cleaning up the oceans, reforesting the globe, clean energy, green raw materials like steel and concrete.

You begin to see the magnitude of the problem. At a macroeconomic level, the simplest and best way to visualise Covid is as what economists call a “deadweight loss.” That’s a terrible way to put it, and yet it’s all too accurate. Now we have to invest colossal sums at a social level, across the globe, caring for the ill — sums we desperately need to fight the existential threats already beginning to wreck our civilization. You didn’t have to look too hard this summer — California and Canada on fire, Asia and Europe flooded — to see the globe warming with shocking, brutal speed.

It’s not just treating COVID that diverts investment. It’s also developing new vaccines. When I say something that makes me angry — The Pharma industry‘s been betting on COVID going permanent — Americans give me their empty, dumb, blank stare.

It shouldn’t have been this way. The Pharma industry has just won one of history‘s largest jackpots. It wants to charge every one of us — you and I — A few hundred dollars a shot. Let’s call it $250. Now multiply that by 8 billion people. Now multiply that by every year. From an economic perspective, this is what’s called a perpetuity — A dividend without end. Do you know what it adds up to? About $2 trillion a year.

That $2 trillion has to come from somewhere. It’s going to come from our pockets, you and I. Added up, what it amounts to is $2 trillion not being invested in climate change, clean energy, green systems, saving the world’s ecologies, reversing mass extinction. It’s just money that goes straight into the pockets of the Pharma industry. From there, it goes to CEOs and hedge funds.

Do you see the problem here?

Let me make it even clearer. It never should have been this way. We should never have relied on capitalism to solve a problem like COVID, because it was never going to. What would anyone with a basic knowledge of real economics — that’s not you, most Americans, because you’ve been brainwashed by propaganda, ads, infomercials masquerading as news and culture — have predicted capitalism would do if and when it met a pandemic?

Exploit it, mercilessly. If you’re a good capitalist, good at your job, what do you do with a pandemic? You don’t let it stop, you don’t let it end. You make sure it a) goes on forever so b) you can sell your treatment forever at c) increasing prices under conditions of d) artificial scarcity. Marx would have guessed it, Baudrillard would have left and predicted it, Braudel would have called it obvious.

They were right.

Capitalism met its first real global pandemic, the first new virus humanity’s encountered for a millennia at a global scale. And instead of solving the problem, eradicating the virus, exploited it for maximum profit.

Hence, the world has a massive vaccine shortage. Why? Because figures like Bill Gates lobbied for vaccines to be privatized — and bang, they were. But all COVID vaccines were developed with public funds, at public institutions.

Therefore, everyone on earth has a right to a Covid vaccine. Remember, when it comes to public good, I benefit when you have access to them as well. The economics of COVID vaccines — the real ones — Say that we should distribute them as far and wide as possible, because they were made publicly, created with public funds, and public institutions, just sure up a public good, healthcare.

Yet, because COVID vaccines were privatized, they can’t be produced on the scale nearly enough to match or meet the globe’s needs. Instead, Canada and Europe have — shamefully, disgracefully, deceitfully — When did vaccines at the WTO, as if the fact that these vaccines were never made to be exclusively used for profit never existed or happened at all.

So here we are. COVID’s going permanent. Going endemic. It didn’t have to be this. It shouldn’t have been this way.

The head of the WHO recently pointed out: global vaccination is now losing the race against new cases. That is, less people are vaccinated per day the new cases emerge, globally. Obviously you can’t stop a pandemic that way. What happens that way is newer, deadlier variance, like clockwork — seasonally. Right now, it’s Delta. By winter, it’ll be Lambda. And on and on and on into oblivion. That is because capitalism is undersupplying the one thing the world needs most — vaccines. It is deliberately creating conditions of artificial scarcity to jack up profits — calls upon source Covid vaccines have come from around the world, but falling on deaf ears because America, Canada, and Europe want Pharma profits to soar more than they want a Covid free world.

That’s the grim, sinister, ugly truth.

And what that really means is something even darker. Our elites don’t care if we die. In fact, they’re quite happy to kill us off. They seem to revel in misery and suffering they cause. Why? It makes no sense — at least from history‘s eyes.

Elites do this — they kill off their underclasses. It leaves them worse off in the long run, because then there are fewer people to do their dirty work. Hence the great peasant liberation I have always followed die-offs, like the Black Death. But in the short run, killing off underclasses is great for elites. They get to jack up profit by exploiting people to death. They enjoy the sport of pitting person against person, too, emperors watching gladiators fight to the death.

And they seem, as ever, to genuinely delight in the suffering of others, like sociopaths. Causing death and misery on an eminent still seems to produce in elites the feeling of strength, the meaning that’s missing from their lives, the sense of entitled superiority they’ve always had, but fallen short of proving to themselves.

In that regard, our era is no different from other dark ages. But that much should be recognized. Die-offs are a feature of dark ages — die-offs aided and abetted by elites, who exploit them and their desperation, scarcity, and misery for profit. We’re in a dawning dark age, and our elites total indifference to COVID going endemic — when just a few decades, as the world, we conquered smallpox and polio — is visual proof of how rapidly we are going backwards

That leaves me with one last point. It’s no ordinary dark age we are entering. It’s going to be an especially grim and obscene one. Why?

It’s one thing for elites to do what they do — profit from suffering and exploit desperation. It’s another one too, when the future of the planet and life on it literally hangs in the balance, keep on doing it anyway. How bad — malicious, greedy, selfish, stupid, obscene and ugly — are our elites, really? The world is burning. And there they are, so wealthy and powerful they have more money than they to spend in 10 lifetimes, yet they’re exploding a deadly pandemic making it go endemic, to get even richer, even if they don’t have a planet left to live on.

That, my friends, makes a mockery of the word sociopath.

It didn’t have to be this way, and it shouldn’t have been this way. COVID shouldn’t have gone permanent.

What Happens When Americans Can Finally Exhale

About this time a year ago, the United States Seemed stuck on a COVID-19 plateau. Although 1,300 Americans were dying from the disease every single day, the states began to reopen in a patchwork fashion, and an anxious nation was looking ahead to an uncertain summer. Twelve months later, the situation is very different. Cases are falling quickly. About half as many people are dying every day. Several vaccines were developed faster than experts had dared to predict, and proved to be more effective than they are dared to hope. Despite a shaky start, the vaccination campaign has been successful, and almost half of the country has received at least one shot, including 85% of people older than 65. As the pandemic rages on elsewhere in the world, the US Is eyeing a summer of reconnection and rejuvenation.

But there is another crucial difference between May 2020 and May 2021: people have now lived through 14 months of pandemic life. Millions have endured a year of grief, anxiety, isolation, and rolling trauma. Some will recover uneventfully, but for others the quiet moments after adrenaline fades and normalcy returns may be unexpectedly punishing. When they finally get a chance to exhale, the breath may emerge as sighs. “People put their heads down and do what they have to do, but suddenly, when there’s an opening, all these feelings come up,” says Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, the founder and director of the Trauma Stewardship Institute. Lipsky has spent decades helping people navigate the consequences of natural disasters, mass shootings, and other crises. “As hard as the initial trauma is,” she said, “it’s the aftermath that destroys people.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a singular disaster — Every turn series of traumatic events that have eroded the very social trust and connections that allow communication to recover from catastrophes. Even now, with COVID-19 cases in the US falling and vaccinations rising, many people whom Lipsky works with are struggling. Things are getting better, so why don’t they feel better? “A lot of them are really confused by it, because they feel like they made it through and 10 see a light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

If you’ve been swimming furiously for a year, you don’t expect to finally reach dry land and feel like you’re drowning.

A brief note on the word trauma: psychologists and psychiatrists still debate its definition. Some feel the word is used to loosely. Others argue that the official definition — Which requires actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence — Inappropriately it excludes serious life events such as divorce, unemployment, or some chronic illnesses. Some argue that you cannot be traumatized by watching news coverage of disasters, and others say you can. Jessi Gold, a psychiatrist at the Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis, thinks in terms of “big-7 trauma” (the officially defined term) and “little -t trauma” (its colloquial cousin). Both meaningfully affect one’s mental health. “We can be too nitpicky about where something ends and something else begins,” she said. “If someone feels bad and it affects their day-to-day life, it’s a mental health problem, and I don’t really care what you call it.”

Even in the more restrictive big-T sense, The pandemic has produced trauma at an enormous scale. Millions of COVID-19 long haulers spent months with debilitating symptoms, and many are still sick. And one study, 30% of people with lab confirmed COVID-19, most of whom have not been hospitalized, We’re still experiencing symptoms after an average of six months. Many are struggling with the boys in town world of disability benefits and long-term diagnoses such as myalgic encephalomyelitis. Many Americans who were hospitalized with COVID-19 will still be affected too. At the height of the winter surge, 132,000 people filled US emergency rooms. Based on evidence from Italy and from the past coronavirus epidemic’s about a third of those people — And the hundreds of thousands more who are hospitalized before and after that moment — will develop PTSD.

At least 580,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and this official tally probably omits hundreds of thousands of Unaccounted deaths. Because each the leaves in average of nine close relatives bereaved, roughly 5,000,000 Americans have been grieving parents, children, siblings, spouses, or grandparents at a time when funerals, bedside goodbyes, and other rituals of mourning and loss have been disrupted. Some may feel guilty about surviving, as the New Yorkers who narrowly missed the 9/11 attacks, Or gay men who were “spared at random” by HIV during the 1980s. Some grievers may not heal for a long time. In normal circumstances about 10% of bereaved people develop prolonged grief, but coming in capacitated by interns all consuming grief that persists for more than a year and flattens their life. About half 1 million Americans will likely feel this way — Which is roughly the population of Atlanta. Grief will germinate across the Sims for sale cracks that the pandemic exploded and widened: indigenous, pacific islanders, Latino and black Americans were men were more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white Americans, And are therefore more likely to have lost loved ones to the disease.

Medical traumas were compounded by social stressors including unemployment, isolation, the rigors of full-time parenting Without childcare, and a year of lost opportunities. Against the trauma backdrop, other tragedies unfolded: the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many other Black people by police officers; a record wildfire season; the insurrection at the US Capitol; The Texas power of crisis; and machines in Atlanta and elsewhere. “There’s has been in the ongoing set of test stating collective traumas that Have really not abated,” says UC Irvine’s Roxane Cohen Silver, A psychologist who has studied trauma for decades.

The pandemic itself has not fully abated, either. Even as Americans ponder “post pandemic” life, 600 people are still dying from COVID-19 every day. Do you spite the historic success of the vaccination campaign, the rate of vaccinations is slowing, and is the lowest among the most socially vulnerable communities. COVID-19 is burning with renewed ferocity through India, much of South America, and other countries. Globally the pandemic is set to kill more people in 2021 than in 2020.

A sweeping and continuous process produces to almost paradoxical phenomena. First, people become inured and apathetic from suffering at a mass scale, experience with psychologist Paul Slovic, of the University of Oregon has called psychic numbing. But people are also becoming sensitized to further traumas in their own life. Silver has repeatedly found this pattern among people who experience successive disasters, such as 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, and the Boston Marathon bombings. Many didn’t habituate: each new blow brought more stress, not less. “Around the one-year anniversary of COVID, a number of journalist asked me, ‘It’s been a year; why are we adjusted to this?'” Silver said. “I found that question very unusual.”

The pandemic hasn’t been a one off disaster but “a slow, recurrent onslaught of worsening things,” adds Tamar Rodney, From the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, who studies trauma. “We can’t expect people to go through that and for everyone to come out the other side being fine. People have suffered in between, and those affects must be addressed, even if we’re walking around maskless.”


In 1969, the psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler Ross wrote that people with terminal illnesses go through five emotional stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. This influential model H did self into the public consciousness and has been applied to every flavor of grief and loss, including that of COVID-19. But it is deeply misleading, and always has been. Grief is unpredictable. It doesn’t involve clearly defined stages. It doesn’t unfold linearly. It doesn’t necessarily and an acceptance. And grief takes long meandering and varied paths that popular myths do little to prepare us for.

People who endure long bouts of stress often collapse when they get a chance to be calm. Soldiers who returned to the every day world “describe it as boring, which gives him more time to think about what happened in the theater of war,” Steven Taylor, a psychiatrist at the University of British Columbia said. Similarly he predicts that in the quiet moments after COVID-19 infections Wayne, healthcare workers may remember the patients they lost, or the Morley challenging decisions I had to made about appropriating care. That if they did quiet moments between dealing with surgeries that were rescheduled during surges and patients who are coming in sick or than usual because they deferred care. “You’re just frayed but you have to do everything that didn’t get done,” Saskia Popescu, an infection preventionist at George Mason University, said last summer. “You don’t get a mental break.”

Even Americans who were spared the big-T traumas of the emergency room still experienced a year of fear, uncertainty, and disruption. They too might experience during moments of unexpected reflection, even as the national outlook begins to brighten. “When you get a chance to realize that your safety or your family safety is no longer at rest, you think, What was that experience like for me?” Said gold, the Washington University psychiatrist. “Your answer could be I haven’t slept in months, or I feel miserable, or My kid is really angry and upset all the time. I think the curve [of mental health problems] is likely to go up exponentially once people have time to even realize that mental health is part of the equation.”

Such problems can be especially disquieting at times when people are expecting to feel renewed. Lipsky, the trauma specialist, said she has worked with many people who are “struggling with the struggle.” They might be nurses, doctors, judges, activists, or parents — hypercompetent individuals who are used to handling a constant baseline of stress, and you act as bad rocks and caregivers for their teams, communities, and families. The added burdens of the pandemic to overwhelmed them, and rocked their identities. “People don’t recognize themselves,” Lipsky said. “They say, ‘Are used to be the person who dealt with really hard things.’ I had parents questioning whether they were even meant to be a parent.”

Not everyone will feel this way perhaps most Americans won’t. In past work, Silver, the UC Irvine psychologist found that even communities that go through extreme traumas, such as Years of daily rotted fire, can show low levels of PTSD. Three factors seem to protect them: confidence in authorities, isn’t a belonging, and community solidarity. In the US, the pandemic wrote it all three. It reduce trust in institutions, separated people from their loved ones, And why didn’t political divisions. It was something of a self reinforcing disaster, exacerbated by the conditions that make recovery harder.

“I don’t feel that we’re doomed,” Silver said. “I do still believe that we will get through this.” She and other experts I’ve heard speak noted that people are resilient, and often more so than they realize. But they also agree that the rhetoric of individual resilience can often do you use to plaster over institutional failures: the shortage of mental health care providers, the labyrinth of insurance system, The lack of support from employers, the stigma around seeking care at all, and the societal tendency to bottle up grief. “I don’t know anyone who looks to the US as a model for grieving and mourning,” Lipsky said. “We don’t talk about loss. By and large, it’s all about consumption to help numb you out.”


Lori Peek, a sociologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said that recovery from disasters is usually gaged in terms of dollars regained, jobs restored, and infrastructure rebuilt. Mental health is harder to measure, and so easier to ignore. She is worried that the understandable societal desire to move past the pandemic will further alienate people who are still dealing with grief or symptoms. “What if someone is truly suffering and reaches out for help six months from now, and is told, ‘What are you talking about? The pandemic was ages ago?'” Peek said.

Loss can linger longer than expected. The time frame for recovering from disasters “is measured not in months, but in years or decades,” Peek said. In many cases last been on the lifespan of human compassion. In late 2005, the people who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina initially found an outpouring of support, including meals, clothes, furniture, money, and music. But by early 2006, goodwill Dave way to watch disaster relief workers called Katrina fatigue and what the evacuees just called discrimination. “People were like, ‘Aren’t these people going home?'” Peek said. “And they had no homes.”

Similar tendencies are a parent now, as commentators wonder why many Americans are still anxious and risk averse, even as the US begins to wake from its pandemic nightmare. “I think some people believe we pressed ‘pause,’ and we’ll go back to the way things were before, as if we didn’t have all the intervening experiences, as if 2020 didn’t happen, as if getting a vaccine erases your memory,” Gold said.

Consider the latest phase of the ceaseless discourse around masks. The SARS-CoV-2 Virus spreads primarily through shared indoor air, the vaccines are extremely effective, and breakthrough infections among vaccinated people are rare. It’s reasonable, then, for the CDC to advise fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks outdoors. (The agency’s surprising move to extend those guidelines indoors is more debatable.)

But it is also reasonable for people to want to continue wearing masks, to feel anxious that others might now decide not to, or be dubious that strangers will be honest about their vaccination status. People don’t make decisions about the present in a temporal vacuum. They integrate across their past experiences. They learn. Some have learned that the CDC can be slow in its assessment of evidence, or confusing and it’s proclamations. They watch their fellow citizens rail against steps that would protect one another from infection study time in the US had already weather deadlines of a road in social trust. They internalize the lessons of a year in which they had to fend for them selves, absent support from a government that repeatedly downplayed a crisis that was evidently unfolding. “We had no other protections all year,” gold said. “We had masks. No one else protected us. It’s understandable that the people would be hesitant about taking them off.”

For some people, taking of a masterful mean just exposing the bottom half of their face. But for others, it signifies that they must reevaluate their understanding of versed in danger yet again, with fewer emotional reserves at hand. “I feel more cleaning towards the routines I’ve established,” Whitney Robinson, a social epidemiologists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said. “Summer feels like an unknown, and kind of exhausting. [It means]’s navigating new situations, reestablishing relationships, and deciding on COVID norms. It feels tiring.”


Nicolette Louissaint, Is the executive director of Healthcare Ready, and non-for profit that works to prepare for disasters by strengthening medical supply chains. She and her team started working full tilt in January 2020, well before most of the US to COVID-19 seriously. The world has taken a toll, and isn’t over. “Our personal lives are stabilizing, but there is still this fatigue from our professional lives,” she said. “And we are less than a month from hurricane and wildfire season.”

Those who work in emergency preparedness talk about panic neglect cycles, where people and politicians lose interest in a crisis once it abates, With drawing attention and resources that are needed to prevent the next one. Louissaint Where is that the US is set to go through that cycle again. “There is a sense the political world and energy is now there, and might not be in a year,” she said. “At some point, no one’s going to want to hear about this anymore, so will be fighting for infrastructure and investment, and we’ll be right back here to where we are. Even now, when we do our normal trainings to get communities prepared for natural disasters, the feed that we often get is ‘Oh my God, I can’t even think about that right now,'” Louissaint said. “So what happens when we have to face it?”

Louissaint was asked what she says to people who have just had enough, who feel they’ve maxed out on their quota of catastrophe, who just want to move on from the pandemic, or who equate tired of preparedness with fearmongering. “I think there’s a difference between sitting around fearing that the worst will come and actually understanding the things we must be prepared for,” she said. “If we are more prepared, we wouldn’t have to worry as much.”

“If you don’t want to have this conversation anymore, I understand. I don’t either,” she added. “My challenge is: how do we get to a position where we can afford not to?”

Regardless Of Chauvin’s Guilty Verdict We Need More Dramatic Changes

As I am writing this, Derek Chauvin, an ex- cop was found guilty on all three charges against him for murdering George Floyd, in May of 2020. Had he not been found guilty on any of the three charges against him there would have been some serious riots happening across the United States. But he has been found guilty.

But let’s hypothetically say he was found not guilty or received a mistrial, the outrage would be A TIDAL WAVE. Our justice system would have demonstrated YET again that a cop can kill a black man with impunity, even if there were witnesses on the scene and conclusive video evidence seen by lens of millions.

I felt in my gut that Chauvin would be convicted. Chauvin is to simply put it a sacrificial lamb, the cost of doing business. Chauvin will be regarded as someone who dug his own grave, unnecessarily kneeling on the neck of George Floyd in front of witnesses he could see were recording his vicious act of murder.

In the eyes of too many police and political leaders, Chauvin’s actions were NOT a moral failure, but a failure of optics. Even in 2020, when we had seen numerous police shootings captured on cell phone video and posted to YouTube or Facebook where they went viral, this was extreme. It went on for a long, long time; eight minutes and forty-six seconds to be exact. It sparked protests and uprisings not only across the country but across the world.

So Derek Chauvin may be sacrificed for the benefit of a white surpremacist policing system not because he abused his authority but becausee he displayed utter contempt for Black life too brazenly, in front of too many eyes.

What does his conviction change?

In the three months after George Floyd’s murder, cops killed about 288 people in the US, and there was a slight uptick in the already disproportionate number of those killed who were Black and/or Latino. As of April 18, cops had killed 319 people in 2021.

George Floyd’s murder changed nothing.

There has been a lot of work done by Black and Brown people, Black and Brown-led coalitions, and anti-racist allies to finally change our barbaric system of policing and imprisonment.

But in the end, we have seen a hashtag, a whole slew of platitudes, and some words. But change has been meager at best.

Maryland recently passed what many termed “sweeping police reform.” But despite the kicking and screaming of police associations and Maryland’s own backward governor, Larry Hogan, the changes did very little. Penalties were increased and civilian review strengthened, but fundamentally, nothing has changed.

Yet, Maryland is FAR ahead of the rest of the country. Some police departments have seen small reductions of budgets. In Congress, bills meant to stop the sale or transfer of military-grade equipment to civilian police forces have been facing tough challenges. In some cases, there have been responses that diverted some resources from police to social services, along with some of the responsibilities that police should have had in the first place. But these have been isolated instances, and the pushback has been strong.

There have certainly been discussions about the deep, inextricable relationship between racism and policing. This focus has been built on a deep and rich body of work that has demonstrated the roots of policing as a means of maintaining the power of the ruling classes, using both police violence and racism as tools.

Yet now, after we watched the police murder one person after another, and then witnessed the overwhelming violence cops have employed against protesters, often unprovoked, we cannot help but conclude that nothing has changed.

Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo made headlines in just the past few days. But since the testimony in the trial for George Floyd’s murder began, police have killed an average of three people a day.

And with Derek Chauvin convicted, and sentenced to life in prison, what will change?

Cops will continue to kill people. Those people will come from all races, but they will be disproportionately Black and Brown. They will be overwhelmingly poor and worki-class people.

Still, it is important — especially so for me as a white woman — to understand that many people, particularly people of color, need to see Derek Chauvin thrown in jail. It matters to many that Chauvin be convicted, that retribution meted out.

People feel that way not only because of George Floyd but because of the constant, interminable pressure of being Black or Brown in America. Living with police harassment, or the fear of it, feeling a shivers of fear when you drive past a cop car, the feeling of danger if you see it behind you and the terror of actually being pulled over is a terrible thing to live with. Walking down the street is NO different. Breonna Taylor and Botham Jean, among too many others, show that you can’t even leave that fear outside your own home.

So, yes, the burning desire to see George Floyd’s murderer go to jail is perfectly justified and understandable. And, given the system we live in, it’s also the only kind of Justice that can be offered — the retributive kind.

But in the end, it will change nothing, and it can even make things worse. Politicians and pundits will use Chauvin’s conviction as proof that the “system works.It will be a tool used to shut down calls to Defund the Police and to end political pressure for all but mildest police reform.

And George Floyd will still be dead. As will Duante Wright, Adam Toledo, Laquan McDonald, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Freddie Gray, Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and so, so many more.

The justice their memories need is the justice we all need: a society that respects all life, that recognizes that violence does NOT solve our problems, but treating all of our communities and every individual within those communities, with respect could.

Police, it should be obvious by now, do not prevent crime. Incarceration is expensive, it is inhumane, and worst of all it is NOT only ineffective, it actually reinforces people’s disenfranchisement and lack of connection to each other, thereby bolstering, or in many cases, creating, the very conditions that lead to violence.

We can honor the murderered many, we can honor their memory and, yes, we can bring at least some justice to this country. We do that NOT by taking vengeance, although accountability and a reckoning are going to be necessary to heal wounds. But we bring that justice by building a better world.

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, and all the othersdeserve better than vengeance. They deserve to be the symbols of a country, of a world, reborn. One where we live up to our promises of dignity, decency, and respect for all.

We can do that. But it will NOT come out of the trial of Chauvin, no matter how the trial ends.