Soapbox · Uncategorized

Happy Holidays

I don’t care what holiday you celebrate. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, or even nothing at all. If you do happen to believe in something, please ask for 2021 to be better than 2020.

2020 for most of us has been a trying and difficult year to say the least. Even so, I think that a lot of us have forgotten to count our blessings. I have a roof over my head with central heat, running water, and fridge stocked with food. I have a car, a computer, a cell phone, and an internet connection. I have a husband and friends who love me.

We, collectively, have forgotten that we are, with all our first world problems, blessed not to be born into extreme poverty and violence.  So much of the world is still there.  Statistically speaking, North American poverty is well off when compared with the conditions in much of the world.  Just running the numbers, if you are poor here, you will still have an apartment with electricity and running water that are reliable.  You will have fridge with food in it.  You will clothes and shoes (as in stuff in your closet, not just what are you wearing right now), a car, a cell phone, a computer, cable TV, and internet.  

Instead of worrying about all the things you don’t have or didn’t get at Christmas time, I want to encourage everyone to be happy for all things you do have.   Be happy your roof isn’t held down by tires, which incidentally isn’t that uncommon a sight here in rural Texas.  While you are watching your holiday lights blink, keep in mind that just having 1 electric light in a lot of places is an almost unbelievable luxury.  

Jakarta Indonesia
By Claudio Allia – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Sioux Indian Reservation in North Dakota

Be happy that this pandemic was just COVID and not some variant of Ebola with a 90+% fatality rate.  As a point of comparison, The Dark Ages were kicked off by a pandemic that had a 33% death rate.  So many people died and in such a short time, that society all across Eurasia broke down.  All kinds of knowledge, skills and even entire trades were lost because all the practitioners died before they were able to pass their knowledge on to someone who would survive the plague.  Since entire households were often victims, the apprentices often died with the master craftsmen mentors.  Food production broke down and entire cities either died of starvation or migrated elsewhere in search of food.  It took hundreds of years for society to stitch itself back together.  Instead, we got comparatively lucky with COVID and its less than 2% death rate.  

We got a dry run on all our processes and procedures for dealing with a serious pandemic.  We got to see what worked and what has not before we get hit with some thing that is far, far worse than COVID.  We found out that we are not nearly as invulnerable as we thought.  While losing people is sad, this pandemic could have been so much worse.  We have been able to maintain the semblance of a civilized society.  Food production has not suffered.  We have enough people to keep the utilities running.  Our medical facilities, while often stretched, are still functioning.  

I can well understand the Kansas City artist who decided to express his opinion of 2020 with the display of toilet paper rolls to wipe 2020 away.

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