The Dark And The Light

Karinvk
Posted September 8, 2020
Portland OR. September 2020
The Warzones of America

 

Every day, I wake up now, split between worlds. Europe, where I have made a temporary base vs my home in Portland, Oregon. USA. Portland used to be known as the Rose City, or Pot City. It was “hip” and “chill”. Now, it is The Protest City. Roiling through 100+ days of clashing emotions and ideals. Center stage in the battle of American democracy.

These are still the days of the pandemic. Winter lurks around the edge of September. Thankfully, for now, global infection numbers are slowing and maybe, just “maybe”, we are finally resisting Covid-19 as a species. The question is, what are the lasting social effects for us as inter-connected humans? How are we using this historical time to address our social and global humanity? Our joined potential.

A simply “maybe” these days can be enough to put a social media or actual target on someone’s real or, virtual head. Do we blame the pandemic for the increasing racial and economic divides? Or, did it just suddenly, painfully, rip off the band-aids we have been slapping on our social issues for the past three generations. Issues that include; workers rights, social equality, education costs, housing and health.

We are rapidly replacing our old band-aids with new distractions. Labels; Masker, Anti-Masker, Vaccer, Anti-Vaccer, Democrat, Liberal, Republican, Conservative. Proud Boys, Antifa. Red, Blue. White, Black. As if we can file our complex emotions under one tagline. Too angry to speak we are reduced to acronyms that claim to define us. BLM, ALM, QAnon, F12, ACAB. None of them resonate with any kind of love.

The names of the walls dividing us are exhausting. The list keeps growing. When did we stop being; neighbours, friends, colleagues and, just Americans? Why have we stopped talking to each other?

In January of 2020, I read a small story from China. Another wet market virus. Vaguely disturbed, I stopped riding the bus in February. I started conversations with strangers about it. The world swirled on ignoring distant page 5 news. Feeling a little crazy, I wrote; “wake up, this will change our world”.

Then came the lockdowns and job losses. In walked the fear. In July, as protests erupted in united sparks for social justice, I drove, alone, across the country to see for myself what was real vs fake news. From a blue state to a red. Oregon to Florida. Feeling a little crazy, I wrote about a country on a road to destruction.

I am a not Liberal or a Conservative. I am not a racist or conspiracy theorist. I wear a mask in shops and take it off outside. It might help, it might not. All life is precious. I lost a nurse friend to Covid-19 in Seattle. I miss him and it still hurts.

Until I know for sure, I am willing to be inconvenienced. It might save a life.

I am writing in my local Frankfurt café with Bob Marley music in the background. It’s busy. I waited 10 minutes in line to order. I scroll the US news. It’s chaos with a side of coffee. The Dark and the Light. Surreal.

After the tragedy of Italy and lockdowns, for weeks now, people here are busy with their lives. Shops are open, cafés brimming. Schools, cinemas, malls are open. Indoor, people wear masks. Outside, they take them off. I can see, this has become, just another habit. Nobody thinks about it, they just, do it. Here, life is as normal as it can get, just add an extra, annoying accessory.

There have been a few protests. But the cities are not burning, statues are still standing and people sit in restaurants together. Talking.

Meantime, back home, across the US, people are tearing each other apart. Over a mask.

I pass a graffiti wall everyday on my walk to my café. It says “Black Lives Matter”. Underneath, someone had scrawled, in a heart, “All Lives Matter”. I look for blood on the sidewalk. There is none. People walk by, chatting with friends. I went back, two days later, both scrawls are still there. I take my sharpie and draw a circle around them both and write: “Respect”.

Meantime, back home, across the US, people are tearing each other apart. Over words.

November elections are less than 5 weeks away. This election will be like no other. Some question if there will be an election. How did we get here? For now, it is a possibility of “lose-lose” as the country winds itself into a tighter frenzy of mass, illogical hate. Trump or Biden, this divided country will not accept either.

Rage and fear are fuelling both sides, equally. A perverted form of social equality. Law and order are casualties in this war of confused idealism. Mutual respect is enslaved by a rolling rhetoric of violence. A new tyranny.

Justice. Equality. Raise your fist and support “us” or else. Where is my freedom to choose? Who Are you that I should support you? What do you stand for? Your “equality” denies me. Your “rights” silence mine. Your “justice” is killing me. Who are you? I want to know. I want to hear what you have to say. I want you to hear what I have to say.

My coffee grows cold. Forgotten, as I wrestle with the conscience of my country. A father is playing with his child outside. A student studies beside me. I remember when this was my world. Now, I sit, here breathing freedom in a foreign country and thinking of “home”.

Meantime, back in the US, my country has forgotten how to breathe.

 

 

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This story was submitted in response to Black Lives Matter.

Comments 11

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Nini Mappo
Sep 09
Sep 09

Meanwhile, back at World Pulse, I have read a beautifully crafted story that aptly captures the sad disarray slowly disintegrating glorious America. You weave magic with your words KVK. I am glad that you are a writer, that you are enriching the world with your stories.

Welcome to World Pulse, and thank you for sharing this story with us.

Dawn Arteaga
Sep 09
Sep 09

Adding onto Nini’s comment because it’s a great postlude to your story KVK! I hear the turmoil in the words here of witnessing the dark and light at once. It can make us dizzy. And yet, even in the dark we know we are all still here, our hearts are all beating the same. I have hope we will get through this darkness stronger. And it’s voices like yours, KVK and Nini, who will lead us through.

In solidarity, Dawn

Nini Mappo
Sep 09
Sep 09

"even in the dark we know we are all still here, our hearts are all beating the same", is a beautifully put truth that paints a picture of calm, of self awareness, and awareness of Americanism even through the unrest. It speaks of the redemptive hope that you speak of, that of getting through the turmoil stronger.

Incidentally, I went and looked up 'postlude'. You have enriched my language :)

Karinvk
Sep 10
Sep 10

Thank you Nini, I so appreciate your words and support. Hugs. Karin

Hello, KVK,

Welcome to World Pulse! I'm delighted to know a new voice from two worlds (Europe and US) is rising up!

I love the way you write, dear. You brought me to your two contrasting worlds with such ease with words. It's a blessing you experience light so you can illuminate those who are in the dark. To add to Dawn's comment, I'm reminded of a firefly, even the smallest light shines in the darkness.

As long as there are voices like yours, dear, there is hope. Please keep writing your stories. We love to connect with you. I followed you on Medium! I, however, maxed out my free three articles per month. I've been wanting to write there, too. Soon!

Welcome again to our growing sisterhood!

Karinvk
Sep 10
Sep 10

Thank you Karen, your support and this community makes it so worthwhile. I don't feel so alone out here writing. Stay safe and well. Hugs, Karin

Andrace
Sep 10
Sep 10

Hi Karin,
Welcome to this awesome sisterhood and congratulations on your first post! Following you already. :)

Thank you for sharing your well-written piece. How did we get here truly? Why should we dehumanise humanity for humans? We should wake up,!

We pray for peace in America and all over the world- amen.

Love and hugs, Sis.
E. J.

janet.tan
Sep 20
Sep 20

"Until I know for sure, I am willing to be inconvenienced. It might save a life." The attitude and willingness to be inconvenienced is getting rare now in our society. Indeed, building a community requires love and patience to hear and learn about member. From it, some extent of sacrifices would be needed. Your piece made me reflect upon my own actions, whether I have done my part to help build the community(s) in which i take part. Thanks for the post!

Karinvk
Sep 20
Sep 20

Thank you Janet, all of you here at GP have truly created an amazing community. I look forward to the days when we meet beyond the "virtual" world. All the best.

Millynairi
yesterday
yesterday

Dear Karin,
This is a good piece, perfectly written. I pray for peace for America and the entire world.

Karinvk
yesterday
yesterday

Thank you Millynairi, we so need peace, everywhere. I believe that as women, reaching out and connecting with each other, we have the ability to balance the chaos and bring peace. Feel free to reach out if there is anything I can do for you! Virtual hug.