I’ve been waiting it out at home for longer than some. The pandemic has taken away my enthusiasm for many things. I have only moments of optimism. November 7th was certainly a high point. What followed in my ridiculous country, of course, restored that good ol’ American despair and rage in fairly short order. This is my era? Thanks. Runaway disease and political corruption reinforced in the public consciousness every minute, on the minute? Are we exhausted because it’s exhausting or because the mission itself is to exhaust us? A little firm ground is too much to ask now. Is it shocking that I wouldn’t object to a long list of politicians getting the Mussolini treatment at this point? We’ve paid in advance for it, I think. In my heart of hearts, I know that’s just a reaction to the lies and the overwhelming sadness, the human tragedy, the apathy and the pervasive darkness.
I look back at a post I made about the hope that I had for 2020. I can’t even comment about it. That hope was quashed and replaced by a type of anxiety for which there was no precedent in my life. That alone speaks volumes, because anxiety and I are old friends. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that I am psycho-emotionally equipped for moments like these. Dealing with anxiety is a vocation for me the way that perhaps bowling is for greater men. What I’ve been saying since the early days of this crisis is that now, at long last, everyone will understand what it means to be anxious. People with anxiety problems often have difficulty explaining the malady to people who don’t have it. Now it’s easy. “You know how you felt that the world was closing in and that there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide? It’s like that.” I started to learn the hard way about anxiety and panic 20 years ago. I’m glad too. This would be a terrible time to learn the basics of coping. How exasperating that my decades of experience have not enabled me to take complete societal breakdown in stride.
Goodbye to Rosie, wearer of rose-colored glasses, ignorant and arrogant wretch
So let’s say goodbye to 2020 without ceremony. We can’t know what’s next for us any more than in any other new year. I certainly don’t trust 2021. Are we naive enough to pin our hopes to vaccines or new politicians? I must admit that I indulge in some naivete, like a little vacation from the “because fuck you, that’s why” life that we’ve been left with. But I’ve been burned. I’m gonna need a lot more than a promise now.
One thing I’ve discovered while listening to my family discussing “back to normal” topics is that I don’t long for what we had before. American culture had already been weighing on me for almost four years before 2020 happened. It wasn’t sustainable. I commented on the dying age of Pisces in the liner notes of my last album, but I didn’t envision it as the collapse of a dam. The United States’ dysfunction has fostered multitudes of hateful assholes who cannot think, cannot love and cannot get out. Nothing is true and everything is true. We produce nothing but magnificent ruin. We value nothing of value. We’re not even smart enough to know that we hate ourselves. The chaos is palpable. I use the term we, because this has defined us as a country. To the actual people on the ground, it’s just a feeling of powerlessness that hangs over the loving, the intelligent and the reasonable, who are so constantly overruled with no recourse.
Is it clear yet? We don’t have another minute for lives lived in the darkness of America. We can’t treat each other like this anymore. We can’t treat ourselves like this anymore. I know what’s been wrong for me. I have no desire to go back to where we were. But where will we go? Is there any safe place on the planet, where the jobs are not imaginary, where the living is not an illusion and where the days are not punctuated by the ramblings of morons from top to bottom? I’ve long believed that change would only come if something absolutely terrible happened. Is it even possible that this hasn’t been quite terrible enough?