Where We Are Now

I started this year with mixed feelings: on one hand, I saw 2020 as a new beginning; on the other, I wasn’t looking forward to the campaigning leading up to the presidential election. But I was determined to be as positive as possible; even I was sick of how negative I’d been since Trump was voted into office. I knew this would be a challenge because I’m not an optimist by nature (see my post, “Post-Election Hangover”). But the number itself—2020 (l have a thing about even and symmetrical numbers)–seemed like a sign that good things were on the way.

Then the news started trickling in from China about a new, highly contagious virus. Still, I wasn’t that concerned; I just assumed that it wouldn’t have much of an impact in the States. But here we are, on March 28th, with over 620,000 cases and almost 29,000 deaths worldwide, including over 105,000 cases and 1722 deaths in the U.S. alone. And these figures are obsolete as soon as I write them; that’s how swiftly this virus is moving.

This is more than a once-in-a-lifetime event. It may end up redefining the 21st Century. It certainly will draw a line in the sand of history. We will start referring to events as having occurred before the coronavirus pandemic or after it. (God willing, there will be an “after.”) Births, marriages, and deaths will be remembered for taking place in the year when everything changed.

That’s not to say that people haven’t always experienced things that divided their lives into a “before” and “after.” But it’s rare that something cataclysmic happens to the entire world at once. To look on the somewhat bright side, this could be worse: a nuclear world war or an asteroid hurtling toward the Earth, for example. But that’s not much comfort while we’re facing the scary unknowns of this pandemic.

We don’t know how bad this is going to get, how long it’s going to last, how many will die or be scarred for life, how many economies it will topple. Will it be as bad, or worse, than the 1918 Spanish flu? Will it decimate our populations? Or will we develop a vaccine in time to avoid near-total disaster?

I’m writing this while I’m off work because the library I work for has closed. I haven’t been out of the house for two weeks. My state’s primary election was canceled and is now going to be conducted by mail only. All my appointments—hair, dental, physical therapy—have been canceled. My grandchildren are probably out of school for the rest of the year. The one who is a junior in college is doing all his classes virtually. The last three times we got groceries, there was no yogurt, orange juice or toilet paper. I could go on and on.

But so far, no one I know personally has tested positive for the virus, let alone been hospitalized, or died. As long as we all stay home, I have the illusion that we’re somehow protected. But we have to go out sometime, and according to our President, it should be sooner, rather than later. (He thinks the economy can be “up and raring to go” by Easter, two weeks from now.)

I’m going to write about different topics in the weeks and months to come, but it will be hard to keep from coming back to the coronavirus, no matter what I write about. Because this is our new normal. And everything we do, think, and feel will be shaped by it.

Welcome to Femagination 2020

I started this blog in 2008 when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were vying for the nomination to be the Democratic candidate for president. As a Second Wave feminist, I was excited by the possibility that a woman might actually become that candidate. When that didn’t happen, I wanted to examine the role that sexism played, not only in Clinton’s defeat, but in society as a whole. I wrote more than 550 posts over the next few years, on topics ranging from abortion to motherhood to the practice of head-covering among Muslim women (which proved to be my most commented-on post). 

In recent years, I’ve posted infrequently, partly because I felt that I’d run out of things to say, and partly because I didn’t think my blog was all that influential. I still doubt that it is, but I’m feeling a need to express myself again about what’s going on in this crazy world. 

I’m not the type of writer who uses my blog to sling mud at people. I may not always be successful, but I try to be as objective as I can about issues. That isn’t to say that I’m unbiased, but my goal has always been to open up dialogue between people who hold differing views. That may be a fool’s errand, but I can’t not try. 

I’m analytical by nature. I like to examine things from all sides, dissect them, and come up with new ways of looking at them. At the same time, I’m a stickler for honesty. I won’t pretend to be neutral when I’m not. I will express my opinions, but I won’t beat people over the head with them. If that makes my blog too tame, so be it. If you’re looking for sensationalism, you won’t find it here.

I invite you to sample my posts if my approach sounds like something you could buy into. I want you to feel welcome. Hopefully, even if you don’t agree with me, you’ll come away with a bit more understanding about both (or all) sides of an issue.