Orion's picture

    War

    Back in 2016, the Pulse nightclub in Florida was attacked by a gunman. I was staying with a gay roommate in Portland who became hysterical and verbally abusive. It wasn't fun but I took my lumps. I could understand and feel how he felt. He sat me down and asked me a few questions.

    "Michael, come here."

    "What is it, Gene?" I replied.

    "Do you think that we are in some kind of a social war?" He asked me.

    That term - "social war" - was just completely new to me. I looked it up later on, after Gene had died, and found that it was a conflict during ancient Rome.

    That seemed about appropriate. The conflict appeared to be triggering individuals by their group status, creating a climate of fear by which it became impossible to deal with anyone.

    Gene told me and a friend who rescued me that he was going to kill himself. He said the world was getting worse and that he was going to overdose on his insulin medications. It appears that soon after I left him, he did just that.

    When I told Gene that he shouldn't do that, he took a break from insulting me and told me, "You're a survivor and a soldier in this war."

    My mom and her boyfriend visited with Gene. His roommates checked in him. There was community, but he felt alone. He didn't want to leave in such circumstances.

    In the ensuing years, the rhetoric has only shifted more towards warfare. Biden has asserted that MAGA Republicans are against democracy, while Trump has deemed Biden "an enemy of the state."

    Another friend from high school, who was my image of popularity growing up, called and told me he planned to commit suicide by overdosing on his insulin medications. His voice was hoarse and he sounded pretty damn serious about it.

    He talked about "the last 15 years of aggression and tension" and how he couldn't take it anymore. I just didn't even quite know what to say. What was going on was on that level.

    "Battle for the soul of our nation seems like an apt description, as somewhere along the way, we lost ours. The suffering continued as I worked as a security guard - I witnessed a man deliberately attempt to run over children.

    In the context of Covid 19, all of that tension and suffering starts to make an odd kind of sense. Another high school best friend was targeted by a SWAT team and hit by a car multiple times.

    It is war and, by the end of this war, I am not quite sure that our society will even remain. It may be replaced by something very different and almost certainly will.

     

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