Rights and Memories

My favorite thing that Americans do is reference the Constitution. If you are familiar with American history, or are just a really big Hamilton fan, then you understand how problematic that is. To keep this post short, I will highlight the two most relevant issues during this pandemic: 1) The Constitution grants "States' Rights" and 2) I was 3/5 of a person when it was written.

To say that the U.S. wasn't prepared for the Coronavirus is the "no sh*t" statement of the year. My favorite smackdown comment from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo came in response to a Trump tweet, "What, are you gonna grant me what the Constitution gave me before you were born? It’s called the Tenth Amendment. I don’t need the President of the United States to tell me that I’m governor and I don’t need the President of the United States to tell me the power of a state."

And it's 100% true. Generally speaking, the states - and even cities - do their own thing.  *The U.S. is basically like a poorly run franchise. There are big wigs at the top who tell you what the blanket rules are but then some of them you can opt-out of. Yeah, you pay into the franchise and they'll send you some marketing materials, but you can also get with other franchise owners and form an alliance. It's something of a mess.

For example, in some states, people had to risk their lives to vote in the primaries. In Colorado, I've been voting at home armed with my laptop and a glass of wine for years. Last year, Colorado got rid of the caucus business, so I was even able to vote in the primaries - from home.

In addition to a full civics lesson, Gov. Cuomo went on to say a number of things that illustrated the maturity level that Trump operates on. At the end of the day, I am convinced that Trump doesn't want to be the President of the United States - he wants all of the credit and none of the responsibility for kind of doing things.

I'm not going to call his supporters dumb or the scum of the Earth because at this point I don't think they want a president either. **After all, what does a president really do for your 6-yr-old with disabilities, when you had to move to a different state for better care and to get CBD oil for their seizures? If your insurance is tied to the same job you've had for 40 years, why do you care about putting your tax dollars toward someone else's health care? Is that person selfish, or are they surviving? How about both.

I, the author, am not a healthcare worker. This is a meme I found.
To say that this won't happen again is foolish. Some people believe we'll come together to demand that our leaders get it together, fight for more emergency preparedness, and better healthcare for all after this. I'm am not one of those people. We won't fight because most Americans are drowning. When you are trying to survive you are not overly concerned with the problems of the world; you don't know who Angela Merkel is and you probably don't care. You may not vote in every city and state election because you don't have time, you have to take care of an elderly parent.

There seems to be so much to do and our memories are short.

We're not as evolved as we think we are. Our brains are still programmed for basic survival. We still run off of basic instincts and are prone to addiction. Is survival selfish? Absolutely. Is it also sewn into the fabric of our country? You bet your "Tiger King"-watching ass. You can't tell a bunch of manifest destiny, wannabe-Walt Whitman folks what to do, even if it's for their own good. And besides the rebel flag-waving, gun-toting, mom-jean wearing protestors, you know who else doesn't blindly trust the government? Me, and a lot of working-class, people of color.

As much as I love the Obamas, they didn't pay off my Toyota. I did that. 

Going back to my second problematic point about the Constitution, Black folks have been trying to come up from being considered slightly more than cattle for a minute. Then, in order to shut us up about it, we've been allowed to have symbols of progress. What lies beneath the surface though, is the truth, and we see it every time there is a crisis. "Freedom" and "liberty" have never been equally distributed. If George Bush didn't care about Black people, Bill Clinton didn't either when he decided to be "tough on crime," which is part of why Hilary lost. The residents of Flint, MI still don't have clean water. Now, this.

So what happens when you incorrectly remember things, like the Constitution or the past 20 minutes? Anything. Anything could happen. You could text your ex because your memory tells you he wasn't that bad, you can pick up random items in the grocery store, or you can forget that anti-vaxxers brought back polio.

Ten years from now, revisionist history will say this pandemic was crazy because we had to stay in the house and we lost Uncle Teddy, but it wasn't that bad.

The banks will get away with it.

The politicians will get away with it.

The billionaires will get away with it, but they may dole out 10¢ for the poor to a nonprofit. 

Most of us will still suffer from systematic oppression. 

I will most likely be living in Portugal because I'm over it.

Ultimately, I hope that I am wrong. If every person could realize how much better off we would be if we exercised genuine compassion and recognized the platforms of privilege from which they could help others, it would solve a lot of problems. I hope that people look at what "work" really means to them and whether "the way we've always done it" is truly the best way. Until then, just call me Angelica Schuyler.

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Netflix Watch-list Related to This Post
  • Pandemic
  • Explained - The Mind episode (focuses on memory)
  • 100 Humans
  • Knock Down the House 
Great Reads Related to This Post


*This is a very rough comparison of American politics based on my franchise understanding. I am not an expert in franchises, nor do I own a franchise.

**Do not come for me about the Affordable Care Act because even though it did help a lot of people it goes back to the first point where not all states expanded Medicare/Medicaid like they were supposed to and the process was hella messy.

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