Staying at home in tumultuous times

At the end of last year, people might have been expecting 2020 to be a momentous year, as any year is likely to be in which the US presidential election and the Summer Olympic Games take place. For the UK, it was going to be the crucial negotiating period with the EU on the post-Brexit relationship. Interesting times looked like lying ahead. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused the loss of so many lives and already had huge impact on society and economy. Now the Black Lives Matter protests are demanding long-overdue and necessary systematic, structural, and societal changes to end the scourge of racism.

No one knows what will happen later this year, or in the next, but I think it is fairly clear that 2020 will be regarded by future generations as one of those pivotal or seminal years. And if it is not, we are in trouble. As such, in future people might ask me what I did in this tumultuous period as the pestilence and protests swept through the country and globe. ‘Nothing,’ will be my answer. Decidedly unheroic and disengaged, I have been staying put at home since the lockdown measures were announced in March except for short and necessary trips to the local supermarkets, and I have not stepped outside of my flat other than getting rid of my rubbish since early May as supermarket delivery slots became available. People make individual decisions, and I feel that not doing anything is the best I can do to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Even if I am not doing anything, what are my thoughts and opinions? I have not been following the news or social media too closely since doing so is rather depressing and exhausting as deaths, discrimination, and destruction dominate. I do not like the extremely poisonous, polarized, and politicized atmosphere that pervades everywhere and everything. I do not have enough energy or appetite to think and argue about the many serious issues affecting us in any depth, except to express the hope that there will soon be an effective treatment or vaccine against COVID-19 and that this time black voices will be heard and real changes will be made.