America is broken.
The States are not United, and we are divided.
It’s an uncivil war.
I can’t stick to sports today, so turn away if you want to read about the Broncos making eight promotions in their front office, the Rockies releasing 15 minor-league players, the Nuggets likely resuming their season in two months from Sunday in Orlando and the Avalanche’s next game being played in the playoffs.
As a kid reporter 52 years ago I covered marches, protests and riots in the South in Mississippi, Alabama and, particularly, Memphis, Tenn. I was given a riot helmet by an assistant police chief, and was tear-gassed by other officers minutes after. I was assigned to a striking sanitation workers rally at a downtown church and, as I called in my story, a man held a knife to my throat, then relented. I was jostled amid the maddening crowd on famous Beale Street when fires and fights broke out, windows were shot out and stores were looted. And I spent days at the Lorraine Hotel shortly after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on a balcony by a damnable small-time crook/white supremacist.
April 1968 was the Unholy Week Uprising.
The social unrest of the decade in the U.S. because of race relations and the Vietnam War was the vilest since the War Between The States.
Thus, as I sat alone on the sofa Thursday and Friday night, worried about my daughter who lives near the Capitol in Denver, the mind filtered through the abhorrent memories of more than a half century ago.
We still have hatred, violence, distrust, cruelty, spite, death. Malice in Wonderland.
Only this time we also have the most devastating pandemic since before practically all of us were born. Millions died worldwide then; hundreds of thousands are dying now.
I am scared, not of dying, but of suffering. I lost my dad decades ago after he suffered for years with diabetic complications. I lost my sister who suffered with three bouts of cancer. I lost my mom July Fourth three years ago after she suffered with cancer. I lost three cousins in three months last year. I will be 74 in June; I am a diabetic; I’ve had heart issues; I am very vulnerable. Which is why I’ve self-quarantined since March (I lost count of the time many weeks ago), except for three days I spent at a Douglas County hospital early on because my doctor felt I needed to be checked for COVID-19 because of some symptoms. A team of doctors and nurses who examined me at the hospital determined that I wasn’t stricken. I have the coronavirus green armband as a reminder that I was temporarily OK. The staff was so professional, compassionate and sincere, just as all the other health care workers throughout the nation who are in the forefront of the gruesome struggle. They are the best there are.
I hope all of you are staying safe, secure and strong.
But the deadly pandemic has been joined by a derisive epidemic of we the people.
Democrats vs. Republicans, conservatives against liberals, the far left vs. the far right.
Those who oppose the president and those who defend Donald Trump’s policies. Governors who are setting their own path and those begging for help from the federal leadership.
Those who wear masks and practice social distancing for protection against those who don’t because of Constitution rights and freedoms. Those who believe the virus won’t affect them lined up against those who are reacting or overreacting to the sickness. Young vs. the elderly.
Whites and blacks against each other. A minority of police vs. minorities. The rich vs. the poor, the suburbans vs. the urbans, the Western Slope vs. the Front Range.
Antipathy breeds Antagonism.
A man dies in Minneapolis. A policeman is charged with murder. A police station and a Target store are burned. A peaceful demonstration in Atlanta transitions into open rebellion.
Many people take it to the streets. The rest take sides.
The 2020s are the 1960s with a COVID-19. Everybody blames everybody else.
Thus, I wonder again 52 years later:
Why not come together? Why not civility? Why not the United States of America?