Today, many of us who cared about democracy, freedom, and the continuation of our republic exhaled a sigh of relief. We feel lighter, and we feel hope the end may be in sight for this nearly year-long pandemic, and we feel relief for our LGBTQ+ friends and family. We are hopeful for communities of color and for those seeking asylum. There is hope that children ripped from their parents by a callous cabal of sociopaths, can be reunited with their parents. It's a long road ahead, but instead of dread, we continue the journey with optimism and hope that the future will be brighter.
I like to think of myself as a caring person, and attempt to behave compassionately towards others. Sometimes I fall short in that effort, but failing is what humans do, and successful humans learn from failure. I'd like to discuss what I believe is one of my more recent failures, and what I've come to learn about what's behind it. When the masking guidance and mandates first dropped, it short-circuited me. I reacted in disbelief, anger, and refusal to enter places that required masks. Masking was a simple act that was both scientifically and morally justified. I wondered if I really was a decent person, or if this reflexive pushback was just uncovering undiagnosed sociopathic tendencies. I started to wonder if my outward behaviors of positivity and kindness were just facades that I'd constructed around a dark psyche. Given the rhetoric surrounding mask-wearing, which can — as far as I understand — be reduced to “you're a monster if you don't do this,” it was ha