Claudia Schmidt has composed “My Quarantine Prayer” (https://youtu.be/VyL8Ai8lvzc). I expect that readers here will construct additional reflections on the significance of these days.
For me, the quarantine is an unhelpful image that gets in the way of looking at its importance—a threatening uncertainty which has multiple sources. The virus would not be so unsettling if leaders took it seriously rather than find ever smaller moments of using it to their advantage of a restrictive political ideology of me and mine.
Before politics was economics, favoring money over people. And before that, an attempt to avoid the sweat of my brow by the sweat of yours. And even earlier, an equating of ethical knowledge with death. And who knows what before one particular story.
These days, before being too definitive about cause and effect, it is helpful to remember that viral uncertainty set the stage for a different response to the predictable next police murder. The universalized threat that goes beyond any categorizing, including predisposed morbidities, set all at risk.
In such a pandimonious moment, a next callous death was finally acknowledged by those all too able to distance themselves. Suddenly, I can see my death in your death. It took an all-too-real threat to privileged White folk to set the scene for them to see themselves connected with folx of every sort.
Of course, all along the way, there have been prophets, community organizers, working in solidarity with oppressed peoples. Their language seeded the world with usable words and images that could easily be picked up and applied.
Thanks be for a pandemic and prophets working in tandem to set people free from structural violence, social and environmental. Blessings to all who died without knowing how they have assisted in bringing a better definition of public safety for individuals and communities.