We are in an apocalyptic moment, though many people don’t understand that word. Apocalypse is actually an unveiling, a revealing of the true state of things. Used in apocalyptic literature like we might find in the Bible, it told stories of the spiritual forces behind political struggles in the material world. It was written to assure oppressed people that God was fighting for them against the forces of wickedness, and that ultimately good would prevail. In Christianity the Revelation of John is the great example. Suffering would be erased and rewards bestowed.
In apocalypses it is in the unveiling that we find the true reality, the reality we can’t see in the material world. At this moment in time America is being unveiled, the truth about us known. It is a hard truth to face and many will not be up to the task. For what we are putting on display to ourselves and the world is that we are a society that cannot face the truth about ourselves. We cannot accept the truth that genocide, slavery, and greed were as much a part of our founding as the ideals we say we believe in and cherish.
We recoil in horror when the truth of our story is revealed, yet again, by those who were most oppressed by our lies. Our moment of reckoning is upon us, and we are not prepared for it, putting our society in great peril. We are more susceptible to weaponized fear than have ever been.
This fear will be stoked by those who believe it is the only way they can keep their power. They see the easy targets in people who refuse to accept that we are all in this together. The screaming, infantile fearful souls who won’t take the simplest precaution to help other citizens; the fearful who stockpile guns thinking it will save them on the last day; those who cannot take the smallest action that helps other human persons survive, all these are revelations of our time. Meanwhile, the barker of the carnival draws our attention away from the truth, for he is the master of lies and destruction.
Our true disease was present long before the pandemic and unless we take this moment to be honest with ourselves about the racism and injustice that permeates our society, our deepest sickness will continue long after Covid19 is gone.