Writing in a Time of Peril: March 31, 2020

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboardis reporting 164,610 US cases and 3,170 deaths as of 7:45am on March 31.

My experience of Orange Julius is as a liar, bully, sexual predator, thief, con man, coward, thin skinned, incompetent, vengeful, despotic, paranoid, grandiose, shallow, impulsive, misogynist, xenophobic, and he derives sadistic pleasure and profit from harming, exploiting and blaming the ost vulnerable among us.

Those who report while attempting to give context to OJ’s behavior, and his constant spweing of harmful misinformation and misdirection, often ponder; does he understand or does he realize or does he grasp or does her comprehend or does he care? Additionally, after nine months without White House briefings, we are now subjected to an OJ reality show that he uses to replace his presidential reelection political rallies and give cover to his administration’s failed Covid-19 response. Meanwhile, his administration continues to smear, threaten, bully and fire when he feels others are disloyal, hurts his feelings, tells truth to power, get in the way of his saving his presidency or exploit our country. 

Like Miss. Nancy, what I lovingly call our Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives, I do fervently wish our current president was competent, effective, and up to the challenges of the presidency of the United States of America. I daily resit the impulse to hate him, curse him, wish him unwell. I resit this impulse in part because of Miss Nancy’s example. She prays for him, genuinely so, as she has been taught. I stop the powerful hateful thoughts in earliest-flight from my brain, to my mouth, to my heart, mouth, because of what I have been taught. I have been warned with a wagging fingers. I have been admonished with withering looks. My mothers, grandmothers, and auntie mamas have universally inparted, “What you wish ill for others, casting out your anger on others, hating others will reflect on you, return to you, bounce back onto you.”

Meanwhile, the reality of Covis-19 permeates all our lives as medical professionals, mayors, governors, doctors, nurses, first responders and medical professionals plead and beg for what should have already been delivered.

I respond to all of this in rational terror and furious love and determination for a well-founded, consistent, and united national response to Covid-19. Instead, I receive daily toxic doses of arrogantand incompetent mixed messaging, harmful misinformation, and revisisionist histories of the months, weeks and days preceding. 

I experience OJ as a no-win gaping black hole of rage, fear, projection and need. Nothing works to corral him into responsible and accountable leadership. People have tried to give him what he wants; praise him, genuflect to him, fact check him, lie to him, lie for him, leak on him, lie on others for him, give him the facts in small visual bites, and withhold the facts, just to name a few. I experience OJ as loving the fight dirty, to upset, to embarrass, to shame and embarass others, to incite strife, to profit from all things. I experience him as hating and fearing the truth, authenticity, the very notion of honor and duty, and any appearance that he lost or failed, even when he has lost, is losing, is constantly. 

Orange Julius’ leadership, and lack thereof, and the double bind natures of our government’s responses to Covid-19, leaves us rationally afraid, confused, angry, disappointed, mystified and uncertain about how to to save our own lives and the lives of all Americans with a healthy natioal response.

We are a people awakening to the realization that an effective and competent presidency is lost to us. OJ will not respond in any consistently responsible, accountable or presidential way. To continue expecting, hoping for, pleading for Orange Julius to become the functional president, that he was elected to be and he swore to become, requires of all of us levels of denial and delusion that will increase the Covid-19 illnesses and deaths among us.  Instead, together, we will find within ourselves and other individuals, groups, and institutions that we can depend on to save our lives and invent whatever we need to do so. We will keep ourselves and each other safe. We will volunteer, pitch in and donate in every way we can. We will keep physical separation. We will not allow emotional, social, and spiritual separation. We will find every way to save ourselves, each other and our country. And, we will find every detail of this administration’s betrayal of our trust and their sworn duty to serve us, and we will hold them morally and criminally responsible.  

So, I’m going down my to-do list of selfcare: meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home, except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there a very few people about. Watch less TV, but stay informed. Laugh a lot. Channel fear and rage into expression, action and art. 

I put on Stevie Wonder’s, Songs in the Key of Life. I listen to the whole album. I repeat, “Love’s in Need of Love Today,” each time it comes on. 

I continue to chronicle these times.

© Andrea Canaan, MSW, MFA



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