Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Why I’m “Living in Fear”

Yesterday morning, early (around 3 am), I woke from a fitful sleep and started doomscrolling.

Everything is awful, of course. The wildfires in California, another Black man shot by police in Wisconsin in broad daylight in front of his three kids, twin hurricanes headed to the Gulf Coast, the Trump-led war on democracy, and the thing keeping me awake the most: schools reopening around the US in the midst of an uncontrolled pandemic, with limited to no leadership, no universal guidelines, and far, far fewer resources than needed to keep communities safe.

Here in NYC, public schools are scheduled to start up in just over two weeks on a hybrid model where kids are physically in classrooms anywhere from one to three days a week and working remotely the rest of the time. But very few details have been shared with families – or with teachers – about what that will actually look like and how it will be done safely. Even in a city where transmission rates are now among the lowest in the country (and in the world), there are many risks. And we’re familiar with those risks probably more than anyone, save healthcare workers in hospital Covid units. At my kids’ school, we lost a beloved third grade teacher at the end of March and several parents through the spring. Principals, including our own, are arguing that schools are not safe yet to open. They have (mostly reasonable) demands and requests that the city has not yet met that they say will help ensure the safety of their teachers and the students and their families. They’re threatening to strike if the city continues ignoring them. It’s a mess.

Many of our city schools lack adequate ventilation and appropriate staff (especially when up to 40% of the city’s school personnel have medical waivers to allow them to work remotely). Classes are scheduled to begin in just over two weeks and we don’t know what days our kids will be in class, what days they’ll be home, what remote learning will look like (it was an absolute shit show in the spring), or even whether our kids will be taught by teachers at their actual school. I am expecting nothing short of a logistical and an emotionally-draining nightmare, and so we’ve chosen what we think will protect our kids the best and have opted to go full-time remote as the school year begins. Best-case scenario: The inevitable wrinkles are ironed out by November when we have our first chance to opt-in to hybrid learning and get our kids into the school a couple days a week.

And in school is where our kids belong. Joanie is five years old and going into kindergarten. She can’t read or write or type. She has a very limited toleration and attention span for virtual classes. I signed her up for a virtual camp last week to get her used to the platform, and even with a super engaging 90-minute class with built-in breaks, snack time, and crafts (where the materials were hand-delivered to us ahead of time), she was distracted. How is remote learning going to work for her? And at five, she needs to be developing social skills. I worry about her and Jackson’s emotional well-being with the isolation of being out of school for six, seven, eight months. And so I am strategically planning outdoor play dates and signing them up for outdoor classes and sports through the fall, emailing and texting and calling parents of their friends to coordinate times and organize pods of four to eight kids, hoping this will be enough to keep them connected and offset the damage already done with so many months of partial quarantine.

And I am so lucky to have the time and the resources to be able to do this! I can choose remote learning because I can be home with my kids and I don’t work a full-time job and I can give them attention and supervise and supplement their learning. I can choose remote learning even though it will compromise my own mental health and my kids’ social skills and will continue to chip away at the work life I’ve spent the last decade cultivating for myself and that had finally started paying off in the past couple of years in a way that felt satisfying on multiple levels.

For eight years, I balanced working from home with at least one child not yet in school, home with me. When parents now talk about how impossible this is, I want to scream, “I KNOW!” It is impossible. I hired a part-time sitter a few mornings a week for six and a half years to help me, and it was still hard and nearly all my earnings for a while went to childcare. And then, finally, I got both kids into school full-time, and Iwas so excited to explore other creative endeavors and potential revenue-generating projects, only to have them both back at home again six months later when the pandemic hit, and now over five months after that there’s still no end in sight. It feels unfair, and yet I know I’m among the luckiest.

My kids will be ok. It’s going to be incredibly hard, but we’ll get through it. Families who need the childcare, the services, and the social aspect that school provides because they have kids with special needs or they don’t have the luxury to stay home with them or the money to send them to theater class or to play in an organized soccer game in the park on the weekends may not be as ok. Teachers are not going to be as ok. Some will get sick. There will be more deaths. Our case count will increase again, and I worry about how quickly that will happen and how high the surge will be this time.

I have PTSD from our experience in the spring when the sirens didn’t stop wailing for three weeks, when Drew and I both had Covid symptoms and couldn’t get tests, when half our friends were sick too, when we had to tell our then-third-grader that one of the third grade teachers at his school died and he then refused to step outside for an entire month because he didn’t want to get sick and die too. And so, at 3 am when I can’t sleep and I start doomscrolling, reading about case clusters forming in schools already opening around the country, about outbreaks from big weddings people were too selfish to postpone or limit the size of, and about the parties and gatherings in places where the virus isn’t under control, I’m livid.

I want my life back, too. I want my kids back in school, too. I want to get on a plane and go visit my parents, my friends, some other place – anywhere, really because I am so sick of being home. I want to gather with people again. I want to feel normal and free and to not worry. But I can’t. Because our leadership at every level – but especially at the top – is cruel and dysfunctional and because so many people don’t believe this will affect them and haven’t made enough sacrifice in the shorter-term to give all of us a little more freedom in the longer-term. It’s another great American tragedy unfolding before our eyes, and just like climate change and police brutality and systemic racism and sexism, it will go unchecked as long as enough people remain unaffected by or in denial of the worst of it.

63 comments… add one
  • avatar

    anonymousse August 25, 2020, 9:38 am

    I feel the same way. I am dreading next week, when cyber school starts. My friend lives less than a mile from the fires in Northern CA. I’m so burnt out and feeling so negative, while trying to be positive. Everything is exhausting.

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    Bittergaymark August 25, 2020, 9:47 am

    As California burns and burns and burns— my mood is now so black up here in Minnesota lake country that I now fantasize about sailing my tiny sunfish off into eternity via the very next electrical storm. Just one big final ZAP! Hey… It’d be one hell of an exit.

    And frankly— I definitely need one.

    All that lies ahead for me now is more horror. And disappointment.

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    ele4phant August 25, 2020, 11:01 am

    I in no way mean this condscendingly, but if you aren’t already, have you considered therapy and even medication?

    I was pretty severly depressed this spring, when the lockdowns first started, to the point of my husband being concerned about me..well, making it. We have had a couple of really tough years (we lived next to drug dealers all of 2018 thru 2019, both my mother and mother in law have had serious health issues and we’ve had to manage their care with no help, I work in politics so…that’s been a couple of nasty years). I had developed no coping skills from any of that and my well of resilence was long depleted. I just had this overwhelming mentality that life is too hard and it won’t stop and you get past one hurdle only to find a GD bigger one and I just don’t want to do any of it anymore.

    The combination of therapy, anti-depressents, and mediation has just turned things around. The world is still awful, but my ability to just accept there are things I can’t control and appreciate the good things I do have, even if they are small, has made this time tolerable.

    I just wish it hadn’t taken me until a pandemic to get started, I wish I had started two years ago.

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      Dear Wendy August 25, 2020, 11:49 am

      Was this directed to me or to Mark?

      If me: yes, I’m in therapy and have been for a couple years. It’s great! I’m not on medication because I don’t need it right now, but I’d be open to it if it felt like I were severely depressed or couldn’t function or find healthy ways of coping. My therapist is wonderful, I trust her completely, and she’s never expressed any concern that my emotional wellbeing is in jeopardy beyond what anyone else is experiencing raising kids through a pandemic. In fact, she’s told me that I’m one of the people she talks to whom she’s *least* worried about – probably because I have relatively fewer stresses than full-time working parents, I’ve been working on coping skills for years, and the stresses of early parenthood (especially with a kid who has some special needs) prepped me pretty well for this current moment – and I believe her. I’m fine, all things considered, thank you.

      I’m happy that you’re getting the help you recognized you needed and that it’s working so well for you!

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        ele4phant August 25, 2020, 1:08 pm

        I guess it was kind of to everyone!

        Therapy has been so great, I basically recommend it to everyone.

        I only regret that I waited so long; it would’ve made the last several years of my life so much less of an emotional struggle.

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        Bittergaymark August 25, 2020, 6:04 pm

        Eh. All the therapy in the world can’t pay my bills or salvage the already sank Titanic that is my career.

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      courtney89 August 25, 2020, 4:19 pm

      I feel like I tried so hard at the beginning of the pandemic to try and look at the small things. Slow down, try to enjoy the little things, be thankful for the health of my family and friends, that my job is not in jeopardy, etc. I’m a glass half-full person, i am pretty comfortable in my mental state and feel pretty mentally healthy. By now, though, it’s just wearing me down. I haven’t taken a vacation (first world problems), havent been able to regroup. But every time i see one of bittergaymark’s posts i’m just like.. yep, I am so very thankful that i am not in that state of mind. Jeez.
      It sounds like you are processing things healthily Wendy, and i feel so bad for parents of school aged children, teachers, etc. My attorney, who’s husband owns his own business, is just stuck between a rock and a hard place and i feel so bad for her and all of you in that position. She has an 8 and a 5 year old, she works full time, her husband works full time. It’s been really rough.

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    ron August 25, 2020, 11:16 am

    A big problem is that this Covid epidemic, crashed economy, and drastically altered lives has lasted a lot longer than even we pessimists expected back in February. We had to deal with it in the dregs of winter, survived that, and then had spring and summer to ease the burden. Now we all see little end in sight and expect it to continue into a dreary winter. It is depressing, especially coupled with everything else that is wrong in the world. The CA wildfires have an apocalyptic feeling to them and the police shooting in Kokomo seems to be shouting that all that has happened hasn’t prompted any more awareness among the police and certainly no change in behavior. In our gut, we know how nasty this political campaign season is going to be. We are living in a nation permeated by meanness.

    A lot of people I spoke to over early summer looked to the new school year as a chance to return to a measure of normalcy. Now we know: no normalcy to be had there. Just another discouragement. And still no sign that the assholes among us are willing to wear masks and avoid large gatherings.

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    Vathena August 25, 2020, 11:41 am

    I am there with you, Wendy. We also start school in 2 weeks, and while our district will be all virtual, I have no idea yet what my second-grader’s schedule will look like. All I know is that they’ll be starting the school day at 8am, with attendance taken. Virtually. She has about as much patience for online “learning” as your kindergarten kiddo does, and my husband and I are both also working (and I’m working out of the home 1.5 days/week) so I don’t know how we’re going to manage. I’m trying not to panic yet. (I’ll also have a new employer as of next week- I’m a contractor and my current company lost the contract – so I’ll have the same job but zero available time off.) There are several other families on our block with elementary-age kids and we’ve formed a loose learning/recess pod. My daughter and one of the other girls have been playing together every day for the past week or so…we tried to keep them outside but inevitably they are now playing in each other’s houses, no masks or distancing. We do trust the other family that they have been taking precautions, and while I’m a bit on edge about this extra risk, mostly it’s been amazing for my kid to have a playmate and not be on the iPad all day. This is basically our only risk and I get tested at work every week, so I am making peace with it. We also had our house cleaners come back this month (they wear masks and we leaves the house, then wipe down doorknobs etc when we come home) and that’s been amazing. Trying to focus on one day at a time.

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      Dear Wendy August 25, 2020, 11:55 am

      It’s really hard, but I’m so glad your daughter has a playmate now! It makes a big difference. And, the housecleaners! I remember you recently saying you were still paying yours not to work so I’m happy to hear they’re come back now and an give you a little relief.

      One day at a time is right. It’s the only way we can take things anyway.

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        Vathena August 25, 2020, 12:14 pm

        Having the house be clean has always been so important to my mental well-being – I wish I could just not care about the mess, because I know it’s not an important thing, but being surrounded by chaos has always made me feel so crummy. If we have to be at home all the time, I at least want to feel like it’s a relatively pleasant environment. (I really hate the “mommy memes” or whatever that make judgments about housekeeping vs. caring for children. Not everyone with a messy house is making lovely sweet memories instead, and having a clean house doesn’t mean a parent is cold and unloving. And no man would ever think of this! rant over.) I really hope we don’t get covid from our neighbors, and I’m definitely nervous, but we just can’t stay completely isolated anymore. My MIL might be visiting in a few weeks too…

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        Dear Wendy August 25, 2020, 12:23 pm

        I am the same way about a clean house. Messes and clutter make me feel so out of sorts. A clean house makes me feel calm even if the world outside is a burning inferno.

        We had a vacation with friends two weeks ago in which we shared a house and didn’t practice social distance. It was a risk we were ready to take. It was the first time I hugged anyone else other than my husband and kids and only the second time the kids played indoors with other kids. The first time was with their cousins, whom they’re going to visit again this weekend. And I’m staying home and enjoying the house to myself! It will be the first time apart from my kids for more than three or so hours in 5 1/2 months. I don’t know who is most excited!

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    Fyodor August 25, 2020, 12:01 pm

    I’m not dealing with 1/10 of what some people are, but I honestly don’t know how I’m going to make it through another nine months or a year of this.

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      Dear Wendy August 25, 2020, 12:19 pm

      One day at a time. That’s how you’ll get through. And you *will* get through.

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      ele4phant August 25, 2020, 1:16 pm

      It won’t be like this in nine months.

      It may not be “normal” by then, and surely the virus will still be around (kinda seems like it will always be around).

      We’re learning more about the virus, how it spreads, what’s high risk and what’s less of a risk, we’re learning better ways to treat people, it also does seem that we do get some sort of immunity/improved ability to fight the infection if you get reinfected.

      Life likely won’t be “normal” anytime soon (and likely won’t ever be like it was before, which isn’t all bad of course), but life does have to go on, and to our credit, humans are adaptable. We’ll figure out, and are already figuring out, ways to make life tenable in our new reality.

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        Bittergaymark August 25, 2020, 2:00 pm

        In nine months it will be even worse. Hell, come Election Day it will all be irrevocably SO much worse…

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        Dear Wendy August 25, 2020, 2:25 pm

        I don’t know that it will be worse in nine months but I don’t think it’s a given that things will be better, especially if trump is still in office. And even if it gets better – which I hope it will – it’s going to get worse first. I don’t think people realize that part just yet.

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        Bittergaymark August 25, 2020, 2:27 pm

        Yes, WENDY. Everybody is in denial about that last part. Completely agree.

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        Dear Wendy August 25, 2020, 2:42 pm

        Ironically, this is something I’ve talked at length about with my therapist and she says of all her clients – and I know she has a lot – I’m one of only a few who seems aware that this is a likely reality. There’s a lot of magical thinking that things are on a linear train to bettersville and … I think there’s going to be a rude awakening come mid-October onward for a few months (at least in terms of the pandemic and the economy; I’m still very hopeful trump will get tossed but we’ll see).

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        ktfran August 25, 2020, 2:52 pm

        I’m with you, @Wendy. I’m not counting on things being better, or normal, anytime soon with the pandemic. I’m not all doom and gloom or anything (although I will be if Trump is reelected), but I think I’m realistic.

        I would actually be shocked if, in nine months, we weren’t doing the exact same thing we’re doing now with sheltering in place.

        The husband and I are in it for the long haul and making adjustments as necessary.

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        saneinca August 25, 2020, 3:31 pm

        I am optimistic that things are going to lookup when vaccines become available. Within the next 4-6 months.

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        Fyodor August 25, 2020, 6:44 pm

        I’m not trying to be doom and gloom , but I think that nine months is a conservative estimate.

        If every one of the early vaccines work AND every one of them meets their most aggressive production commitment we are looking having enough for about half the county by January. More likely there will be some that have safety or efficacy or production issues. Once we have enough vaccine, we need to actually start mass vaccinations, which is a huge undertaking. All of the early vaccines are two doses spread apart by three weeks and the protection doesn’t really kick in until a month after the second dose. If we actually have everyone mostly vaccinated by next summer I’ll consider that a pleasant surprise.

        We have learned more about how to treat the virus, but it’s mostly been things that moderately reduce mortality. The elderly are being very careful so it’s mostly hitting a younger cohort. Nothing has really happened medically that really substantially changes the risk or let you live your life more safely. The most promising therapeutics are delayed because we don’t have a government running public trials efficiently.

        In the meantime, summer will be over soon. People will no longer be able to socialize safely outdoors. Things are going to be rough for a while either in terms of increasing infections and/or increasing isolation.

        This is just the concrete and non-theoretical stuff. There’s the possibility of major social unrest, Trump doing new awful things, etc. I am not speculating on that, though I think it’s plausible. But we’re looking at a good nine or ten months until we can safely return to any kind of normalcy.

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        anonymousse August 25, 2020, 7:05 pm

        I don’t think anyone here is sounding clinically depressed or doom and gloom. There are so many reasons to be upset and fearful right now and pretending there are not, or pretending they will magically be better in a few short months is very unrealistic to me.

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    Moneypenny August 25, 2020, 12:41 pm

    I have to second Fyodor- I’m not dealing with half of what some of you out there are having to deal with! And I SO feel for you. I cannot imagine having to monitor/teach your child and home, and on top of doing whatever else you need to get done (working, etc). I just want things under control right now. And nothing seems under control!! It smells like smoke outside, and I’ve been sitting at this same desk since March and it seems like the country is going to hell in a handbasket. And there’s no end in sight either.
    I would gladly wear a mask everywhere if it meant that businesses could open up again completely, and restaurants can open up, and parks and playgrounds could be fully operational again. Most people around here comply with no issues, but there are still some bad apples. It just reminds me of when my entire class got detention back in high school because 2 or 3 people were being disruptive. We ALL get punished even when we’re doing our part. I guess all we can do is take it one day at a time.

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    ktfran August 25, 2020, 12:42 pm

    Per the usual, yesterday morning I listened to the recent CYG podcast while on my daily walk. With the release of their book, the focus this summer has been on friendship and the latest episode “Power of Community” was about how, as a society, friendships are often placed lowest on the hierarchy of things that are important. It was a good episode and after about 20 minutes, as they were wrapping up, Ann asked her interviewee how one can find freedom in friendship. This is what she said:

    “Friendship and freedom have the same root. Freedom, the way that I think Americans understand it, which is writ large right now by people refusing to wear masks is this very toxic, individualistic thing that leads us toward hoarding and building walls and security forces because we have to protect our stuff. But the original meaning of freedom is actually about how in a group, you’re part of a tribe, and collectively you are all enabling the well being of each other. You are making sure everyone has what they need. Is fed and clothed and sheltered and cared for when they’re sick and loved. Everybody contributes in the way that they can. Everyone is valued because they exist. I think, oh, of course. We can’t be free by ourselves. The most liberated self requires that we are in a relationship with other people that are supporting our liberation. We are in turn doing that with other people.”

    This really spoke to me. Especially now. With the current administration and with the pandemic. Your post Wendy, especially the last paragraph, made me think about the podcast again. I went back, listened and transcribed here because it felt apt. I wish more people considered the greater good, society at large, so that life didn’t feel so dark. It feels completely dark in this moment.

    This blog provides some refuge, so thank you.

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    becboo84 August 26, 2020, 7:29 am

    It is hard, so freaking hard right now, and with no realistic end in sight, it is only going to get harder. We started fully remote learning Monday, and I am hopeful they will be back at school by the 4th quarter, but who knows. The 12 year old/7th grader was fine in the spring, and I know she will sail through all of it now as well. She is bright, very tech savvy, and is able to engage with friends bike rides, via text, etc. So worried about our 2nd grader though who has always struggled with the academic part of school a bit more and never been an enthusiastic learner in the best of times. And the poor 2 year old just doesn’t understand why the big sibs are home and can’t just play with him. We are lucky that we were able to return to some small sense of normalcy with outdoor activities/sports in late April, but I know late fall and winter are going to be miserable 😩

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    brise August 26, 2020, 9:23 am

    Up tp 40% of NYC staff have the right to work remotely-only? Wow! That seems impossible to manage.
    Here (Europe), the schools have restarted and all teachers are back at school, or in quarantaine after a Covid contact but there is no preventive Covid-exemption anymore (or only a couple per school for very grave conditions).
    Half-classes for little children, no mask under 14. Older kids have full classes with masks.
    All teachers with masks. Their union asked for a lower mask-age to the kids, which was refused. They said they want to go back to school and teach because remote school (= no school for many kids) emphasises terrible social inequalities. So true.
    The conditions are supposedly safe like this – wether they are or not – and no parents / no teachers can opt out. Let’s see. So far, it works because everybody is fed up with remote work and wants to have IRL interactions.
    We have to accept that situation for now and go through it…

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      MaterialsGirl August 26, 2020, 9:42 am

      @brise, keep us posted on how it goes! Very interested in hearing how other countries are handling things.

      Work’s been slowly bringing more office staff in, but the majority of those that can, do work from home. our ‘issue’ is that many of our jobs really do require in person. Still no additional cases since our two in the spring and we’re all grateful for that.

      However, I cannot look into the winter months, especially with maternity leave and be very hopeful for my mental health/wellbeing. I told Radiostar that if faced with a restart of restrictions, i’ll have to take the kids and go to my parents or his parents or something. I just cannot do it again.

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      Dear Wendy August 26, 2020, 12:00 pm

      Yep, up to 40% of NYC teachers have received (or at least filed for) a medical waiver to teach remotely. They are scared. Many of them – maybe even most of them but I don’t know that for sure – lost colleagues to covid in the spring. Some of these deaths were from cases that could be traced back to the last week(s) the teachers were in school either teaching or getting training to do remote learning. Back then, of course, we weren’t wearing masks or practicing social distance and within weeks, the virus was ravaging our community. We lost 20k people in NYC. And now, the mayor is saying it’s say but very few schools have had anything done to prepare them for an influx of students and staff. The ventilation systems haven’t been updated, for example. I can’t blame teachers for being scared. I’m scared for them. I was scared for them back in mid-march before schools even closed (I emailed one of my kids’ teachers who was in a high-risk category and married to someone battling cancer) and urged her to please be careful.

      Anyway, NYC teachers are protesting now, carrying mock caskets and skeletons:
      https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/26/us/nyc-teachers-protest-covid/index.html

      But I’m sure everything will go smoothly for a easy and safe transition back to in-person school in two weeks…

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    Pheebers August 26, 2020, 12:06 pm

    I’m one of those super-fortunate people with no kids under 10. I’ve been okay, even halfway, quietly, superficially enjoying quarantine as much as possible because my just-graduated from college kids and my husband are home with my 11 year old and me now, so even though we’re crowded we’re together. But…I’m burned out and worried.

    We’re in MA, and my son is starting 6th grade mid-September, and we still don’t know what that looks like except that it will be remote until at least October. I’m terrified of the election, and have had to mute friends on social media. My daughter just told me she has a girlfriend (first time she’s ever dated, at age 22), which I’m thrilled about because she’s happy, but we’re afraid of what my husband’s homophobic parents will say to her when they find out. My husband has weird, awful pains in his feet that won’t go away and the doctors can’t figure out what they are. And you can’t even go into a supermarket without seeing people “forgetting” to pull the mask over their noses.

    Realized recently that I’m waking up multiple times each night and not getting back to sleep. Haven’t had a good night’s sleep in months. Life is scary.

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      Dear Wendy August 26, 2020, 1:19 pm

      The anti-mask thing has not really been an issue where I live – we have around a 95% mask compliance rate in my neighborhood – but this week I finally saw it play out in front of me. I was entering a grocery store behind a woman who wasn’t wearing a mask. A cashier tasked with guarding the entrance told her she had to wear a mask before entering. She said she didn’t have one and asked if the store had one for her. The (Latina) cashier didn’t answer right away, and the woman said, “DO YOU EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH?! I ASKED IF YOU HAVE A FUCKING MASK FOR ME SINCE I HAVE TO WEAR ONE!” The cashier shook her head and the woman called her a couple slurs and stomped off. It was really unsettling and infuriating to see.

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        Pheebers September 3, 2020, 10:52 am

        Almost everyone here complies, as it’s required in stores and outdoor public places where social distancing isn’t possible. The stores are fantastic about enforcement. However, a few people just have to push the envelope and that is absolutely infuriating. I feel as if there’s one in every store. They put the mask on to get in, and when they think no one is looking they pull it down. Then they’re rude when they’re reminded by employees. Makes me crazy.

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    Bittergaymark August 27, 2020, 8:30 am

    The main reason we should all be living in fear is that all these constant riots are going to hand this election to Trump.

    No, seriously. This constant chaos and fiery destruction makes the Left look very much like something to fear. NEWSFLASH: it isn’t playing well at all.

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      Bittergaymark August 27, 2020, 8:38 am

      Neither is the seemingly constant fucking looting. Honestly? I’d say — this election?

      Already lost.

      Way to go, America. Way to go.

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        Kate August 27, 2020, 8:47 am

        So, not the white supremacist militias killing people with long guns?

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        Dear Wendy August 27, 2020, 9:11 am

        Seriously. And not the looting of Black and brown bodies for centuries? Not the looting of America’s working class? Not the looting of any shred of social safety nets to catch the millions of people who fall through the cracks of community due to policies that prioritize the wealth of the top 1% over everything else?

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        Bittergaymark August 27, 2020, 9:16 am

        The Right is already spinning that killing as some scared and frightened kid as simply trying to protect law and order. “He was under attack!” “Blah, blah, blah.” “Lie, lie, lie.”

        Oh, it’s batshitfucking crazy — of course.

        But…. the base and dumb people everywhere — the latter of which CLEARLY makes up the majority of the nation — will lap up that shit up with a spoon.

        Just wait. Wait.

        It’s awfully easy for the Right to argue that America won’t be safe as the left keeps on rioting and looting as they repeatedly burn midwestern cities to the fucking ground.

        This is literally the best thing that could happen to Trump. To the Right. The Left is actually starting to look as fucked up and crazy as they’ve been saying we are. We are handing them this elected on a gold plated platter. 🤷‍♂️

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        Dear Wendy August 27, 2020, 9:19 am

        Mark, will all due respect you also said back in Early March that the reaction to the coronavirus was Hysterical, that guns kills tens of thousands of lives every year (implying that this pandemic couldn’t be anywhere near as bad; we’re on target to reach 300k deaths by December 1) and that to shut things down for a week or two was tone deaf. Sometimes your predictions, that you’re so righteously sure about, are wrong.

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        Kate August 27, 2020, 9:21 am

        You’re sounding a lot like a right-wing kook these days.

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        Bittergaymark August 27, 2020, 9:55 am

        I was in denial about the pandemic and frankly in a panic about facing financial ruin along with losing not one, not two, but three long awaited international trips. Oh, and a burning man event.

        I’d also never encountered a pandemic before.

        Since my initial stumbling, I’ve been pretty damn accurate. I called that opening early would be a disaster in California. (And everywhere else. ) It was. (Now… Admittedly this wasn’t exactly rocket science to be true.)

        I was also right about the losses of HRC, Kerry, and Gore. And even Dukakis. And I happily predicted Obama winning (twice.). Remember when the DNC picked candidates with youth and vigor and bold new ideas that they themselves thought of? Sure was nice.

        (I honestly can’t remember if I thought Bill would win. Strange. I simply don’t. )

        In conclusion — Since the Right has decides its going to bank on winning by whipping up fear — the Left had best stop serving it up daily with rioting, looting, and destruction.

        At least that’s my opinion.

        🤷‍♂️

        Hopefully, I am wrong. God, lets hope so.

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        Kate August 27, 2020, 10:18 am

        “ Since the Right has decides its going to bank on winning by whipping up fear — the Left had best stop serving it up daily with rioting, looting, and destruction.”

        This really really sounds like racist apologist rhetoric, whether you mean it that way or not.

        The right has ALWAYS used that racist fear mongering, white fright bullshit, regardless of what’s actually going on. And will continue to do so, regardless. It doesn’t matter what is actually going on in the streets or not. So when you say that people who care about Black lives should stop demonstrating their justified anger because it will upset white voters, you sound like an old conservative racist.

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        Kate August 27, 2020, 10:19 am

        You truly sound like you’re quoting the National Review.

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        Bittergaymark August 27, 2020, 10:34 am

        I simply wouldn’t know. As I never have read the National Review.

        But CNN ran an op-ed that mirrored my concerns. Although they were far more focused on how the RNC’s utter lies about how great a party they are for women just might actually work. I’ll post a link.

        Oh, and I don’t think many right wing kooks would advise the Left to stop playing into the hand of the Right. Frankly, I find that assertion of yours more baffling than offensive, Kate.

        Demonstrations are a good thing. I’m all for them. But riots and looting are not demonstrations. And that’s what I am talking about here. Hell, my shoe repair place in LA was burnt to the ground earlier this spring. It’s not a good look. It’s going to cost us this election if they don’t stop.

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        Bittergaymark August 27, 2020, 10:39 am

        https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/08/26/opinions/republican-fake-feminism-might-work-filipovic/index.html

        This piece freaked me out. As it made me realize I wasn’t alone in my concerns…

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        Kate August 27, 2020, 10:41 am

        CNN runs a lot of opinion pieces / analysis from conservative pundits. They’re left-center leaning but try to be somewhat balanced.

        The right would make exactly the arguments you’re making here. They would say these people are burning cities to the ground and they should stop it and just be chill and are hurting themselves.

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        Kate August 27, 2020, 10:43 am

        I don’t see the connection with the Jill Filopivic piece to the argument you’re making.

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        Bittergaymark August 27, 2020, 11:31 am

        CNN may run think pieces from Conservative Voices. But Jill is… uh, so not that. ** Unless I am mistaken and lots of Conservative Voices have also won the 2015 Planned Parenthood Federation of America Maggie Award for Media Excellence for best TV and online reporting.

        The reason I brought up this piece Is that ties in with my larger fear —- that the Republicans have simply outplayed Us as far as Conventions. I worry that their LIES will go down better than our TRUTHS.

        But back to my original point — Having looting and riots becoming so commonplace an occurrence isn’t going to win us many votes. At least I fail to see how it will. I can tell you one thing for sure though — its not playing well in the midwest.

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        Kate August 27, 2020, 11:39 am

        Yeah, Jill Filopovic is a feminist. I still don’t see the connection. Saying the Trumpers might have effective strategies – that’s true, but it’s a totally different argument than, people who are angry and devastated about yet another blatant police murder of a Black person should stay peaceful no matter what, no matter who joins them and takes things to a violent level, no matter what the police do FIRST to escalate things with tear gas and rubber bullets, because it’s going to upset swing voters… that’s complete different. Again, these right-wing white supremacists will ALWAYS say Blacks are burning cities to the ground and it’s not safe for whites, whether or not that’s actually even happening. Your argument also ignores the fact that almost all protesters ARE peaceful. It’s a few problematic people who show up and cause mayhem, and often it’s the police causing mayhem by using chemical weapons, rubber bullets, battering rams, cars, etc on peaceful protesters. It’s very out of touch with reality.

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        Fyodor August 27, 2020, 12:10 pm

        It’s not clear to me who these arguments are even supposed to be directed to. The vast majority of protesters are peaceful and don’t support the rioting or looting. It’s not clear to me that the people rioting or looting are doing it as some kind of sincere expression of ideological outrage. There’s no rioter central command that’s responsive to electability arguments. I don’t know who the audience of these “don’t riot, it will help Trump win” arguments is supposed to be.

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        ktfran August 27, 2020, 12:18 pm

        I echo what Fyodor is saying.

        As a Chicagoan who lives two miles west of the Mag Mile (and an almost life-long midwesterner), I can tell you that the extreme looting that took place a few weeks ago is completely separate from the mostly peaceful protests happening here. And those who don’t know the difference were never going to vote Dem in the election anyway.

        Gang activity has picked up here. It sucks. It’s unfortunate. It’s not the same as the protests.

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        MaterialsGirl August 27, 2020, 12:33 pm

        I hear the concern, BGM. While I don’t think it’s going to turn liberal or moderate voters to Trump, it may just bring out MORE already ardent Trump supports. And that’s what we cant let happen. Our votes/voices are important and we need to get out there. Here’s a piece from the Chicago Tribune about the exodus downtown is experiencing and the suburban boom.. and i THINK what you’re referencing with the uneasiness felt in the midwest
        https://www.chicagotribune.com/real-estate/ct-re-moving-looting-riots-protests-0826-20200826-ps432obfcbg3jhcinoyn4izbwq-story.html

        It certainly highlights items like privilege. People who were wealthy enough to be “above” general crime are getting a taste of what it’s like to live in neighborhoods where you worry about family members getting shot leaving the house. It’s not right ANYWHERE, but it seems to be more accepted when it’s not your backyard. The hope would be that people would fight it everywhere.. but if you have the means..typically you’re going to protect your life and property by leaving (and taking your tax dollars with you).

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        Kate August 27, 2020, 12:34 pm

        Right, directing this argument toward “democrats” or “liberals” makes it sound like you equate protestors with looters and arsonists, which is part of what’s making you sound right-wing kooky. Almost no one who is protesting is damaging any property, and the protests are one thousand percent legitimate. But by focusing on the looting or whatever you think is going on with property damage (“burning cities to the ground” sounds kind of hysterical), it sounds like you’re saying these protesters are ruining everything and they should stop protesting. Like they don’t have a completely valid reason to do so and most of them aren’t hurting anything. “They should stop because conservatives will spin it” is really weak. Right-wingers will always make up lies out of nothing, regardless. You saw that at the convention.

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        ktfran August 27, 2020, 12:48 pm

        I think the title of that article is misleading. If you read it, they do address the pandemic and how people are moving because they want more space. I’m curious and will have to do some digging to see if Chicago is seeing more of an exodus than other major urban areas. I think we’ll find similar numbers.

        People here are also mad because Lightfoot posed stricter restrictions than a lot of other places. I applaud her for it. Other people hate her for it.

        So I don’t think it’s fair to say that looting is the only reason for this “exodus”. Although is that even fully supported? Maybe downtown in the loop, but houses in neighborhoods are having no problem selling.

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        MaterialsGirl August 27, 2020, 12:52 pm

        @ktfran, but that was part of what the article said (and what we’ve seen in our own home purchasing journey).. river north, streeterville, downtown adn to an extent, south loop are not turning as fast as neighborhoods with more space or away from the downtown area. more space for sure or outdoor space access is driving a lot, but at least from living in one of these more affected neighborhood, the majority of my neighbors etc are talking about being fearful for their safety.

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        Copa August 27, 2020, 1:32 pm

        I thought this was interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=31&v=mp_Uuz9k7Os&feature=emb_title

        Allan Lichtman is a professor who has accurately predicted every election for the past 30+ years. He studied every presidential election for like 100 years and came up with 13 key elements to predict who will win. One of these keys is social unrest, which he explains should help Biden, NOT Trump.

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        Dear Wendy August 27, 2020, 2:09 pm

        I read that too in the past week or two and it made me feel a little better.

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    LisforLeslie August 27, 2020, 8:32 am

    I am extremely fortunate. I know this. My job is totally secure. I know a few people who have gotten ill, one severely. I’m being asked to step in and handle his work until he recovers. That’s it. I’ve stayed in Florida the last couple of months only because I haven’t had the time to deal with travel and dealing with an apartment that has been vacant for this long.

    At this point, I’m staying only to try to keep my mom company and hopefully keep her grounded because I can hear her trying to rationalize getting back to normal – even though there is no normal right now. I just tell her “don’t bring the ‘rona home to me.” and that is just enough guilt to keep her a bit more cautious.

    I’ve sent in my request for an absentee ballot. If it doesn’t come by end of September, I will be on a plane to NY so that I have enough time to quarantine after which I will mask up and get my butt over to my polling place and hopefully get the Tangerine Idi Amin out on his fucking ass.

    And that is what keeps me up at night. I see these social media posts, I have been painfully watching the RNC convention and it is just lie after lie after lie and these truly delusional people. I agreed to watch only if we could watch from MSNBC because they jump in and fact check and the camera cuts to Rachel Maddow who has the “WTF did they just claim that shit?” and it’s the only thing that keeps me from throwing things at the tv.

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      Bittergaymark August 27, 2020, 10:07 am

      Without Rachel Maddow’s relentless and — 100% accurate — fact checking, the vast spew of lies that the RNC is peddling night after will be all too easy for many to believe.

      I wish more people watched Rachel Maddow. But they don’t. And that’s very worrisome to me. Right now it keeps me up at night.

      I’ve been watching the convention twice. Once LIVE with no commentary. And then later with Maddow. It’s horrifying how great it all sounds as a stream of lies uninterrupted. For people that don’t know… yikes. Just yikes!

      It’s going to be highly effective, I fear.

      Hopefully, I am wrong. And the masses are smarter than I think.

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    LisforLeslie August 27, 2020, 8:36 am

    My other fear is the vaccine. As someone who has worked in pharma for 20+ years – the whole purpose of clinical trials is to prove that a drug is safe and effective. The trial population is small compared to the size of the overall population of the country. Issues will be found after the drug is released because the number of people taking the drug is larger and a doctor can prescribe it to any patient for any reason. You may have health conditions that make it less effective, or it could react to other things your taking or because it was tested on men 30 – 65 and you’re a 70 year old woman. That’s why comprehensive. long, expensive trials are the norm now.

    Rushing the trial means less data and less evidence of safety and efficacy. If something is approved before the election – I would not allow anyone I know to get it. I would not recommend it. I want long term real world evidence of this recombinant RNA method that Moderna is testing. I want to know the long term impacts and side effects.

    I believe in vaccines. I get a flu shot every year. I will be getting a flu shot this year. I am not going to be first in line for any of these covid vaccines, even from companies I trust unless I feel they have done the work to ensure they are safe and effective (and even then, they’re saying 50% effective which is terrible for a vaccine – established vaccines are closer to 85% effective I think). A trial that is 3 months long does not give me any comfort.

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    Sara August 28, 2020, 9:31 am

    Two points:

    1. I live in fear about 45 being re-elected. Each time I have a panic attack I sign up for a get out to vote initiative. If I can do something that will convince at minimum 1 person to vote dem I will be happy. For those of you who are interested in joining in the effort these are the ones I have signed up for:
    -mom rising
    -vote forward
    -specific candidate post card drives. I use the votedem subreddit for these targeted efforts
    -texting drives (very easy and you are not using your personal number)

    2. I read votedem on reddit everyday. https://www.reddit.com/r/VoteDEM/ It gives me hope that there are people doing everything they can to help Biden and encouraging to vote blue down the ballot. Highly suggest visiting. And here is another article which gives me hope and motivates me to keep doing what I can:
    https://www.teenvogue.com/story/how-talk-to-parents-politics-trump

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    Kate B. August 28, 2020, 2:40 pm

    I have signed up to be a Vote Center Representative (fka a Poll Worker) on Election Day. First, I had to make sure they are taking appropriate Covid precautions. They are providing us with face shields, hand sanitizer and putting us behind plexiglass barriers. I will also have a mask. I feel comfortable with these procedures, so it’s a go.

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      Sara August 28, 2020, 4:40 pm

      Kate – that is something I also have on my list to do. With the shortage of election workers, poll places will be closed. The last thing we need is another barrier for people to vote!

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