We all think about when things are going to go back to normal, and I think most of us have accepted the fact that *normal* isn’t going to look anything like 2019. At first I thought maybe the world would just be more hygienic, masks would be a regular wardrobe accessory, and we’d all be subjected to less awkward hugging. Obviously that’s small potatoes to the shifts that we’ve seen in the past couple months, but those shifts aren’t new concepts, even if they might be new to you.
Healthcare reformers have been arguing for decades to stop connecting our health insurance with our employment status, freelancers have wanted the safety net of unemployment insurance, cops keep getting acquitted, no one wants to live in a shoebox for $1k/month… we have been doing these things incorrectly!
It feels like our country slowly descended into a collective mental space of “are you fucking kidding me?” and instead of having to go to work the next day and start the whole soul-sucking process over again, a ton of people finally put their foot down.
Not only should we not be thrown into even further precarity because the government would rather pay for fighter jets than healthcare, but you know what? Police have to finally stop killing Black people. It should not have taken pandemic and mass unemployment to reach this moment of “enough!”, but here we are.
No one thinks we’re going back to exactly the way things were during The Before, and a lot more people are taking it upon themselves to demand what The After looks like.
Part of why I like using the term queer to describe myself is because it’s kind of the Choose Your Own Adventure of the Rules department, where the terms of your life can look like whatever you want. Gender expression, family structure, the spectrum of relationships, living arrangements… no rules! So when people start realizing that things don’t have to be a certain way, that maybe they shouldn’t have to go bankrupt to pay medical bills, that maybe police shouldn’t be able to kill people without consequence, I feel this excitement of WELCOME TO THE PARTY! You can shape your own world! None of this should be tolerable! The future is unwritten!
I don’t think I had all the answers before, and certainly think I have more learning to do, but it’s definitely a new concept for a lot of people that the status quo can actually change. It’s an exciting moment and I hope people don’t lose those expectations for something better.
While I’m thinking about new possibilities, here’s my little abbreviated bucket list for what happens next and some links:
- If the U.S. is going to keep celebrating the 4th of July as our Independence Day, we also then have an equally important day of remembrance and reflection towards racial justice, more actively observing Juneteenth (tomorrow!) nationally and in schools. Find a Juneteenth action near you.
- Police are no longer dispatched to non-violent incidents and their departments are defunded to reflect that. We invest in care, not cops. Learn more about these ideas via #8toAbolition
- The U.S. finally has single-payer healthcare so no one needs a GoFundMe to receive medical care ever again. Read about the Medicare For All Act of 2019.
- Tr*mp takes a long walk off a short pier (my favorite clean insult).
- The federal minimum wage is $15 or more.
- And just for fun, all musicians and artists are paid fairly for everything they do, have the ability to collectively bargain with promoters and merch cuts no longer exist.
Ok, now what else?