We are not OK. This is not normal. We all must acknowledge we are in a crisis, that we are in danger and that things are very serious. Things are not right. This is not how we are supposed to be living our lives. We are meant to hug one another. We shouldn’t be kept away from our family, from our friends, from our loved ones.

People are dying. Young people are dying. Babies are dying. It is not just the elderly who are passing away. This pandemic is not just confined to nursing homes. Funerals should not be restricted to a guest list.

We should be able to celebrate our birthdays, to get married, to graduate from school — to even go to school.

Zoom calls are annoying. We have the right to go to work, to make money. We should be able to follow our dreams. Being forced to be unemployed is not fair. Having to close your business due to the incompetence and failed leadership of others is criminal. Being forced to spend your life savings to cover your rent and to put food on your table is the equivalent of the government stealing from you.

Going to the park with a blanket with friends should not have to be done six feet apart. Going to see a band or a DJ and to dance in a communal space should be good for you, not a potential death sentence. Virtual dance parties suck. Going to a museum or the theater and experiencing the arts is meant to heal, not to be a risk to your health.

Our borders are not supposed to be closed. We should not feel trapped in the city in which we live. We should be able to visit other states in our own country without feeling like an immigrant. Never leaving our homes is unhealthy. Being scared to perform basic tasks like going to the grocery store, getting a haircut, or going to the gym is increasing the number of people suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder.

Thoughts of impending doom, depression, loss of hope and even suicide are on the rise. No matter how much we joke about it, having cocktails at 3pm to curb the pain, to deal with the boredom and to justify the insanity of it all is not a laughing matter. Taking a sleeping pill or Xanax to turn off your mind or get a good night’s sleep is a habit many of us are forming. Self-medication is becoming more normal than ever and accidental overdoses are on the rise.

Science is real. The CDC is an organization we trust and rely on for epidemiological information. The White House should not be taking over for it. We listen to doctors over politicians and normally would be joining forces with the world by using global resources to fight a pandemic. Testing is essential. Tracking the virus is necessary. The number of infections increasing has nothing to do with testing and everything to do with failed leadership locally, nationally and statewide.

Wearing a mask is awful. It is uncomfortable. It is not normal. It is scary. It is inconvenient. It is not how we all want to live our daily lives, but it is necessary. It is the only proven strategy to help stop the madness and is equivalent to loving your neighbor.

The number of lies we are being told on a daily basis is unprecedented. All of this could have been over by now. The gaslighting we are constantly going up against is beginning to affect us all. We are a nation in an abusive relationship. It did not have to be this way. This is not a “Democratic hoax.” It is not going to just magically disappear. The world did not unite to create one big conspiracy to get one insecure, uneducated, narcissistic leader out of office. We should be able to look to our government for facts, to unify us, to keep us safe. The government works for us.

It didn’t have to be this hard. Don’t accept this new reality. This is NOT the new normal.

As a nation we have hit rock bottom. America is sick. We have an aggressive microorganism at the very top making all of us more ill than COVID-19 ever could. The only cure is to vote it out November 3. It is the only way we all will survive.

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