The Divided States

While visiting my mother’s grave yesterday, my COVID-19 result came in. My test is negative. I am looking forward to going home to my wife and kids. I have been away for way too long. I still have one more week off from work. I am going to spend time with my sons to give my wife a break. She has been carrying all of the burdens.

I am mentally exhausted. I have never experienced such divisiveness in my lifetime. You’re either on one side or the other. There’s no middle ground anymore. On the issue of COVID-19, people either take extreme precautions or disregard mask wearing and social distancing. When I voiced my frustrations on the former, I had been called “Ate the porridge then pissed into the bowl.” It was even more upsetting to hear the latter violates people’s freedom despite knowing how my mother had died. If people followed these two simple guidelines, my mother wouldn’t have ended where she is today. If we do our part, the COVID-19 cases and death rates in the U.S. would not be as high. When people choose their freedom over their responsibility, they not only put themselves at risk but also put others in danger, especially older people. Yes, you have the freedom to get yourself infected, but you do not have the right to spread it to others.

Again, I am not blaming or attacking anyone in particular. I just really am fed up with the division. When I saw these two extremely opposite positions in politics, even within the Vietnamese-American community, I decided I wanted out. I haven’t spoken about politics after Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election. I had lost too many friendships and relationships over my political stands. I had never followed any political leaders to the point of worshipping the ground they spit on. I had always been interested in their policies, not their politics, and definitely not their rhetorics. When I witness people, especially Vietnamese-Americans, turning into a cult, I don’t see a point of return. Even to this day, I am living in two clearly divided States. We’re no longer the United States. I don’t see that changing any time in the near future. My hope for unity had lost. I have faith In democracy, but not in a cult of personality.

It is now becoming even more dangerous that the divisiveness has spilled out of politics and into something else, like COVID-19. Until we have vaccinated, please don’t let your guards down. Each person continues to die from COVID-19 every hour in the U.S. I do not want anyone to go through what I had been through. Take every necessary precaution, but don’t become paranoid. If you think wearing a mask and practicing social distance infringe upon your freedom, I urge you to rethink your position. Don’t be a menace to society. I wish you well and not get infected.

I genuinely hope that we can come to a middle ground. If not, I hope that we can still respect each other. I have lots of soul-searching and relationship-mending to do. When dealing with my mother’s critical condition and after losing her, I am deeply grateful to family members and dear friends who had stepped up with their unconditional support. I don’t know if I can ever repay them, but I am definitely not the type that “ate the porridge then pissed into the bowl.” That is not in my character. It hurts coming from the ones you loved, but I do not have any control over what anyone, no matter how close, thinks of me. I appreciate hearing from the people who I have never met but who have read my blog. Their words and encouragement meant a whole lot to me. At the same time, I don’t have any hard feelings toward family members or close friends who chose to remain silent. It is probably better that way. Some relationships never meant to be repaired once they are broken. I can live with that.