So a woman named Emily Oster wrote an article entitled "Let's Declare a (P)andemic Amnesty" for The Atlantic.
In the article she suggests (among other things that I'm not going to touch in this missive) that we all just let bygones be bygones because folks were doing the best they could with relatively little information in a highly stressed and charged time.
So I'll start with just the basics of the "amnesty" proposal, that people were doing the best they could with limited information, and leave the rest for now. There is a thread of truth in the idea of concerned ignorance, and there is also a staggering bypass in it.
There were two main narratives that arose early on in the co(v)id experience: the mainstream CDC story of the plague, and the alternative narrative which held that the mainstream narrative was not only faulty, but staggeringly and dangerously so.
I rejected the mainstream narrative almost immediately because there were holes in it big enough for a herd of elephants to dance through without touching the edges.
I was outspoken about it from the moment that I learned what a PCR test actually does, which is test for the presence of molecules or compounds related to a disease, and at high enough cycles it will, in the words of the person who created it "Find anything in anyone, because we've all got molecules of everything in us. It's not diagnostic. It doesn't say whether there's an active illness or not." (Kary Mullis)
High positives resulting in misuse of the only accepted test resulting in high case and death counts resulting in draconian social control measures resulting in the suicide rates of under ten-year-old kids going to the moon, and the crippling of society on every level except for the billionaire class, who enjoyed (are enjoying) the greatest upward transfer of wealth ever seen.
I and thousands of others were speaking out about it from the get-go, including doctors and scientists of all kinds from all over the world who were howling from the rooftops about all that was wrong with how the situation was being handled (NOT that there was an illness that was affecting people) and being black-boxed, censored, silenced, ridiculed, stripped of their licenses in many cases, and frequently worse in response to that speaking out.
Lots of people knew then that masks were useless, social distancing was useless, closing schools and public spaces was ridiculous, the the 'vid was preventable, treatable, and curable, that treatment and cure was being suppressed and outlawed, all the things. We spoke up about it. We wrote, did videos, had rallies, passed out flyers, held meetings, had salons, hosted forums, all the things.
We shared information from every conceivable source we could find - told to follow the science, if we shared about what doctors and scientists were saying, we were told that THOSE weren't the doctors and scientists whose perspectives mattered. We looked for other sources and were rebuffed again.
I scaled back to introducing the noticeable array of questionable aspects of the dominant narrative with an invitation to think about it, explore it, consider that maybe something isn't on the level here.
I was called dangerous, delusional, murderous, a menace to society that should be exterminated as a person who won't take the shot.
Someone actually told me if they could put me and anyone else who wouldn't take the shot or stop being with other people on a train to a gas oven, they would do it to protect society from my madness.
That was sobering.
Someone threatened my life because I didn't want to have experimental toxins injected into my body over something that was, by the time the v rolled out, demonstrably preventable, treatable, and curable.
That's not a bygone to let be bygone for me.
And the hurt went in all directions: I'm definitely not saying that everyone who questioned the dominant narrative did it well. We didn't. Plenty of people were awful about it, plenty of people were superior about it, plenty of people put forth their opinions as if they were facts. Plenty of people so scrambled facts and opinions that it poisoned the whole field of inquiry.
It was a dumpster fire in every direction.
Worst of all, the "leaders" who directed the course for us all through that time hurt us real bad with their horrible (for us) handling of the situation. For them, absolutely no amnesty.
I want accountability.
But around to the tricky ground of "amnesty" for the every day us who were all bearing the brunt of this chaos on the ground in real time: the thread of truth in Osters perspective is that there WERE millions of well-meaning people who were doing the best they could in frightening and unclear circumstances, because their care for life and their fear of death were both being ruthlessly leveraged by the government, random oligarchs who self-appointed as global health czars, and the media.
But the bypass is here: knowledge that countered the mainstream narrative was widely available within weeks of the pandemic going into the red. And those same people screamed it underground with increasing ferocity almost before the thoughts presenting the info were fully formed.
Knowledge from doctors in hospitals decrying the ventilator treatment for exploding people's lungs.
Knowledge from doctors in clinics having unanimous success with i(v)ermectin protocols who were discredited on the grounds of their personal religious views and then outright forbidden to use it.
From virologists who were howling that there hadn't been an isolation experiment to actually find the molecule of the thing, so what the fuck were we treating and making a V for anyway? From OSHA personal who talked about how masks were used to inhibit the spread of disease in susceptible environments and how there was no way in hell that cloth masks donned by the public were worth a damn in the free-for-all that is society. And more and more and more.....
And all of it was brutally censored, ridiculed, silenced, and ignored by the same people who are now asking for bygones to be bygones.
When you don't know where the ground is, it's hard to know where to stand. But to continue on down the path of those choices once the ground comes into view is something else. To attack, ridicule, exile, reject, or threaten anyone or anything that says "Hey, there's the ground, have you noticed it's not like they say it is?" is not innocent ignorance, it's something else. Not malice, and not idiocy, but something I don't have a word for. And it's a something that makes a big difference.
To come in now and say "yeah, that was messed up, but hey, we didn't know, so let's move on" is akin to an assailant coming back from a rage and saying "yeah, that wasn't nice. Sorry. Here's some chocolate. What's for dinner?"
Not "moving on." There's some serious work to be done here.
I don't think we can stand up, brush ourselves off, and sally forth like that was nothing but an unfortunate detour when the contours of our personal, interpersonal, daily, and collective life have been so ravaged. Nor do I believe that that would be a healthy and generative way forward.
There's a profound reconciliation needed. Healing of the deepest kind. The soul kind. And a reclamation of our power from the profiteers who have now exponentiated the wealth and power gap to their benefit through this incredible social exercise, while progressing the agenda of consolidation of power and control in their favor by leaps and bounds.
Coming back to each other, faces uncovered and bruised hearts ready to step forward, root down in love, and say, in all directions, "That was a fucking ride. Where are we now? This is what I've learned. What's alive for you? Come: let's tend the tears in this tapestry together and see what beautiful thing is ready for birth now. Let's gather ourselves and claim our power back from fear."
Amnesty isn't the thing. Forgive and forget isn't the way. It's also not possible. Forgiveness, yes, always: but forget? No. No more than you forget rape or assault. Something much deeper is needed here. Something much more important, much more powerful, and much more beautiful.
We are living now inside of an opportunity to be authentic in a way that will transform us down the marrow of our being: to look each other in the uncovered eye and step close to each others bruised hearts in empowered humility and begin to discern the path of power into the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible (Charles Eisenstein).
To honor where we have misstepped and hold where we stand strong even though we disagree.
This is how healthy relationships deepen, broaden their root systems, and grow stronger through the adversity that living frequently brings into to our days. It is how healthy, sovereign people do the same.
I think a process of reflection and reconciliation would be far more nourishing, beneficial, and profound than an empty amnesty which would let us "get back to normal" without any of the messy work of integrating the magnitude of all that we've seen and experienced in the past few years.
What do you think?
Who is one person you could reach out to and invite into a healing conversation in this moment?
What humility of apology do you need to offer, and what confidence of stance can you ground into with grace and kindness?
What do you see as a greater path of power through the wake of this utterly transformative experience than the "moving on" approach?
All the love and all the blessings as we find our way back to the hearth after this long wander through the deep cold of this experience.