Sixteen years to the day after Katrina made land over Louisiana, Ida followed suit. In the past week the storm took all the warm gulf water it collected in the few short days it took to become a Category 4 hurricane and deluged the entire eastern half of the US. This morning much of the Northeast is inundated with mind-boggling amounts of water. I saw initial reports that Central Park saw 3.15” of rain in an hour last night, destroying the previous record of about 2” – a record that was set 10 days ago.
Last night, as these torrential downpours flooded infrastructure of some of the largest cities in America, the Supreme Court released a 5-4 unsigned order refusing to stay a horrific new law in Texas that bans abortion by allowing any person to sue any other person for aiding and abetting any abortion that takes place after 6 weeks, which is a period of time in which most people might not even know they are pregnant. So here we have the highest court of the land destroying the rights of all people in the country capable of getting pregnant, without a trial and without putting their names to their votes.
And while the Eastern half of the country is seeing multiple months worth of rainfall in a period of hours, the Western half of the country is under a severe drought after the snows did not come this past winter. This creates horrific feedback loops where dry ground is more likely to catch fire—which it has—but there is no water even in resevoirs to help put out the fires. The entire country has been dealing with smoke from these wildfires for over a month, and the fires will probably not be extinguished soon.
Lest we focus only on weather and environmental calamities, the Covid-19 pandemic has flared up into the worst wave yet; despite half the country being vaccinated. Schools are reopening, masks are rare, there is no talk of lockdown or economic help (in fact the same court that just destroyed the right to abortion also decided to legislate from the bench and lift the federal eviction moratorium). Hospitals are at capacity, the risk maps are terrifying, and still Republicans whine about their liberties and persecution, even as their friends, family, and communities get sick and die.
These are just the top headlines, if we can somehow bear to keep reading the news after we’ve waded through this, we’ll find that a massive climate bill is being held up in Congress because of 9 people who are ostensibly on the same side as the President, the US just pulled out of Afghanistan and left it in shambles that we’ll probably refuse to acknowledge, Republican-captured states are doing everything they can to destroy democracy, and a dozen other crises continue to unfold.
I have to finish this post because I need to go to work, because despite everything mentioned above, work goes on, because rent is still due, because bills are still due, because profits need to be made.
But this morning I needed to sit here and spill it all out onto this digital page. Today, September 2, 2021, is a terrible day in the US. Everything sucks. Everyone with power wants to keep the power but is terrified to wield it, and so we wake up every morning with new horrors to process, new fears to add to the list, new furies to fuel our helpless rage.
I believe there are so many other futures than the ones the US is barrelling towards. But every morning I wake up and I find that they seem further out of reach.