By Andrew R. Duckworth
Traffic signals turning for no one, Vacant streets hold the sound of wind. Trucks drive by on the interstate. No events downtown for a soul to attend. Shops boarded up in the city, Their signs forever turned to "closed." No more neon lights glow bright, Tenants counting the debt they owe. But life fills the sidewalks again, Masked residents standing six feet apart. They don't stay out for long, Only long enough to pay for what's in their cart. And then it's back home for the anxious, A city that has learned to smile with its eyes, Where they can watch the news on the television, Unsure of what points are true and what are lies.
Sounds much like our present situation. However, if you’re like me, you’ve pondered whether there will ever be a time where we feel confident in going out into the general public once more. You’ve asked yourself how many shops will close for good. As frightening as those questions can be, you’ve also asked yourself who you can trust. I’m not talking about family or friends. I’m referring to figure heads and media outlets. The fact that we use adjectives such as “right wing” or “left wing” to describe media outlets is reprehensible. There was once a time when the media would simply report the news. They wouldn’t comment on it, it would simply be reported for people to hear and interpret as they saw fit. Nowadays, you can’t turn to a major news channel without getting some sort of slant in some direction. Unbiased media is dead, unfortunately. A news network with any agenda other than simply reporting the news cannot ethically consider themselves a source of good journalism. This has, of course, led to a major distrust of major news networks. It is why I get all of my news on what is happening in the United States from outside of the country. I cannot trust any of America’s major news outlets. This distrust has led to some very serious consequences. You can blame who you wish for the distrust in media. I’m sure some would love to point solely to Donald Trump and others would love to point solely to Barrack Obama. But the truth is that this scandalous behavior by media outlets of applying a certain narrative to the news has been happening for quite some time. Fast forward to today. One still cannot be absolutely certain that what is being reported is accurate information. If you’re good at spotting spin, there are certain words to look for in the texts that may send up red flags. The sad part about that is that everyone loves the “news” that agrees with them. A conservative viewer or reader will ignore all of the clever conservative wording from a conservative outlet and a liberal viewer or reader will ignore all of the clever liberal wording from a liberal outlet. So, in some way, I suppose you can say that we have all become a bit narcissistic in a way. We are all right and can’t be wrong about our own notions. If you think you’re immune, step back in front of a mirror. I know that I am certainly guilty from time to time and have no problem admitting that it is a really hard thing to overcome, particularly when I am just SO sure about something. But the truth hurts. Often, we tend to be wrong. How we deal with that is crucial. We can come to realize the truth, no matter how much that may pain us, or we can continue to flaunt our own ignorance. This poem begins with the world looking much the same way it did a number of weeks ago, when photographs were released of places like New York City’s Times Square being completely abandoned, not a single soul to be found in frame. Of course, it ends with that question, the question of whether one can trust what is being fed to them. It is my hope that, no matter how you view the current situation, you at least practice good safety measures. There is a difference in being incorrect and being outlandishly dumb. I would much rather go about my day in a mask and find out later I was never in danger than go about as if there is nothing to fear and come down with this deadly virus and potentially spread it to others. Practice common sense, stay safe, and pray for a better tomorrow.
This writing is the work of its author, Andrew Ryan Duckworth, and can in no way be reproduced, copied, or distributed in any form without request from the author.