Steven Walden
2 min readNov 20, 2020


From the Washington Post: “We only have about 70,000 people in St. Francois County [MO], but we’ve had more than 900 new cases in the last few weeks. Our positivity rate is 25 percent and rising. The hospital is already at capacity. They’ve basically run out of staff. We can’t keep up. It’s an uncontrolled spread.”

Over 1700 people died from COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Seventeen. Hundred.

I don’t understand why more people aren’t social distancing. I don’t understand why more people aren’t wearing masks. I don’t understand why so many people say the disease or the upcoming vaccines are all a part of a conspiracy. I don’t understand why people think that having big family gatherings over the holidays are testaments to being “fearless.“

Then again, maybe I do. Maybe that’s part of the American way. Americans have long touted our bravery, our independence, our willfulness, our strength. But we don’t talk about our intolerance for our own discomfort. Especially when it’s emotional discomfort. Otherwise, why would we have so many industries built on numbing ourselves?

We don’t like looking at our own ugliness.

Now that part I understand. I don’t like looking at mine, either.

But I guess I naïvely hoped that with this being a life-and-death issue, and we would tap into to the red white and blueness of it all, that we could somehow wash hands and stop touching our faces in some type of a socially distanced séance that would resurrect. the spirit of Abraham Lincoln to somehow save us all.

As of today, more Americans have died from COVID than in the Vietnam War.

Three and a half times as many Americans, in fact.

I hope that sentence startles you as much as it did me.

The numbness that we have adapted into our lives is the numbness to the rising death count. The ho-hum indifference to it all — and if not apathy, its bulletproof justifications of such behaviors. At least, that’s what I presume when I see so many people — and people who I love and care for deeply — doing their own thing, ignoring behaviors that will keep them safe and keep others safe.

When he was first inaugurated, Lincoln said these words to a deeply divided country:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Our response to the pandemic has shown me that we have not called on the better angels of our nature.

But we have certainly done our part in making new angels.

On Tuesday, we made over 1700.


November 20, 2020




Steven Walden

Cat-obsessed St. Louis therapist-turned-artist specializing in sports, pop culture, & charity. [he/him]