I’ve traveled the world at times in my life. Immersing myself in new cultures. Experiencing my native culture by contrast with the one I’m immersed in. Takes years to slough off the cultural conditioning to the extent we ever can. So I stay years in one place. I also travel in time. We all do. Time travel is similar in that it exchanges one culture for another. You could stay in one place and travel in time. Most folks do that. You can tell you’ve crossed the border when the young speak a slightly different language. In times new country the young start their sentences saying “So”. Being on the road of time for 76 years I have seen the scenes. The language, slang, words re-made, trends become “mems”. Civil rights becomes human rights and morphs into BLM. In my house some mornings have a song. The coffee perks, the computer boots, and I have a song playing in my head. I find it on the computer and crank up the volume. One day last week the song was Marvion Gaye’s “Whats going on”. An atmospheric motown ballad with the stamp of its time, 1970. Protest demanding racial equality and getting brutal response. War as a national sport and litmus for patriotism. Things don’t change much. Only seem to. As with life, genes are reused in different but familiar ways. War still isn’t the answer but love hasn’t conquered hate. The battles are not around Que Son and Kent state. They’re inside the capitol in DC and in Syria. The song lyric, “talk to me, so you can see, what’s going on, What’s going on? I’ll tell you what’s going on. It’s a lament. Another song that never ends. In these terms the virus is an uptick, a big deal but not much different than the wars. The chief difference is that now WE are suffering. Not just foreigners…no, now it’s THEIR fault. Chinese Communism replaced with Chinese Viruses. So what is going on? Business as usual and the usual results…up to a point. What is new is population growth and technology. The result of business as usual will soon show a qualitative difference in result. The population of the world has doubled since that song was on Billboard’s top twenty. The number of players in the nuclear weapons game has at least doubled. The means of delivery of these massive killing machines has also advanced. So (see I’m doing it too!) So, the result of what’s going on puts the flame ever nearer to the fuse. There is not even the pretense of understanding the need to put the breaks on. No comprehension of “what’s going on” before our eyes. Oh, we’ll muddle thru, we always have! No, WE never have, WE are not the people we were. This time, 2021, is a different place where things happen for local reasons not due to precedent or habit. We must, for survival, become civil, civilized, citizens of a community. The virus is getting our attention but the recent riot in DC is a symptom of an infection much worse. It’s an illness with the potential to kill far more of us than Corona. It spreads virally thru the pathways for lies and the exploitation of divisiveness for profit. The masks and social distancing it responds to are compassion, understanding, humility, dialog and compromise. Being civil to one another. Ya, you can hear people saying….”you can’t make me wear that mask”. Arguments for the greater good through our being civil don’t seem to engage any more than advice to wear PPE does. When people die, when horned idiots walk the halls of the congress, we step back…but not enough. When things quiet down we return to the risky behavior, the nasty rhetoric, the proud refusal to compromise. The death rate rises and again we step back. The danse macabre. A waltz to the cliff edge. So, what is going on? You tell me. Not my problem anymore. I can hear the maid in the hall pushing her cleaning cart. For me It’s almost check out time.