Like so many American’s since the Coronavirus slammed into us, I’ve felt transported to a country that doesn’t look, sound, smell, act like herself anymore. Lots of changes. Some caused by the adaptions COVID-19 has forced upon us (by science, medicine or those abusing powers entrusted to them) and some as consequences of choices, reactions and natural fall-out.
For my first blog on this mess I was thinking about my bucket list.
Yes, you read that right. My bucket list. After a few near death experiences in 2004 I created a bucket list. I kept it posted in my office when I was still able to work. But, it’s always hung around in my heart.
Loving to travel and especially now that traveling in a wheelchair complicates everything from accessible accomodations to transportation quite a few items involved trips I’d like to take with my family.
- seeing a Broadway production on Broadway in New York City
- visiting the huge toy store often seen in movies about New York
- touching in some way, the Statue of Liberty
- staying in a super hotel
- picnicking in Central Park
- and all the other places like–
- The Wine and Food Festivals of Food Network
- The Pioneer Woman’s store, restaurant, hotel and ranch in Oklahoma
- A Disney Cruise with my whole family while the children among us are still young enough to feel the magic.
- A cruise to Alaska.
- Visit Seattle and see if Sleepless in Seattle left any romance hanging around
- Return to all the places I went to in California in my junior year of college as a summer missionary for the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
- Finally see my old friends who now reside in Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, Georgia (Atlanta), Texas, several cities in Virginia.
- (Not the complete bucket list.)
Most of my bucket list travel dreams have leaked right out of the bucket. Why? Who, considering safety (extra concern as a person confinded to a wheelchair), money, accomodations, attractions within the city we’re visiting, transportation and assistance if the need arises; could seriously entertain visiting like, New York City? Instead of visions of Broadway, shopping and busy New Yorkers, or catching up with friends I have a different vision.
Same vision I have with thoughts of visiting any of these places, even one I am forced to travel to given it’s resources and how close it is, Birmingham, Alabama. In the nightmare, I am unfamiliar with landmarks, street layouts and I get lost. Accidently ending up where I don’t want to be and my vehicle being surrounded by protestors turned rioters. Vulnerable, and they somehow know I can’t defend myself I am drug from my car and beaten, perhaps killed. Because I am white. The very things that if their minds that comes from my having white skin are the very things that look back at them every time they look in a mirror, with just a different skin color. (That’s my opinion.)
It’s not unreasonable. It is happening across our country in states, specific cities I used to plan and try to figure out how to achieve on my bucket list. There have been older people, veterans have been drug from their wheelchairs and even fellow protestors beaten and some killed while several people videoed the event to post on social media, YouTube channels or web sites dedicated to proving their belief system. Plus, God knows, how police are treated, taunted, hit, shot at, physically hemmed in and injured from weapons and things like metal from destroyed public and private property flung at and striking their heads.
I question how the mayor of New York City and the governor of New York have failed to realize the tourist business will not recover from the lawlessness they’ve allowed in their city and state. Regardless whether someone manages to clean-up the streets and criminal activity and restore those buildings and monoments to pre-riot glory there’s a huge cost. There will now forever be a flood of “what if’s” that will prevent me from going. Am I the only one?
Those images of the riots, the looting, the burning and all those people that have been killed are forever in my heart. And I’m not excluding those whose lives were lost by police action. All of them that were surrounded by cheering crowds, angry mobs, the ugliest behavior capable of humanity literally becoming visible energy forced on other human beings.
There’s a thought beating in my head. Is this thought even crossing any of the minds of leadership that allowed, even encouraged, this behavior to stretch on? When they placed their most vulnerable citizens in positions of almost being quaranteed to die with COVID-19? As they slashed police budgets, turned police forces into nothing more than targets for those rioting did it ever occur to them that their tourism will not recover?
Furthermore, I now question whether the cruising and travel industries will recover period? All the businesses looted, some multiple times, those burned to the ground; do they have a chance of coming back? Quite a few larger companies have already pulled out of the areas they were destroyed in. Small businesses have been forced to give up their dreams. And people across every race, color, culture, value systems, educational levels are unsettled, unsure and lost.
Losses to the assets of these cities and states; industries, attractions, history and citizens are huge and more costly than the tallies on the ledger books. In comparison, the loss of over half my bucket list is the smallest cost of all.