Free Won’t; or, Listening to the Serpents

A personal body servant of the President’s has tested positive for coronavirus as has the Vice President’s press secretary.

“The presence of the virus in both the West Wing and the residential floors of the White House brings home the dilemma facing the nation at a pivotal point in the pandemic. With more than 77,000 deaths in the United States so far and cases rising by the day, states and employers are wrestling with when and how to reopen without putting workers, customers and clients at risk.”

Now consider this: “Faced with intense criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, stubbornly high rates of new infections across much of the country and questions about whether he is pushing too soon to get the economy going again, President Trump has settled into a messaging routine: deflect, reject and minimize.” FWIW, these are the three major strands in the behavior playbook of an abuser.

There’s a cosmic subtext here that seems billboard-with-chaser-lights large to me. It’s as though the virus itself has said, “Fine. Go ahead. Deflect. Reject. Minimize. Abuse me and your people all you want. But if you won’t come to me, if you won’t take me seriously, if you won’t attend to the effect I am having, then fine, I’ll come to you. I’m good with that.”

The only place it could be closer to either pseudo-leader would be in their children, their spouses, or their own lungs.

I found the supposed-to-be-reassuring announcement that they and staff would be tested daily, quite frankly, embarrassing. Could there be a more perfect indication of the haves? And the have-nots. No one I know or know of has access to daily testing.

And still, “Even as it has experienced positive tests of its own, the White House has so far blocked the release of a set of recommendations developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deeming them overly prescriptive. As a result, businesses have been left to make their best guesses with lives on the line.”

This very behavior is what makes me maintain that most human beings, despite being aware of the theological concept of Free Will, live their lives based on Free Won’t. What I mean is that we spend much more time engaging with and acting upon what we don’t want rather than what we do.

The actual words “Free Will” do not appear in the Hebrew Bible although this is where the genesis of the concept is. In fact, it will probably not surprise you that both Free Will and Free Won’t were “created,” if you will, at the same time.

The idea is that Adam and Eve “willfully chose” to disobey God’s instructions about how to live in the Garden safely. Hence, humankind is allegedly given Free Will.

Even there, though, the Serpent shows his slimy face to assure them that, “Oh, it won’t be so bad” if you do what you’re not supposed to do. Hence, humankind is shown Free Won’t.

Isn’t that what Bolsonaro is saying to the people of Brazil?
Isn’t that what Lukashenko is saying to the people of Belarus?
Isn’t that what Trump is saying to the people of the United States?

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue isn’t safe from Covid-19.
Neither is the local mall. Or the local stadium.
Or the local high school gymnasium. Or the local movie theatre.
Or your own home.

And, dammit, the Serpents are everywhere. In constant motion and cacophonous.

Paul Krugman wrote yesterday, “[C]onservatives may worry that if we help those in distress, even temporarily, many Americans might decide that a stronger social safety net is a good thing in general. If your political strategy depends on convincing people that government is always the problem, never the solution, you don’t want voters to see the government actually doing good, even in times of dire need.

“Whatever the reasons, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Americans suffering from the economic consequences of Covid-19 will get far less help than they should. Having already condemned tens of thousands to unnecessary death, Trump and his allies are in the process of condemning tens of millions to unnecessary hardship.”

Article after article today cited the November elections as the mitigating factor in the choices — also known as, use of free will — made by conservative legislators. Sinuous serpents, anyone?

Steven Erlanger points to another such serpentine dilemma.

“With the global paralysis induced by the coronavirus, levels of pollution and carbon emission are dropping everywhere — leaving bluer skies, visible mountains, splendid wildflowers. Even Venice’s famously murky canals are running clear. After decades of industry and government slow-walking the climate issue, for some it is proof that effective action can be achieved.

“But nature’s revival has come at enormous cost, with Europe’s economy projected to decline 7.4 percent this year. So for many, like the suddenly unemployed, concerns about climate — which seemed urgent just a few months ago — can seem less so now. Those competing camps are now locked in debate over how and what to rebuild — between those who want to get the economy moving again, no matter how, and those who argue that the crisis is a chance to accelerate the transition to a cleaner economy.”

Oh, I see. Nature itself vs. Fast Economic Recovery. Several serpents swimming. Serpents galore really.

And a false opposition. Or false to those of us who prefer to take the long-term recovery path — which, to my mind, is what’s going to happen anyway, regardless of what the deficit hawks are yapping on about — over immediate, costly, short-term gain.

Republican lawmakers at every level are raging that the government is helping people too much, that to extend unemployment benefits deincentivizes work itself, that it’s far better to push, push, push as fast, fast, fast as we can, can,can — .

Oh? Collateral damage, you ask?

Collateral damage happens. Too bad.

The cruelty inherent in those five words gives me shivers. People will die; economic recovery is more important.

Yeah? Well, maybe if your priority is the November election, but not if your priority is to include as many people, places, and things in the recovery as are needed for a healthy world.

“An aphorism of online life goes: Every day, the internet picks a hero and a villain, and you hope that neither one is you.

“It’s natural that people are struggling with formulating, enforcing and abiding by new social norms. There are villains here, but they’re not the ones desperate to escape this awful new half-life we’re all living. They’re the ones whose job it was to chart a way out, and just gave up.”

Because their priorities were themselves and their jobs, not us and our jobs.

Their jobs, Beloved, were to lead all of us, all, no exceptions, into a new world that would work for all of us. And we are abandoned to the courts, and our own best guesses, whilst the serpents slither not-so-silently.

Jamelle Bouie raises another point on this snaky slope.

“It’s true that not every racial disparity speaks to some deeper dynamic of race and racism. But this one does. I don’t think you can separate the vehemence of anti-lockdown protesters from their whiteness, nor do I think we can divorce their demands to ‘reopen’ the economy from the knowledge that many of those most affected belong to other racial groups. It’s not so much that they’re showing racial animus (although some are), but that their conception of what it means to be ‘free’ is, at its root, tied tightly to their racial identity.”

There are those who would tell you that free will and freedom are the same thing. They’re not, not by a long shot. Free will takes place within, between your own ears, as does free won’t. It’s how you think about your choices that then makes you able to choose whatever it is that you want. Only then does freedom kick in. Free Will is about choice. Freedom is about action.

Strangely perhaps for a Slytherin such as myself, I am taking heart from all these sinous, slithering, convoluted stand-offs. More and more of us ordinary people are noticing the contradictory behaviors, the bungled messaging, the flagrant agenda-ism, and we’re saying, “That’s enough.”

Timothy Egan maintains in “The World Is Taking Pity on Us” that “much of the world has started to feel sorry for a nation laid low by the lethal ineptitude of President Trump. And yet, here we are: a full-blown disaster, in lockdown with a narcissist for a president. America has a failed federal government, laughed at and pitied the world over.

“But America is not a failed state. It will be saved by its scientists and doctors, its hospitals and universities, its nimble and creative companies, and leaders in the statehouses who act more decisively than the family of frauds in the White House.”

More and more of us have had enough. Despite the waffling of those who have been entrusted with our care, despite the withholding of the one set of completely trustworthy guidelines that could unite the whole country, we are staying home. We are wearing masks when we have to go out. We are social distancing. And we are planning to do it until there’s a vaccine.

You know what that is, Beloved, right? It’s Free Will. Free Will, as it’s meant to be used. Free Will in action. And as for Free Won’t, that’s simple. We’ll get to use it when we vote in November.

Dr. Susan Corso is a metaphysician and medical intuitive with a private counseling practice for more than 35 years. She has written too many books to list here. Her website is www.susancorso.com

© Dr. Susan Corso 2020 All rights reserved.

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Susan Corso

Dr. Susan Corso a metaphysician with a private counseling practice for 40+ years. She has written too many books to list here. Her website is www.susancorso.com