Tryin’ times, what the world is talkin’ about

You got confusion all over the land

You got mother against daughter, you got father against son

You now the whole thing is getting out of hand

Then folks wouldn’t have to suffer

If there was more love for your brother

But these are tryin’ times

You got the riots in the ghetto, it’s all around

A whole lot of things that’s going down . . .

I can’t understand it from my point of view

‘Cause I think you should do unto others

As you would have them do unto you

Then maybe folks wouldn’t have to suffer

If there was more love for your brother

But these are tryin’ times

Roberta Flack

It has been 51 years since the great singer, Roberta Flack, sang this Donny Hathaway song on her “First Take” album. The album itself is a collection of classic songs that are still relevant today, and maybe for all time. But here are a few reasons why I think “Tryin Times” is so meaningful right now.

First, over the past two weeks, I have shared with you some of my thoughts about the Nov. 3 elections. Well, as we all know, President Trump has refused to concede after what appears to be a resounding loss. Just last Saturday, I think, his avid supporters staged a highly contentious “Million Man March for MAGA” showing their rabid continued support for the idea that the election was rigged and, in spite of all evidence, lawsuits, and calls for recounts, Trump lost.

Well, according to some observers, the marchers fell far short of 1 million. It was more like 10,000, including clumps of protesters from white supremacist groups such as the Proud Boys. As the small crowd shouted racial epithets and a few were being thrown in jail, Trump rolled through the maddened crowd in his darken-windowed SUV motorcade, on his way to play a round of golf.

Other than this drive-by, to my knowledge, President Trump has made no public appearances. According to reports, he has not participated in the routine daily briefings that are so important to keeping any president aware of emerging national or international issues of concern to the welfare of the country. Also, in refusing to concede, he has declined to participate in the complex, necessary processes associated with the peaceful transfer of power to his rival, President-elect Joe Biden.

Taken together, these events reflect a type of chaos that has the world wondering what in the world is wrong in America. Has democratic government failed? And why aren’t Republicans in the House and Senate doing something to put a stop to his embarrassing, highly public petulance? I don’t know. The latest reports I’ve heard, based on the fact that Trump received over 70 million votes, is that Republicans are looking for ways to completely overturn the election. As Miss Flack sang, these are tryin’ times.

In the meantime, without the benefit of the transfer of information from the incumbent and his administration, Biden appears to be doing all he can to select his cabinet and, most of all, to stem the tide of the pandemic sweeping the nation, and the world. As to the pandemic, America now has nearly 11 million citizens infected, with more than 245,000 dead. This invisible enemy fundamentally has upended the way people live, work, and play.

In many ways, I think people have become numb to the scale of those sick and dying. As to scale, what I believe we must consider is that each person who is sickened or who succumbed to the virus represents probably at least six others who are directly or indirectly impacted by their plight – friends, mothers, fathers, uncles and aunts, co-workers, and perhaps others. What that means is that the number is not 11 million, it’s closer to 60 million!

Soon, if not already, every person in America will know someone who was afflicted by the virus. In some cases, if the person afflicted was the sole breadwinner in a home, and if there are dependents there, what happens to them? Where will they get food and clothing? If the rent isn’t paid, will they be thrown into the streets? In the absence of aggressive, unified federal and state leadership, the answer is “yes.”

These are trying times. I pray we will make it through.

Have a nice day.

Primus Mootry is a retired school teacher and a resident of Anderson.

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