Memory is a mystery. No matter how old we are, there are moments from our young lives that are vivid. Things we saw, great moments we had, things that scared us. So profound, these slices of time and why the picture or scene sticks may make perfect sense to us. Some remain for reasons that we don’t know, feeling purely random.

At the age of 4 I can remember almost drowning at Neckles Beach in the Bronx. My grandparents’ place was there. I slipped in the shallow water, lost my footing and ended up like a rotisserie chicken rotating face down in the water seeing the bottom and then face up staring at the sky. It seemed like forever and I swallowed a lot of salt water. A hero passerby picked me out of the ocean sound and delivered me back to my unwitting parents.

I can go back to age 5 to a moment in the Catskills, a place where my parents took us for a few years on vacation. There was a Wild West type tourist spot my dad thought was fun for the kids. I was sitting in a horse-driven coach, part of a simulated real-life cowboy-and-indian scene, and the chief looked up at me and yelled “Hey you, 27.” Scared me right out of my numbered football sweatshirt.

There are so many more. I’m lucky they’re mostly benign. As you roll back your reel, I hope yours are too.

A video played on CNN last week that caused these reflections.

The scene was a Southern California city where a “walk to school” parade event took place. As parents strolled with their little ones on their way, many were masked and they were met, rather accosted, by other parents who were protesting the policy. The video shows anti-mask parents walking along with the masked parents, screaming at the them and likening the face covering to torture. One parent charged the other with the equivalence of raping their own child.

What stood out is the moment when an anti-mask parent directly dresses down a masked parent escorting her also masked little boy. Mom fires back, defending her turf. Two adults just yelling at each other. And there’s the child, who looks about 5, walking along his with his mommy looking over his shoulder in fear and holding his ears.

It’s a video I can’t shake.

What has happened to us?

Take this past Friday night, when a reported 150 people against masks in schools stopped local traffic marching to Gov. Dan McKee’s Cumberland home. No consideration for the simple privacy of the governor’s family and the innocent neighbors who suffered the collateral damage just because they live there.

Is it just COVID? Or is it such personal and political anger that has been burning in us so hot under the surface that the virus and its accompanying difficult issues are just the ignition?

The engine temperature runs so high that it in these moments it feels useless to appeal to a person’s common decency. It seems that no matter from the political and/or COVID left or right you just get animated spew in return about the First Amendment and saving the country.

Everything and everyone else, including innocent children, be damned.

Like that little boy just escorted to school, his childhood peace of mind in the moment shattered, and maybe his memory violated and damaged forever.

Dan Yorke is the PM Drive Host on 99.7/AM 630 WPRO, Dan Yorke State of Mind weekends on Fox Providence/WPRI 12 and owns communications/crisis consulting firm DYCOMM LLC

(3) comments

Some Guy

"Unlike the January 6th protest in Washington, D.C., the left behaved this way every day of the calendar year."

Wow, generalize much? Every day of the calendar year?

Anyway, please remind me of when "the left" overran the seat of Congress in an attempt to overthrow a duly elected government of the US. I must have overlooked that.

Lincoln247

Just over two years ago, the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill was occupied by mobs of protestors seeking to block the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh who was duly nominated by a duly elected president.

They did the same thing to the Wisconsin State Capitol in 2011.

You're welcome.

Lincoln247

I believe most of us are disgusted by any form of indecent behavior exhibited towards others. There is no reason to condone it, regardless of whether such behavior is from an "anti-mask" person, or a pro-mask one. The same is true for the vaccine, and a whole slew of hot button public policy issues. Our disgust towards this behavior should apply regardless of which side of these issues we find ourselves on.

What Dan did here, was only provide examples of conservatives being indecent (involving at most 3 people). What he failed to acknowledge is that the problem is massive on the liberal side.

We all remember the protests across our country that turned violent, got many people killed, and we vividly recall the many innocent people being harassed while they dine at a restaurant with their families. We still can see the images of buildings burning to the ground (in some cases whole blocks), the large scale destruction of both private and public property, and the looting. Sections of Portland, including a federal courthouse were barricaded by protesters who attempted to burn it down while federal officers were inside. Whole highways were shut down, repeatedly, not just a side steet in Cumberland. Unlike the January 6th protest in Washington, D.C., the left behaved this way every day of the calendar year.

Those were the actions of mobs of individuals, not a few cherry-picked examples.

It is this type of bias and unfairness that divides us, and leads to growing hate and resentment. The truth is, most people are good, and look down on those who behave indecently towards others, whether it be a few individuals or massive mobs.

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