Pandemic Plusses: James McMurtry Shares a Great Notion

Amid all the Coronavirus blues we got going on, there are some moments to applaud.

Celebrities are giving online performances or reading children’s books (the LeVar Burton/Neil Gaiman exchange was beautiful, and worth Googling), or adapting to quarantine and doing exceptional work (if you haven’t seen Trevor Noah’s 13-minute interview with Dr. Fauci, you should).

Schools are doing reach out projects for their students (one teacher posts a math problem a day on a huge whiteboard in her home’s front window, others drove by their elementary school students’ homes to wave hello, my own Hackensack High School recently did a video of staff sending messages to our students, and so on).

Still others are doing what they can, sharing humor, song, beaches, whatever works to keep us all going. Bless them all.

Americana Highways is one of those entities. Locatable on Faceboook, they are hosting mini-concerts with primarily country or singer/songwriter acts both prominent and up-and-coming. The results have been enjoyable. And in one case, profound.

For those who know his work, it will come as no surprise that last night James McMurtry said something that should stick with all of us. The veteran performer is an impressive guitar player and stunning lyricist, but his off-hand comments can nail a situation perfectly. He did this while introducing the last song in an approximately forty minute set, a cover of the song that played during the credits of the film Sometimes A Great Notion, based on the book of the same name by Ken Kesey. And then he had one thing to say about the Corona Virus. I am going to have to paraphrase, so forgive me.

McMurtry mentioned that this virus survives and thrives on us. And it does not differentiate according to color or culture or politics or religion or economics. He noted that is got past security at the White House to infect a member of Vice President Pence’s staff and slid under the door at 10 Downing Street and attached itself to Prince Charles.

James McMurtry speaking truth.

This virus doesn’t care about our differences, McMurtry mused, and neither should we.

And he is simply, spectacularly, right. Perhaps the most silver of linings to emerge from all this is the chance for all of us to see how artificial and arbitrary our borders and barriers are, how useless and defeating our judgments and separations and disdains prove to be when a true enemy comes a knocking.

Perhaps our best hope is to see ourselves as a larger community that has more commonalities than differences, more to unify us than to tear us apart.

Thank you, Mr. McMurtry. I hope you, and all of us, stay safe, and mindful that we are all in this together as one.

I write this series in hopes of helping others (and myself, to be honest) get through this extended time are welcome to share your comments on today’s topic (McMurtry’s observation) in the space below. #MOC19

About chrisryanwrites

I do my best to tell fast-paced stories with humor and heart. My fiction work is available on Here, I’ll write about the sources for those stories from what I read, watch, listen to, and observe to my experiences as a former award-winning journalist, high school teacher, actor, and producer.
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