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A Wrinkle In Our Times

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When I was in third grade, back when the ’90s was finding its groove as perhaps our greatest cultural decade, I found myself, one school day, perusing through an assortment of books. I was never a big reader. I blame that on a rare eye condition and the isolation I felt when reading, but I always wanted to be, as I heard it built intelligence and would give me a shy and muted minority in a sea of white students from very old wealth, something to truly say.

After a few minutes of finding nothing that piqued my interest, I saw a book that would be, much like this year, challenging.

The title was ​”A Wrinkle in Time​.” The cover was fascinating. A storm brewed and in the storm was the face of an evil man and on the street were a few children primed for the adventure of a lifetime. I held that book for a few minutes just to stare at such a cover. I began to read a few pages and I was hooked, raptured even.

But when the bell rang for the next period to start, I put the book down and I would never pick it up again. In fact, I wouldn’t get a full synopsis of its story until I was in my thirties, and a movie version of the book came to theaters.

Why? Why would I allow myself to be so excited and involved only to just move on? This quality in me is found in many other humans and considering the current state we live in. A state in which liberals and conservatives, activists and homebodies, baby boomers and Gen Zs are transfixed by screens that describe the latest Trump tweet or Biden gaffe or Obama book or COVID-19 rationale, perhaps we will be saved by this quality to disappoint ourselves.

For years, I was disappointed that I did not read ​”A Wrinkle in Time​.” The title was so provocative and for someone who loved the feeling of pretending to be the hero of some or someone’s story, I felt the call, the very same call, the heroine in the book felt. But that rapture is not always healthy. And that call, often ignores the villainy that makes it necessary. So many of us this year — and I say “us” because despite our fracturing, we have fractured before and been brought together all the same — would lay down in front of Trump and swear they are worshipping their higher power by supporting him. So transfixed by Trump and what he represents that they have begun to hate pure American ideals.

“How is it that one politician can make some of us claim to love the Constitution yet also hate what it guarantees?”

In a recent poll, many Americans were found to love the Second Amendment (the right to keep and bear arm) but hate the consequences of the First Amendment (the right to peaceably assemble aka protest), especially if it’s non-whites who are doing the protesting. How is it that one politician can make some of us claim to love the Constitution yet also hate what it guarantees?

All people are hypocritical about something, just ask an immigrant how they feel about other immigrants and you may get hypocritical logic about who deserves to be here and the right way to get here. But this fervor for the zeitgeist that Trump incites has exposed at least 48 percent of our country to be ignored and lonely third-graders who just picked up the first thing these Trump supporters have ever truly understood — without any notion of being critical.

I know many liberals would agree with me, that it would be better if MAGA country just “disappointed” itself by moving on and perhaps finding the solace they need in more constructive, predictable, dependable, less controversial sources like friendships, job, science, philosophy, or a plethora of harmless habits. But liberals, you too have fallen prey to the fixation.

It’s the hatred that liberals feel the need to express towards the current administration and the rage that has created the uglier side of protests, that only makes the other side of the aisle hold on to their book and worship what they imagine it to be about. Liberals say, ”Look deeper into Trump, he doesn’t care about you!” But liberals don’t understand the obvious, that you couldn’t convince me as a third-grader to open up ​”A Wrinkle in Time​” and risk ruining the sheer wonderful feeling I got just from the cover. So instead of focusing on “the book,” liberals should examine the people holding the book, dare not read any further and understand what I could not as a socially awkward pre-teen which was to understand humanity.

We need to realize that this year, 2020, is the year in which we’ve been separated from each other the most and the most awful yet beautiful truth about humanity still remains — that no matter the demagogues or so called saviors- we need more of each other, not less. Families, friends, lovers have all adjusted to this new normal and from what I can tell and what I personally feel — we miss the old ways strongly, even if they were flawed.

Because at least there wasn’t a viral wall between us, an invisible disappointment to stack on top of all our disappointments. But we can still defy and move on from such ponderous setbacks and dividers so long as we remember that third grade was lonely. I barely understood myself at that time but by fourth grade I understood more. Maybe that is the lesson for this time — open the book and take the step toward learning about others who are not like yourself.

Justin A. Williams is the Political Editor for New York Trend.

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