Collage of photographs including elderly woman with hand up
Collage of photographs featuring a medical face mask

2020 was the year I was tossed into an alternate, upside down world. I am a legal alien in the US, have been for over 20 years. I have lived in three different states, visited 36, and while I may have been surprised or puzzled by people or surroundings, I have never felt alienated until now. Well, it started gradually with the 2016 elections, especially living in a dark red state. But 2020 left me speechless.

"Corona is a hoax", "Masks kill", "Healthcare is socialism", "Trump/Q is the Saviour". One well attended BLM demonstration to which the regional Neo-Nazis showed up. No further discussion. The mayor continuing to refuse a mask mandate while infections spike to an international record. Neighbours refusing masks, setting up Trump altars. Social media showing the questionable choices educated friends are making. The silence about the sick, the dead? What happened to Christian compassion? The feeling of being locked in, not by a lockdown (that would be welcome) but an aversion to the place, the people, the signs. The open racism, the growing authoritarianism, the farce of Trump.

The feeling of being caught in this country with no way to escape, no quick visit with family back home, unreachable should something happen. The heartbreak of children missing milestones, proms, graduations, friendships, explorations, travels, to be instead locked up with their parents, their plans for the future derailed. That makes me most angry and that will be the hardest part to forgive.