Today I stood with some of my fellow nurses and faced a tidal wave of ignorance, fear, and abuse.
I was mocked. I was called more names than I can remember. I was told I was ignorant, unintelligent, and compassionless. I was accused of being a fake nurse, a paid protester, a fraud. I was told I was nothing. I had cigarette smoke blown in my face. I was sexually harassed. A few times, I was surrounded on all sides by multiple people yelling at me.
Desperation and fear bring out the worst in people. I will admit, I cried a bit. How could I not in the face of so much hate?
But I when I did, I was crying for my fellow healthcare workers on the front lines, who are working their asses off fighting this illness, who are being put at worse risk because of the lack of essential protective equipment in this country. I cried for those who have left their families behind to go help where the situation is most dire. I cried for those who have died and will continue to die, after working their hardest to help those who needed them.
I cried for every protester who doesn’t know how they are going to make ends meet, that are afraid for their businesses, their jobs, their homes, and their lives. I cried for every American who has received less than adequate help from the government, who felt like this is the only way for them to get the resources they need, and who have been failed by our president who has not implemented the measures required to help and protect our most vulnerable people.
I cried for every person at this protest that will inevitably get sick, and increase the spread in our state when we had been doing a pretty good job of flattening the curve and delaying the spread of covid-19 in Arizona. I cried for every person who will be infected by those that contracted the disease today.
But more important than the few tears I shed today, was that I stood strong for what is right.
I stood for using science, not feelings, to make important decisions in a pandemic. I stood for the healthcare workers who are going to keep working our hardest to help heal the sick, whether they appreciate it or not. I stood for those who couldn’t. I stood for the lives we have lost, many unnecessarily, to this virus. I stood strong and looked every protester fighting to open Arizona in the eye, so they would have to stare into the face of some of the individuals they are hurting with their ignorance. My hands cramped up from standing in this position so long, but I kept standing until everything died down.
And I will keep standing.