This is Some Bullshit We are Dealing With

author/source: Melissa Bower Smith

Photo by Alex BrackenThis is some bullshit we are dealing with. The pandemic is some bullshit. The failure of our leaders to protect us from it is some bullshit. The climate change that makes these catastrophic events more likely is some bullshit. The fact that we have an unjust economic system entirely dependent on low-wage, zero benefit workers to deliver the food and goods we need to survive is some bullshit. That nurses, doctors, aides, orderlies, janitors and other healthcare workers don't have adequate PPE is definitely some bullshit. That we all now know what PPE stands for is next level, knee-deep bullshit. Oh, and some of those people who are taking care of our friends and neighbors at hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics don't even have health insurance, which is just foul. 

In the US, the unreadiness of our healthcare systems, our school systems, our governmental institutions, our nonprofit institutions, our social safety nets to quickly adapt to and address this crisis and keep us from becoming the global epicenter of the pandemic, even with advance notice, is a revolting, disgusting, unforgivable sky-high mountain of bullshit. 

And the most immediately painful, stifling, destructive, and cheese-stinky tip-top of this shitpile is our guilt about it. Guilt about the things you can change and the things you can't, guilt about who has it better and who has it worse, guilt about the things you should've done, and the things you aren't doing now. 

Photo by Anh NguyenThat guilt you're feeling, justified or not, is some bullshit. 

It's not fair and it hurts, and it makes bad things worse while they're happening. But I'm not going to tell you to let it go. 

Guilt is bullshit, but bullshit is fertilizer.

That guilt you feel, though it's not necessarily productive or rational today, might be the motivation you need to join a charitable organization or a nonprofit or help a friend run for school committee tomorrow. It might be the driving force behind collective action to strengthen our social safety nets. It might be the thing that prompts you to teach your children or your children's children something different than what you were taught. Maybe it helps you realign your priorities to better reflect your values--spend more time with family rather than push it off or invest some real-time toward a personal goal.  Maybe it drives you to start a business that doesn't consider workers expendable. 

Wherever you end up going with it, the guilt you feel right now is evidence of your continued engagement in the world, of your sense of duty to yourself, your family, your friends, neighbors, fellow Americans, and the people of the world. 

I can't see the future, but I can see its promise. I don't know where we'll be when we emerge from this catastrophe, but I am positive that the ground will be very fertile. What we are going through right now is definitely bullshit. Let's remember it when we get to the other side. 

Melissa Smith - Norfolk County Democratic CandidateMelissa Smith is a Democratic candidate running for the 4th Norfolk seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The district includes parts of Weymouth and Hingham. Her campaign motto is “Government is how we take care of each other," which reflects a commitment to prioritizing the health and well-being of people above all other concerns, on every issue. Melissa Smith lives in Hingham with her husband and son. For more information about the campaign, visit, or