BY: T. Franklin Murphy | October 5, 2020
This Pandemic is driving the world crazy. Well, okay, we were already crazy. It's just giving us another thing to be crazy about.
At the beginning, the lock down was palatable, even enjoyable. I was willing to stay home for the good of the nation—and the world. Finding toilet paper and hand sanitizer was a headache, sending me out into the world much more than I desired. Eventually, I found a pattern, stocked up on essentials, and discovered joy in finding kitchen disinfectant or rubber gloves. But now, six months later, I’m annoyed. I want to eat at a nice restaurant, not order out. I want to take my grandson to the park, sit on a bench and talk to a stranger. I want to sneeze in public without feeling ostracized. This darn pandemic is getting old, give me my old life back.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t see much good in spreading unproven and outrageous stories of clandestine plots and grand collusions to destroy. Our nation was bum rushed by a fast spreading virus that infected millions of people and contributed to the death of over two-hundred thousand, either directly or from complications exacerbated from the illness. Yes, certainly, groups may exaggerate or diminish numbers to advance their cause. We, as intelligent human beings, must muddle through other’s representations of the pandemic and figure out how to live with the new reality.
Our nation was bum rushed by a fast spreading virus that infected millions of people.
All-or -Nothing Mindsets
All or nothing thinking about COVID-19 is ridiculously simplistic and dangerous. Not everyone is going to die. If you contract the illness, you most likely will recover. Conversely, the virus exists and is amazingly contagious. Blinding ourselves to the magnitude and threat of a fast spreading virus is ignorant, contributing to the spread.
We’re afraid to think. Considering complexity solidifies the uncertainty and scares us. Recently, California allowed for tasting rooms to resume business—with restrictions. In need of a get-away, I drove over the hill to my favorite winery. I was shocked. A wine tram was outside. The line weaved out the front door and down the sidewalk. The outdoor patio was packed with unmasked amateur wine connoisseurs. I skipped my hankering for a taste of Pinot and considered the drive as my get-away.
Perhaps, there was no threat. Then again, maybe this all-or-nothing approach is part of the problem. Enough people with complete disbelief in the presence of the virus, or lack of risk awareness, or whatever just careless abandon to taste this year’s release that COVID-19 can’t be contained without governmental restrictions. I’m left to wonder why a winery is either closed or packed. A beach is deserted or overrun.
See All-or Nothing Mindsets for more on this topic
I want to believe in human intelligence. I want to trust in the human ability to evaluate facts without government imposed restriction. However, evidence suggest that we struggle. Those most adverse to restrictions often are those least capable of modifying actions.
Shaming and Harassment
A disturbing trend of harassment is spreading. Heckling no-maskers taunt mask wearers as sheep that blindly follow government direction. Of course, those that rebel, without an educated examination, are just as blind, just heeding to a different call. We can follow a law without the law dictating action. We can wear a seatbelt because we know that the seatbelt saves lives. We can choose not to murder because we respect life. We can choose not to steal because personal ethical standards. People can choose to wear a mask and wash their hands because science supports these measures, not because a state mandate.
This COVID-19 drama will spill into next year, perhaps longer. The life we used to have is no more. To wisely move forward, we need common sense, leaning on the best available evidence and adjusting as new information is discovered. The pandemic increases our cognitive load, wears on our emotions, and challenges relationship dynamics.
Some proposed remedies have significant economic impact on individuals and our society. I don’t know the answer or correct balance. How much of these restrictions are a reactionary response or only bipartisan with alternative motives? I do not know. I do know life has changed. Old enjoyments and escapes must be replaced. Perhaps, we will discover new hobbies and passions (my attempt for a positive spin). This nasty chapter will end. Life will rebalance with a new normal; and then, we can fight over the particulars of that as well. All I can say, is be well, no matter what you believe is or isn’t true. And then, respect other’s actions to be well. Yes, we are pandemic crazy, but let’s use this craze to bring us together, not rip us apart.
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