Thoughts shared by a retired newspaper publisher and Great Plains farm wife:
Evidently, its taking a pandemic to bring out people’s true beliefs.
Politicians are fighting each other, citizens are losing their livelihoods, numbers of coronavirus victims are questioned, some nursing homes have become “death pits”, anxiety and stress are ruling some people’s days, and the blame game is being waged full force. We almost behave like rats fighting over a single piece of meat.
China has upped its numbers of coronavirus victims, and the jury is still out on whether the virus originated in a Wuhan, China wet market offering animals no one should eat or whether the virus escaped a research lab there.
Yet, behind all the brouhaha, many more folks are quietly staying home, washing their hands more frequently, and using modern technology to keep in touch with family, friends and their church. Methinks these folks are more apt to survive both mentally and physically what is now officially being called SARS-CoV-2 .
Someone named Dr. Phil (sorry, but I’m not a fan) reportedly appeared on Fox News last Thursday and said the U. S. is reaching a “tipping point” when it comes to the lockdown of businesses and personal freedom of movement. He added that the mental health effects of trying to contain human beings in one place too long could become devastating. Gotta agree with him on that.
He also questioned why the U. S. shut down in the first place. “The fact of the matter is we have people dying – 45,000 a year from automobile accidents, 480,000 from cigarettes, 360,000 a year from swimming pools – but we don’t shut the country down for that, but yet we’re doing it for this, and the fallout is going to last for years because people’s lives are being destroyed.”
Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be in charge of deciding who must shut down their business or their livelihood. Nor would I want to decide for others when to open up again. Instead, I’d strongly suggest people listen, learn and make their own decisions.
It seems to me this is no different from laws requiring seat belt use, helmet use and other “you better do this or else” mandates, most of them because citizens asked government to pass a law.
Education is far more powerful than yet another law. People seeing and experiencing the bloody and deadly results of vehicle accidents resulting from drunk driving, failure to wear seat belts, failure to wear a motorcycle helmet, etc. is far more powerful than a president or governor or prime minister getting on TV demanding we do what they say.
Unfortunately, there are citizens who loudly demand that “government do something” to protect us from ourselves and our choices. While we don’t choose to contract a virus, we have been advised, over and over, to distance ourselves from others until this pandemic wears itself out. We’ve been educated to wash our hands, see to better personal hygiene where necessary, sanitize our surroundings within reason, help someone in need when asked and pray.
Most people don’t need a government official to tell us to wash our hands before and after handling food, before and after eating, after restroom use, after returning home from the store and gas station and church. That’s just common sense. If we voluntarily do these actions with a humble attitude, aren’t our chances of avoiding contamination better? I hope so.
If citizens would choose to grow up, behave responsibly, and stop begging government officials to protect them, I believe at least some of the anxiety and depression currently being allowed to invade our minds can disappear.
The late German philosopher, economist and historian Karl Marx is often quoted as saying religion and hope are the opiate of the masses. So? Is that a negative interpretation attached to a positive means of keeping people’s spirits moving forward and upward?
If hope keeps a beleaguered cattle rancher from killing himself when he sees how packing plants are profiting well beyond normal from coronavirus side effects while he’s losing money, then I vote in favor of hope.
If a restaurant owner waits with hope until he can again order fresh vegetables for the dinner salads he serves his customers, isn’t that better than closing doors forever and sticking the bank with his debt?
If a teenager confined to home nearly full-time does his live-streamed homework and then uses his extra time to learn how to do the family’s laundry, balance a checkbook, mend a torn shirt, cook an edible meal, change a flat tire, vacuum the family car, call his Grandma on the phone and actually visit with her – isn’t that better than losing hope and overdosing himself with chemicals?
Humans have been given freedom of choice that animals, birds, insects, and plants do not. Do fire, air and water have the freedom to choose like we do? Of course not. Human beings were created to be superior to but also responsible for most natural beings. Maybe we can’t control the weather. We can’t control this virus. But we can control ourselves, our attitudes and our responses to whatever hand we’re being dealt.
Instead of demanding our local, state and federal officials to take care of us and keep us safe from this pandemic, we can ask them for their best advice and then follow it. Better yet, pray to God for His advice and then accept whatever He chooses to say.
Nathan’s notes: Wise points, indeed. We don’t need government to have common sense. And we can take responsibility for our own lives. Thanks, Margaret.