When protesters go out, against the government orders to shelter-in-place, they are clear about what they are fighting for: the economy, their jobs, their freedom, or against government overreach. They don’t believe the threat to them is important or valid, and they’re willing to take their chances without realizing the threat they are exposing everyone else around them to. Unfortunately, their actions and protests make it more difficult for those of us who are staying inside and trying to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Where these a—hats have us beat is two-fold: they are united physically, and they have a clear goal. So, why are the rest of us staying home?
This fight is something unique in the modern age of humankind. Usually when a large group of people has something to face, it’s a physical something or something we can put a face to. The “greatest’ generation fought Nazis and the Japanese. In 2001, America fought terrorism and dressed it up in Middle East garb. Other than cartoon renderings of the virus, there’s no face to this enemy. It can’t be seen, and there are still a large number of people who refuse to believe in anything they can’t see, except for the Almighty. In order to unite us all for one cause, we have to have an enemy we can physically fight.
People have faced pandemics before. The black plague killed millions and inspired the Decameron. In 1918, the Spanish Flu originated in the U.S. and wiped out between 17 and 50 million people. Experts believed it was helped by the movement of troops during World War I, and it came back deadlier in fall than its first incarnation earlier in the year. These were devastating because medical technology was either non-existent or in the early stages of being developed.
Who to Follow?
With no one to fight and no one alive that remembers the last pandemic, we are faced with the daunting task of believing what the experts tell us. With the anti-intellectual movement that has run rampant for a number of years, and the disinformation that continues to come from the highest offices in the land, it’s no wonder people aren’t able to grasp the simple concept of what they are being asked to do. Add to it the contentiousness of the government officials who refuse to work together over the last 12 years, even as it is part of their job, and you can see why we aren’t able to unite as a society. When the person asking you to unite, continues to divide the others near him, you follow the actions of that individual and not the words unless they suit you.
So, we have to understand what it is we are fight for, and we have to bring that into reality. The hard part is that there is no one to tell you what you are specifically fighting for. There are suggestions. We’re fighting to flatten the curve, to protect our healthcare system and the doctors and nurses that are a part of it, or to protect grandma and grandpa because, contrary to some suggestions, they are not like yesterday’s garbage to be thrown out on the trash heap, they are a vital part of the family structure. Figure out what you’re fighting for and hold that tightly.
Your Clear Objective
Once you know what you’re fighting for, you’re going to have to do the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life: Fight! But this isn’t a physical fight; it’s a mental fight. You have to have the mental fortitude to create the habits that will keep you and your family healthy and help us beat this thing. The toughest of all things to do is nothing, especially in a culture that values action over inaction. Staying at home for as long as the experts recommend is the first part of this battle. It’s not as easy as stay-at-home parents make it look. It takes training, just like any other fight. You need to focus on the goal and stay at home.
The second part are the habits you need to build for the future. Coronavirus isn’t going away any time soon, especially with all the nimrods who go out with their friends, protest at the state capital, or who order people to vote during a pandemic. Good job, voters, for having to deal with an asinine decision based on partisanship and not justice. These habits include going out only when it’s absolutely necessary, wearing face masks when you do go out, and being fastidious about washing your hands and not touching your face. Again, these things are harder than they sound. We’ve all seen the experts touching their faces. But if you put these habits into place and start an exercise routine in the bargain, you’ll live a healthier longer life and be a participant in the fight against COVID-19. (And if you need some inspiration, I recommend Samuel L. Jackson.)