“I can’t believe you actually believe that!”
“Don’t you know this is just going to ramp up again? Or don’t you care about anyone beside yourself?”
“Look at the long term affects of this, I think this will have some worse after affects”
“Not everyone has that luxury”
“Can’t you see how this is disproportionately affecting those of a lower economic class, especially people of color?”
“Wow, you think it’s okay to do this, but not that? How does that make any sense”
Here’s my personal, unasked for, but freely given hot-take on all of this anxiety inducing, rage bubbling, rhetoric.
People are generally trying their best and are not intentionally malicious.
Since this pandemic began in the US almost three months ago, emotions have become strained. There is a lot of confusion and fear. People’s normal way of living has been in a large way thrown out of rhythm. Life stopped for some and for others became chaotic overwork load. One of the most difficult aspects about this entire scenario is that no one knew what would happen and everyone was making their best attempts to find the right way to handle this unknown situation.
No one was prepared.
You can have all the data, all the information, run all the simulations you want and still not be exactly prepared. We were concerned with making sure the spread was kept to a minimum. How do you know well enough that the curve has flattened sufficiently? There are many people with the exact same credentials giving contrasting results. That’s normal when there are so many unknowns.
But how do we know what to do then?
We don’t, but you know what’s a relief and should be freeing? No one knows, so that means everyone is in the same place trying their best to figure out how to handle this as best as possible.
Recently I’ve felt overwhelmed with this anxiety that others are having about what to with moving “forward”. There are people I know that are jobless and don’t know where to turn next. There are people with jobs terrified to return to work and put themselves (and their loved ones) in a vulnerable place). People I know leaving for “safer places” and people who wish they could but have no where else to go. And everyone is reacting to their unique circumstances in a way that is completely understandable.
The discussions about whether we overreacted or we still are not reacting strong enough are important to have, how else will we learn (even if we still don’t know which one is true). The concern whether the government is overstepping or being too lax is also an important conversation. The obvious discrepancy between protestors and racial bias is an important conversation to have. The discussion over body autonomy is an important discussion to have.
Taking a step back when you see people are acting in ways that appear to be contradictory to former statements it’s important to note, people will always argue in favor of their bias. It’s human nature.
Black Lives Matter protestors frustrated over the egregious unfortunate visualization of white armed protestors is understandable, but I wonder is the question whether they should be allowed to protest or whether what their protesting about of significance to you? The same goes for those who say that if “people just did what the police asked” rage at the injustice of being told what to do, I wonder is the discussion about whether you think compliance is the answer only if you agree with the law?
Pro-life people who say it’s a personal right to put themselves at risk, do you think the same goes for those who say the same in regards to pregnancy. The argument goes that it’s not just one life but two in terms of pregnancy, does not the same logic apply to those who could be harming others with their own “personal risk assessments”. And those who would say it’s a personal choice, how can you not see the argument here as well.
All I am saying is I wonder if we looked more honestly at our motives will we begin to understand others better. We justify our stances with our personal beliefs. Absolutely that makes sense, but if we are to use logic without hypocrisy we must look a little deeper, and I think that’s fine. That’s the point. What are you really upset about? Is it the law? Is it other people’s actions? Or rather is it a sense of personal justices that has been affronted? Someone else is getting away with something that you have been expected to adjust for? And it’s not fair?
Many American Christians are using the argument that if grocery stores and liquor stores can handle being open than so should they, ignoring that there are still capacity minimums in grocery stores and liquor stores, not to mention you don’t regularly sit inside a grocery store over an hour singing and talking to a lot of people. There’s a perception of being “attacked” when in other countries meeting in small groups of 10, hiding from the government is the norm and they’re not fined for breaking the law, in many cases they’re imprisoned or killed.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t meet up, but what is the church really?
The church is a group of people worshipping together and sharing life. And that is very difficult to do alone. That’s the real hardship.
And a lot of people are experiencing it, and fighting against it. There is sadness. Places of worship are spaces where people can gather and curb the edging loneliness, the hopelessness of life. Let’s be honest here, the reason we want to gather as a church is because we want hope, we want love. And that’s an okay thing to want.
That is probably also why the “Karens” want their hair salons and coffee shops open. People are despairing and they need human connection to feel comfort.
All that being said, perhaps we can do better at figuring ways to do that in a smart and safe way.
I’ll be the first to admit, I loved having people “break quarantine” for me when my mom died. Some friends invited me over to be at their house for dinner and dessert. Other friends came by my apartment for dinner and quality time. So I am grateful.
After my mom died, I “broke” the rules and flew to my dad’s place in Oregon and we moved him out. Drove down to California and stayed with my sister a while. I lied to the grocery store clerk when she checked my NY ID and about had a heart attack that I was out in the world. I said I had been out of NY for over two weeks when it had only been twelve days. I knew I had been careful, but instead of explaining all my precautions I just lied to make her feel more at ease. Do I regret it, no. Get mad at me for being irresponsible.
From California we drove through Arizona and New Mexico to Texas, where my grandparents live and where my dad would live. Each state had slightly varied requirements but all were trying to do their best with social distancing and cleaning. Being from NY I can tell you first hand that the risk was much lower in those wide open spaces. Why should people who live in densely populated areas tell people who don’t how to stay safe? Why should people who live in low risk environments tell those who live and work in high risk areas when they should reopen?
Your friend living in a large four bedroom home telling you to reopen the economy doesn’t understand what it’s like to live in a two bedroom in a building with over a hundred people. Your son’s friend or your niece living in a tight metropolis cannot understand that the closest you’ve been to a person in weeks is at the drive through.
People who have invested all their life savings into a company will have different fears than those who haven’t. I understand first hand what it is to work food service and how frustrating it is to have someone who has never been behind a register tell you how to do your job or why you should be grateful for work, but I have never had to take out multiple loans to get a business afloat, tied all my worth to a business.
What am I driving at?
If we all begin to understand that the rhetoric is not the real fear we can begin to have real conversations.
We make funny memes about extroverts struggling, but seriously in the same way introverts don’t want to be shamed for leaving an event needing to protect their mental health, how do we help people who are emotionally starving right now? Do we just say, “get over it?”
When people talk about “restarting the economy” to they talk about the long term concern for human life not having resources? How long can a government sustain this? For the frontline workers in “essential business” when they speak about their anxiety do we listen or just say, “be grateful you have work”.
It’s complicated and messy, but perhaps if we start with, “I’m afraid” or “I’m feeling…” maybe we can begin to work through this.
Life is scary and dangerous, and I think because we in the US have had “generally” an easy time this is a reminder that life is risky and scary, but overcoming is what makes life worth it.
The people who want to be with others again aren’t intentionally trying to hurt others, they’re scared and lonely. The people who want to not rush out the door are not intentionally trying to hurt others, they’re scared and cautious.
Using false logic, listening to pundits who benefit from chaos, passing on click-bait videos will continue to divide and hurt one another.
I’ll finish with a story. [TW: Suicide]
Yesterday, on my (social distant) run I noticed a lot of helicopters and boats near Brooklyn Bridge. Continuing on the path I ran through probably the densest grouping of people I’ve seen in a while all looking up. There was a man standing on the top of one of the major braces for the bridge and police officers visibly talking to him. I kept running. I have in the past had the misfortune of walking towards a building as someone jumped off and had no desire to experience that again.
Why do we stop? Why do the cameras start aiming up? What were they waiting for? I am hoping most were wishing to see a successful rescue, but in any case there was money to be gained with photos sold to the news and media outlets. Why? Because news and media make a profit off of salacious images, images that we can’t help be curious enough to look at, to click on.
Wouldn’t it make sense if the same were true regarding this pandemic. There is profit to be gained with news, with click bait, with quipped titles that help form or ratify personal bias. There is little money to be gained from the stories of unity and health.
You will hardly ever see articles that don’t fan the flame of contention.
I’ll end my rant here, please, please understand. That person that you disagree with is scared, too and like you doing what they think best in their situation.