“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”
When Bobby Kennedy spoke those words, I don’t think he pictured history being written by millions of Americans staying home and watching “Ozark”. And while it’s mildly amusing to think of relaxing on our sofas as accomplishing something important, that is very much the “work” we must do to change a small portion of this event and keep our communities from being ravaged.
We all know there is more to do right now than park ourselves in front of our big screens. Give blood. Collect for depleted food pantries. Check in on elderly neighbors. Volunteer where and how you can safely do it.
Sadly, we must now add one more thing to the list of important things to do. At this moment, we must open our mouths and scream from our windows that staying home to reduce the spread is an act of community, an act in furtherance of what FDR once called our “sacred obligation” to each other.
To quote Yogi Berra, it’s deja vu all over again. We did this just a month ago. But not surprisingly, there is a small but vocal group of people who are willing to risk illness or death to lift lockdown orders and go back to work or to whatever it is they feel like doing. The problem is that the illness and death they’re willing to risk is yours and mine.
This is not partisan. I don't care what “wing” these people are. If they were my best friends or family, I would still tell them they’re wrong. And I would tell them to their faces that they’re being CovidDopes.
Left up to the CovidDopes, stay-at-home orders would be removed. Whether it's because they’re contrarians, don’t believe in science, legitimately fear for the economy or are true sons of liberty, they are demanding to be as unfettered as those living in states whose governors have not issued stay-at-homes. Free to do what they want when they want. Social distancing because they choose to — if they choose to. You know, the kinds of things we all wish we could do, except most of us understand the consequences of acting that way right now.
Unfortunately, leaving it up to the sound judgement of each individual doesn’t seem to be working very well. Johns Hopkins University data shows that, in states without stay-at-home orders, in the past week, Oklahoma had a 53% increase in cases, Arkansas 60%, Nebraska 74%, Iowa 82% and South Dakota 205%. At their rallies, this small group of people should be chanting “Give me liberty AND give me death.”
Right now, CovidDope groups rallying in certain states have miniscule numbers. But the media is paying attention, apparently along with Donald Trump, who seems to see a reelection strategy at a time I wish he was seeing scientific facts and fatalities. All of which makes the C-Dope demands very concerning to experts, as well as many of us laypeople.
I don't want to stay at home a minute longer than necessary and it’s clear that enormous damage is being done to our economy. I had to close my business on March 19 so I understand all too well what this pandemic is doing to people’s finances. But no matter their reasons, I am unwilling to let a few endanger the masses.
The job ain’t done.
It’s not a happy thought. Sacrifice never is.
As America tried to climb out of the Great Depression, there were actually 4 years of steady economic growth accompanied by a huge decrease in the unemployment rate. Then, in 1937, Roosevelt pulled back on government spending and the economy plunged back into another recession. The job wasn’t done.
This is our time to be strong and continue to wait this out. Simply wanting it to be over doesn’t make it so. Let’s resolve to finish this one the right way. To make more noise than the CovidDopes. To refocus the national conversation. To make the White House hear us.
“Opening the economy” is vital. Keeping the virus at manageable levels so our hospitals don’t get overwhelmed and fewer people die is more vital.
Let’s write the history of our generation to say we did what was necessary to save lives. Then, we dove back in and saved people’s livelihoods. In that order.