The Jack’s Winning Words blog used this quote today – “How long is a minute? It depends on which side of the bathroom door you’re on.”
Our recent collective experience with the COVID-19 pandemic has really been a test of our patience and resolve as a people and many have failed that test miserably. For many it really depended upon which side of the economic-impact “door” they were on when the crisis hit. Some had the wherewithal to withstand an interruption in their normal revenue stream and others did not. Many entered this crisis already in “barely hanging on” mode in their business or life and for them any interruption was bound to be devastating. Others either had sufficient reserves to whether the storm or they were able to work from home without an interruption of their pay.
The problems caused by the business interruptions was exacerbated by the almost total failure of the systems that state governments had in place to deal with job loss benefits. Michigan was particularly ill prepared and its unemployment system failed the State’s population miserably. The effort at the Federal level was similarly flawed as many still await their so-called “stimulus checks” over two months into the crisis. The bright spots that have been reported, such as community food banks stepping up, were primarily driven at the grass-roots level and not by any government actions.
Further straining our patience and resolve were the cretins who came out from under various rocks to put forth their conspiracy theories and claim that the whole thing is a hoax. It wears one down to have to continually deal with such stupidity, but it provided all of the cover that many needed to justify their defiance of the advice of health and governmental leaders. Most of them were on the other side of the economic door to begin with and needed only a little push to join the dark side.
One of the things that it was very easy to get impatient with is the messaging that we are bombarded with in the media. Everyone is here for us. We are all in this together. These are uncertain times. This is an unprecedented experience for us all. Yada, yada, yada. You would think that someone in those high-priced ad agencies could come up with a different message – one that doesn’t sound like a repeat of what everyone else is saying. Just say, “This sucks” and then provide a message of hope and patience.
We have now entered the “re-opening America” phase at the national and most states level. We will soon see stories of the virus reappearing and new “hot spots” developing in states that reopened first. Have we become conditioned, perhaps numbed, to a nightly body-count report and impatient enough to accept that report and the risk that we will become personally involved in the statistics? We have been through this kind of numbing experience and loss of national resolve before as a nation – the Viet Nam war comes immediately to mind and more recently the wars in the Middle East. We’ll probably even see some entrepreneurial merchant start selling “I survived COVID-19” t-shirts this summer.
As has happened in our national politics, we have quickly separated into the two camps. There are those who are cautious and concerned about the disease, willing to head the advice to stay away from others until it subsides ; and those who are impatient and perhaps unconvinced that the disease is a real threat and who want to (they say need to) get back to work. It is unfortunate that the camp that is willing to take that risk is able to do so only by putting us all at risk and finds comfort and support in messages from our Head Tweeter in Charge.
We all have a choice to make, again. One can regain their resolve and re-set their patience to wait this thing out in safety or one can go get a haircut and join the crowds at the newly reopened malls and hope that it was all an overblown hoax. It must sadden (perhaps anger) the brave men and women in the health care industry who have lived through caring for the first wave of this disease to see the second wave so eager to join the statistics.
The choice is yours to make. As for me, I’ll be at home praying for you to be safe.