The nation is divided on how to address this pandemic. I believe the difference in perspectives mirrors our dual-party political sentiments. On one hand, we have alarmists who act based on fear. Their anxiety propels them to enforce control over their surroundings, so that they can feel calm and safe, and in such, as a group, they endeavor to control the entire population. Then we have the pragmatists, who are not as easily swayed by emotion, instead guided by concrete reasoning, typically taking into consideration the larger picture and reserving judgment until all facts are assessed. One group consists of glass half-empty worriers and the other is generally more stable and dependable.
Those who are driven by fear are more likely to listen to the mainstream media and readily believe stories without questioning the underlying motives of a for-profit organization in a dying industry, where sensationalism captures viewers and ad dollars. Fear is a workhorse for news organizations, manipulating the populace in adopting the views scripted by the 1% who control the airwaves with their pocketbooks. Our modern media preys on those who recklessly lead with their emotions. This is how we got to this point. This is why the country was shut down.
But what are the ramifications? Are the measures taken to flatten the curve too extreme and infringing upon our civil liberties? Have we ever actually had freedom if it can be stripped from us so easily? Are workers’ rights a joke if at any time the government can decide to prevent us from earning a paycheck? Is this actually an effort to rein in Americans and test the boundaries of The Constitution by leveraging the fear of a portion of our population, that can’t help but be afraid, so as to enact totalitarian rule?
Every major event in recent modern history that has prompted the government to encroach on our freedoms has resulted in us losing those rights in the long term, being told that it is for the safety, and in the best interest, of the American people. Instead of protesting for freedom, as we once did in generations past, we protest for greater governmental control over our lives. But this won’t be accepted by the masses without good reason, so you bet this situation has been politicized to seize control. We are the pawns in this game.
What else does this cost us? There are swathes of vulnerable populations in the United States. Home ownership is down, which means many Americans are renters. While forbearance is an option for those with a mortgage, how will others escape eviction when bills can’t be met? The unemployment claims system is inundated and buckling under the weight, leaving many without a viable safety net while they await help for a situation that was out of their control and came without warning. Encountering similar hardships in their personal lives, small business owners additionally face trouble accessing funds to cover their overhead during the economic shut down. With the unprecedented load on social programs, there are many uncertain as to how they’ll feed their children, let alone themselves. Meanwhile, COVID-19 statistics warrant scrutiny over the true death rate and pose the question: Was this really worth it?
We cannot be rescued from this politically. No stimulus package can save America and stave away the hunger felt by millions when that money meets delays in reaching us. Politics spearheaded this devastation. Our fear of death is causing human suffering, and perhaps this suffering is much worse than death as you are left to live it. The “cure” must not be worse than the disease.