The current line from the Trump campaign is that we cannot continue to hide and that we have to get out and get the economy going again. In truth we all know that we cannot avoid being out in public forever and that we have to make attempts to bring a sense of normalcy to our nation. The main difference between those who fall in line with Trump’s thinking and those who find fault with his ideas is in how we go about keeping the wheels of progress moving.
Each of us has an important role to play in overcoming the damage that Covid-19 has done to our way of life. How we approach the rebuilding process must first and foremost deal realistically with the virus itself. That means that we have to continue to wear masks whenever we are in contact with people other than those who reside in our household. Doing so is a small sacrifice that pays big dividends both to us and to those whom we encounter.
People need to work. When it is possible for jobs to be done remotely that should be the case. Strict precautions should be in place for those who must report in person for the tasks that they do. Those masks become ever more important in enclosed areas but even when outside. It is something that we should learn to accept just as firefighters adapt to wearing very uncomfortable gear as part of their duties. If doctors and nurses can don gowns, masks, gloves and face shields for twelve hour shifts we should be willing to cover our noses and mouths and keep distances while engaged in the work that we need to do.
Our children must keep learning. School districts have mostly been quite accommodating in providing both face to face and remote teaching for the students. The health of our young and our educators is at stake so we have to be flexible in dealing with whatever challenges appear. Most importantly moms and dads must be vigilant and honest. No student should ever be sent to school if they demonstrate any symptoms of Covid-19 or if they have been exposed to the virus. We have to agree to adhere to unwavering quarantine protocols for the good of the educational community.
Wars, economic crises and pandemics require sacrifice from everyone. We do not have to follow annual rituals exactly as we always have. We can celebrate birthdays without an elaborate party. Halloween can be fun without Trick or Treating. We can be thankful without a big parade. Christmas can be wonderful on a smaller than usual scale. In other words it will not hurt us if we have to make some changes this year nor will our children become confused and undone. We can still celebrate the meaning and spirit of those occasions without creating potential super virus spreader conditions. We can teach our children important lessons about sacrifice and flexibility.
I am taking a continuing education course from Rice University that is totally online. I recognize some of the participants from previous classes. The professor is just as interesting on the screen of my laptop as he is in a classroom. There is no reason for all of us to gather together in person for ninety minutes each week and run the risk of getting someone sick. So it should be with anything that might work without contact. It is a small price to pay to move forward safely.
We are social creatures, but we are also thoughtful logical people. We have the ability to think and revise our ways of living. If we ignore the science simply because we do not want to change the way things always have been we are demonstrating a high level of foolishness. We should be willing to learn and adapt. If we do not, then the consequences may be dire. Those of us being careful are not hiding. We are attempting to gain control of the situation rather than simply leaving the outcome to fate.
I do not want anyone to have to suffer from Covid-19. Our president and most of the members of his party have led us astray with regard to how we should be handling this situation. There was no need for large in person political rallies at which few people wore masks or kept a distance from one another. It was dangerously selfish to hold such assemblies. It was the height of hubris and bad judgement for the President to shun masks and even make fun of his opponent for always wearing one. Masks are not a prop nor a sign of weakness. In fact wearing one when others are mocking the use of them demonstrates courage. Staying home when it is not necessary to go out and about is a sign of good judgement and concern.
The gathering of a large group in the rose garden of the White House to introduce the Supreme Court nominee was an exercise in bad taste on countless levels. It was done before the former justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, had even been buried. It threw all caution to the wind by seating everyone elbow to elbow. Only a tiny handful of people who were there wore masks. They were conversing and hugging and shaking hands, all activities that the medical community has asked us not to do. The optics were shocking and in poor taste. The example for the rest of the nation was horrific. It was as though everyone there had lost their sense of judgement, an ironic twist given that the event was hosted to name an individual who will one day potentially be passing judgement on the laws of the land.
Now we are dealing with the not so shocking news that our President, First Lady and many political leaders contracted Covid-19. We can show them compassion as we hope that they all recover but it would be wrong to give them a pass for being so cavalier. What they have been doing is wrong and it is prolonging the misery that we must all endure. Sadly even now they are continuing to underplay the absolute recklessness of their behavior and even accusing Joe Biden of using masks and caution as a prop.
It is one thing to carefully reboot the economy. It is another to attempt to go back to our routines with abandon and no regard for the safety of all people. Everyone who was present at the event that created so much sickness within the Republican party should have immediately quarantined for fourteen days just as teachers and students and employees have to do in similar circumstances. President Trump should have suspended every single rally and fundraiser on his schedule as soon as someone in his inner circle became ill. He too should have quarantined until he was certain that he had not somehow become a host for the virus. These are the kind of common sense tactics that will more quickly get us back to normal, not pretending that we must all toss the dice and depend on the good graces of God to take us out of this horrific situation. The Lord has given us our minds to solve problems. We should use them.