By Steve Bailey
PROMPT—During Covid-19 ...
As one who has stayed home and ventured out for only food and medical needs for the last year and on those occasions wore a mask and continuously applied hand sanitizer, I am so ready for this pandemic to end. Apparently, a great many of my fellow Americans do not feel that way. Instead, they want this to be all about their freedom and refuse to wear masks, congregate in crowds, and run to lawyers to sue stores that have mask requirements. That their foolish behavior has created another spike in Covid-19 cases does not appear to mean a whole lot to them.
I should have seen this coming. In times of crisis like this, good leaders step up, implement plans, and begin the spin in the media necessary to get the people on board. These plans do not always turn out the way they hoped, and sometimes there are unintentional consequences, but they do make an effort. We all know no such leadership existed in the White House as this disaster expanded. The current administration is trying to catch up, but the burden is on the American people to use common sense, and that, it turns out, is more challenging than it seems.
Common sense tells us that wearing a face mask during a pandemic is not a political issue; it is a public health matter. In the last election, we in Virginia had a candidate for the United State Senator who said that if you want to feel tyranny, put on a face mask. Fortunately, most Virginians are not that stupid, but close to two million are.
Common sense tells us that we should not be gathering in groups in close settings during this pandemic. And yet, we are assembling in airports, flying in airplanes, and holding big family gatherings.
Common sense should tell us that if the number of cases goes up while we are inoculating against this nasty infirmity, we are doing something wrong.
Who benefits if we continue to kill each other by spreading this virus around? Vladimir Putin does. Xi Jinping does. Are the American people going to allow this virus to prove that democracy and freedom do not work under stress? Is this virus not a common enemy? Is not doing everything you can to fight this virus a patriotic duty? And if so, then is resisting things like wearing a mask in public, not unpatriotic? The government should be pushing this ideology with everything it can. And the news media should be contributing to it instead of giving the mask slackers a platform. Will we be able to pull ourselves out of this, or will those who imagine tyranny in every effort to make the country healthy bring us to our knees?
Steve Bailey is a retired middle school teacher starting a second career as a freelance writer. During his teaching years, Steve wrote articles about using computers in the classroom. Earlier in life, he wrote stories for two English language newspapers in Panama: The Panama American and The Star and Herald. Steve lives in Richmond, Virginia, where he writes fiction, creative non-fiction, long stories, and short ones too. He has a novel-long manuscript in search of a publisher. His blog is https://vamarcopolo.blogspot.com/