A simple but
profound call to action
At some point in any protracted discussion there comes a time when opinions no longer are going to change. Everyone has entrenched beliefs, and all the evidence in the world won’t alter their opinions.
It’s becoming painfully obvious we’ve reached that point with COVID-19. Those so embroiled in the politics of denial and misplaced concerns about personal liberty no longer can see evidence like the rapidly soaring number of cases in Marion County since government refused to act to protect its citizens.
Polite folks have reached the point where we agree to disagree. Others are at that stage in arguments where foot-stamping, raised voices, hurled epithets, and willingness to accept as gospel the shakiest of evidence that bolsters their position prevail.
Local government, unfortunately, has chosen to appease these people — some of whom actually sit, at least for now, on various governing bodies. Like believers in a flat earth, they’re not going to have their opinions changed by this or any other editorial. So at this point, we now switch into a mode of preaching to the choir.
Since government largely has abdicated its responsibility, it’s now up to us, as individual citizens, to take matters into our own hands.
What can be done?
1. Boycott businesses, churches, schools, and other activities that do not require all visitors and staff to wear face coverings anytime they come within six feet of each other.
2. Do not participate in, become a spectator for, or let your tax dollars be used to support any sport or entertainment event not absolutely necessary to maintaining a functioning society and economy.
3. Encourage schools and colleges to begin planning now to conduct the entirety of their fall semesters and possibly their spring semesters via remote instruction and to cancel all educationally unnecessary extracurricular activities, including sports.
4. Get an advance ballot for upcoming elections and plan to vote for candidates who have based their decisions in this crisis on the best scientific knowledge available, not on the political posturing of radical fringes that deny science or the wishful thinking of plutocrats who care only about making money.
5. Stay at home whenever possible. Shop locally. Converse with out-of-town friends and relatives by phone or computer. Avoid all unnecessary trips outside your home.
6. Continue trying to educate self-absorbed refuseniks who insist this is all fake news, a plot to limit their freedom, or something made up by some Chinese cell phone company or an opponent of President Donald Trump.
7. If you can’t make others see the truth, shun them and prevent them from interacting with the community that they seem hell-bent on destroying because it’s their personal right to do so.
8. Oppose any attempt to extend sick pay or other benefits to people whose dangerous behavior results in their own illness or, worse yet, the illness of innocents who are trying to limit spread of COVID-19.
As a society, we have spent trillions and watched countless businesses and jobs go away not to prevent COVID-19 but merely to keep it from spiking all at once. Too quickly resuming normal activities will make this very serious, multi-generational investment totally meaningless.
In Marion County, we have an aging and not especially well-trained or affluent population. Few of our businesses are entrepreneurial or deep-pocketed enough to weather a storm of this magnitude. The federal government will bankrupt society if it tries to bail everyone out. Our community quite literally is at high risk of devastation if not outright annihilation.
Now truly is the time to come to the aid of our community by collectively stepping up and filling the leadership vacuum exhibited by too many of our elected and appointed officials.
How many wake-up calls do we need before we recognize the Golden Rule: Our masks protect you. Your masks protect us.
— ERIC MEYER