The coronavirus is political. Wearing a mask is political. Criticizing scientists and doctors is now political. Doing what’s in everyone’s best interest is somehow debatable. This is America.
Randomly place 10 people from all races, religions, and ethnicities in a room for an experiment and I’m willing to bet everyone will be kind to each other. If someone falls, others will help to lift them. If someone gets hurt, most will see what they can do to help. If someone cries or gets angry, most will look to understand. Being in-person, together, brings out our highest ideals — it’s usually when we are at our best. But the minute we get some personal space and enough time to reflect we start to disengage. That quiet, menacing dark passenger begins to take over. Ingest the wrong media — add a little gas to the fire — and you have the right compound to drive us into divisive chaos.
First, we took on the national and global health officials, most of whom — regardless of what you may read — are doing a great job under the most adverse circumstances in a century. To be crystal clear on this: science is ever-evolving. If you lack faith in our health officials because they said don’t wear a mask in March and are now saying you must today, stop it. Stop believing that lifelong innovators, scientists — people who have dedicated their entire lives to making yours better — are now unreliable. Science is unfolding daily, as fast as it can, and developing new information by the minute. You should try to as well.
Then there are the anti-technocrats. A system most (have learned to) hate but I’m guessing have no idea what it is or why. Technocracy is an “ideological system of governance in which decision-makers are selected on the basis of their expertise in a given area of responsibility, particularly with regard to scientific or technical knowledge.” Should we question why Trump initially lauded Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx and now distances himself from them? Absolutely. Question everything. But it’s way more puzzling to me why they aren’t allowed to speak unconstrained, daily, giving the best up-to-the-minute reporting to help keep us all informed and safe. Why aren’t we mandating universal testing? Why aren’t the experts at the federal level coordinating this pandemic with state and local officials? If not them, why aren’t we promoting others to manage this? Ask yourself why other countries are working tirelessly in lockstep with their health officials to keep their residents safe and informed but we aren’t.
And then we charge the governors. Each is the commander-in-chief of their respective state. They are responsible for implementing state laws and overseeing the operation of the state executive branch. In Nevada’s case, Gov. Sisolak. He has done a bang-up job of keeping Nevadans safe. He is well-informed, well-intentioned, and is managing a ghost town economy the best he can. Las Vegas, in particular, is remarkably tough. As a city, it’s essentially non-essential. We provide escapism without restraint. We are also a worldwide pathogen test. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas (sorry, but not really). So, if you don’t like Sisolak’s heavy hand I ask you to reach out to the people who have contracted the virus. Ask them about their experiences. What was it like to go through COVID-19 if they’re still alive. What are the results of contracting it and surviving? If you know any health workers, ask them what they think about it. Also, do yourselves a favor and find out what other states are doing. How they are handling this separately? We are always at our best when we are well-informed.
And, finally, the anti-maskers. Nearly every state right now is walking back their reopening strategies and moving toward making it mandatory to wear masks in public. Red states, blue states; research this yourself. It’s not about your rights being trampled or party lines being crossed no matter who tells you otherwise. It’s about public health. If you can’t wear a mask because of a medical condition, please stay home. I imagine most reasonable people who are immunocompromised or have a condition that prevents them from wearing one would understand this with grace. But, for the sake of all of our sanity, the rest of us are wearing a mask for you. The least you can do is accept our compromise with grace. Like, actually, the least.
I often hear people say, “how do you know what’s right and wrong anymore?” “How do you know whom to trust?” My response is always the same. If all the world’s information was available to you to protect your family, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (which it is), and you were the only person responsible to ensure their safety (which you are), wouldn’t you take every precaution imaginable to make sure they were safe? Of course, you would. To the rest of you still unaffected by the virus/pandemic, loss of work, of human life, all of it, I’m sorry. I’m sorry you’re so unmoved by the human tragedy that you don’t even care. The good news is we care about you. Yes, even you. We will wear a mask for you and when this is all over we won’t even make you feel bad for being selfish. You wanna know why? Because most humans are always going to do their best to try and care for everyone else, including you. It’s who we are. It’s who we wish you were too.