Nice in the time of Coronavirus

Monday, April 27, 2020
Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

What if, for a just a little while, we stopped the nastiness?
I know, I know, how idealistic of me.

When all this first started and items started to disappear from the shelves people began to worry. A local citizen started up a facebook group to spread information , help people locate necessary goods, and find out when their stores were operating. Everything was changing rapidly and this group did a fantastic job of providing community members with the information they needed.

After a couple of weeks, however, it started to get a little nasty. People started posting opinions and politics and eventually it became a place I didn't want to hang out anymore. As time has gone on, the supply of most items I want has balanced out anyway. I even managed to score a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer last week!

Life goes on, even during a pandemic, and it wasn't long before the memes started. They were funny and clever and at first, poked fun at this weird situation and all the ironies we were being faced with. But they slowly began to change. Suddenly all the friendship and comraderies started to disippate, and people began moving back to their corners. Instead of honest discussions about the repercussions real people were feeling, people started name calling. It didn't seem to matter which side you were on, you were wrong in someone else's eyes. 

Worried about getting your job back or paying your bills or not losing your business? Someone had something to say about that.

Scared of being forced to work as an essential worker. Someone was mad.

Scared of getting a disease that could be deadly? Geez. Obviously the left mainstream media had you fooled.

Worried about the government using this to limit your freedom (now or in the future)? Well, you are just a dumb trumper.

Boy, this will show those dumb anti-vaxxers!

Buy an extra bag or two of flour and rice because you are worried about your next paycheck? How selfish!

I think the very, very worst I have seen is people stating, "No medical care if you go to a rally. Let all the Trump-lovers get what they deserve." And believe me, I am no Trump lover. 

The truth is, many of us fall into more than one of those categories. Some people may put all their trust in the government and feel very secure with shutdowns. Others may remember governments of the past centuries and be very scared. The truth is, there can be unintended consequences and fallouts from ANYTHING, and we still don't have all the answers. 

And no matter which side you fall on and who you believe, your feelings are valid, and your thoughts  might be very real. We don't know how this will play out. We don't know know how long it will last, how severe it will be if it returns, if they will find a vaccine which works effectively. We don't know if governments and private corporations will take advantage of this to gather more control.

On top of all of these unknowns, everything in life has shifted. The smiling face at Walgreens is now behind a plastic partition and ugly blue mask. Every one in the store looks warily at everyone else, and people move away from others. I greeted a fellow teacher as we passed outside the school building a month ago, and while he smiled, he also moved a few steps away from me. It is hard not to take it personally when a person steps away as if you are diseased or dangerous. The Karen in me isn't used to this! I'll reach to grab a can of corn, and someone turns to look, and I think, "Oh my God, I am in their space." Yesterday, I witnessed one older gentleman reach out to another other man, knowing he was of the same political persuasion and say, "I am not afraid to shake your hand." As we stared in horror, the second gentleman smiled and said, "That's okay, I was just about to wash my hands, anyway."


This is not normal. None of this is normal. And to have every little aspect of life turned upside down and for how long, we don't know, is really hard. And to start splitting it into partisan ideals is just too distressing.

And I just wish, we could all listen a little harder. I wish we could listen to the scientists, consider the politicians, and accept our neighbor. I wish we didn't need to prove a point, by being gleeful at the thought of protesters getting sick, and I wish we would not reach out and shake a 74-year-old man's hand right now to prove a political point.


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