A Tale of Three States/ Who’s Throwing Caution to the Wind?/ Is Normal gone Forever?/ Long Live the New Normal
today at 8:01 am
In Sundays Chicago Tribune, Columnist John Kass probably hit on a theme that most people are thinking about but not actually saying it for fear of sounding either sympathetic or cruel. His headline says “AMERICANS ARE TOO AFRAID OF RISK. WE NEED BALANCE.” That balance will depend on one’s perspective of Illinois lockdown and massive restrictions in a state that has seen over 3,406 deaths due to the Coronavirus. Over 70,000 Americans have died from the virus (if one can believe the figures being released) make no mistake lots of folks are in doubt of some of the numbers. In Illinois alone the dead has surpassed 3,406 souls who have died. Add to that an economy countrywide that has collapsed to its lowest point ever. Over 20 million jobs were lost in April alone and many predict it is even worse than that and headed downward.
He goes on to say, “that all the economic ruin is due to the Governors shutting down commerce to fight the Coronavirus, but maybe the extreme social isolation of the young and healthy wasn’t the wisest course.” He asks how many more will die of alcoholism, drug addiction, suicide, stress, domestic battery, and on and on. Shamefully, even the horrendous violence amid this total shutdown has escalated to the point of being called an epidemic. Chicago’s killings and shootings are showing no effect from any of these restrictions.
John breaks it down as only he can, in simple and easy to understand points of view. First, we have those of us who want to get the country back to work, who are portrayed as selfish fools who just want people to die. Then we have those who will never want the lockdown to end and are dismissed as fearful Coronavirus Karens, peering out their windows, calling the police if they see someone walking on the street without wearing a mask. Seek Balance is the Kass theme. In my opinion, whoever coined the phrase, “WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER” SPENT WAY TO MUCH TIME AT DISNEY WORLD.
Neither John Kass or myself for that matter has criticized either party, the rushers who want the return to the only normal they know, or those who tend to ignore the other victims who are losing jobs and the disasters of losing one’s income can and will cause the longer this isolation continues. Critics are a part of almost any decision when there is doubt about an outcome. An old Irish philosopher once described critics that seemed to me to nail it, “CRITICS ARE LIKE EUNUCHS IN A HAREM: THEY KNOW HOW IT’S DONE, THEY’VE SEEN IT DONE EVERY DAY, BUT THEY ARE UNABLE TO DO IT THEMSELVES.” So here we have a house divided, no way out for some, most certainly we are not all in this together.
Is there a balance to be had that John Kass says we need? While Illinois is still in a lockdown and its residents are required to wear masks, I can tell you here in Florida and in Georgia that normal that some folks are longing for back in Illinois has resumed for about a week, with very few restrictions with the exception of social distancing recommendations. Restaurants are open both inside seating (25% capacity) and outside, the beaches are open, the bars are doing a great business, no liquor stores are closed at 9 p.m. and to be honest that social distancing recommendation is just not happening.
Yesterday I was in a Walmart shopping, unmasked folks were in a vast majority over those few wearing masks. Granted all the employees were masked up and they were applying a sanitizer to the shopping carts but social distancing was nowhere to be found. Crowed aisles, check out lanes and parking lots, the goings-on showed no visible fear of the virus whatsoever. Call it what you want reckless, progressive or what Kass called for BALANCE. Three states whose rules are so far apart, we will probably have to wait years to discover who was wise, who was overly cautious, and indeed who might have been foolish, maybe at a great cost. The question is what cost? We are in a great unknown. I can hear the voice of Rod Serling from the ’60s. The Twilight Zone. We are actually in a friggin twilight zone.
John Kass has had the guts and courage to ask some hard questions, now it’s up to us to be heard from. We are not in a Harem. We are being critical one way or another because our lives are being dictated to. One way or another if we all are thinking alike then nobody is thinking. Let’s hope for the Kass mantra WE NEED BALANCE. Richard Dawkins the great scientist always preached being open-minded but not so open-minded that our brains fall out. No doubt the future will record how we react to this challenge. Will they see the ugly side, the toilet paper, and hand sanitizer hoarders, the people who are convinced rules and decency do not apply to them, or will they see a generation that “produced persons of true character that was revealed in times of crisis or temptation.”Make sure you have what it takes to be your best in such times. A wise man once said.