Friday, March 13, 2020

COVID-19 and politics should not mix

I’m so exhausted.

No, I do not have coronavirus.

I am exhausted from listening to the many different arguments surrounding this current COVID-19 pandemic.

I gave my husband a ride to work today. On the ride home, I listened to a local morning show on the radio. Callers were arguing for and against how our government is dealing with this outbreak. Should we have halted flights from Europe? Did we ban travel from China quickly enough? Was this virus created by the Democrats to interfere with the election this year? Was this virus created by the Republicans to interfere with the election this year? Everyone has an argument to support their stance on the subject and they all believe themselves to be absolutely correct. No news there. Isn’t that the beauty of being American? We can think for ourselves and come to our own conclusions and make decisions for ourselves based on those conclusions, whether they are based in true fact or not.

Where the whole thing went south for me was when the host of the radio show got irritated with a caller who was defending the president’s decision to halt travel from the EU for 30 days. He said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah...I see now. You’re one of those Trumper Fan Boys.” The caller was (understandably) offended by that comment and said so. The host then said, “I don’t care if you’re offended. It’s true. I can hear it in your voice. As far as you’re concerned, Trump can do no wrong. You’re part of his cult.”

The caller was not saying anything that could really be construed as wild or far-fetched; only that he thought it was good that travel from countries more heavily affected by the virus is being halted for a while in order to let the virus run its course. The radio host, however, went on the attack. I honestly wanted to call in, because in my opinion the radio show host was being over-the-top dramatic by taking what this caller said and turning it into childish name-calling rather than having an intelligent discussion.

It brought to mind a conversation I had with someone yesterday. I respect this person a great deal, but we are on opposite sides politically. She sees this president as a toxin. I see many of the prominent Democrats in Congress as a far worse and widespread toxin. But here’s the thing that I pointed out to her: she can voice her opinion without fear of being attacked, verbally and physically. I cannot.

My husband jokes about wanting to buy himself a MAGA hat. It isn’t that he thinks they look good or are a wise fashion choice. He just doesn’t like the fact that everyone on the left can scream and yell and cry and stomp their feet and protest and, generally, force their political opinions and feelings and beliefs down the throats of everyone and we’re all supposed to just take it, but he can’t wear something that shows who he supports without fear of physical attack.

What is wrong with that picture?

Of course, because I love my husband and would prefer he not be physically attacked or shoot anyone, I have asked that he not wear a MAGA hat or anything else that shows he supports President Trump. Instead, we just plan to vote.

Back to COVID-19 though. This virus is no joke, to be sure. Neither was H1N1, Ebola, SARS or any of the others we have faced in the past. Do I believe there should be widespread panic and a run on toilet paper? No, I don’t. Of course, why should you believe me? I’m not a doctor. I’m just a logical person. If you take proper precautions - wash your hands, cover your cough/sneeze, stay home if you are having cold or flu symptoms, don’t go into large crowds if you don’t have to - then you are probably safe. Personally, I would not be traveling right now, but that’s just me.

On a larger level, I think closing our borders is a great idea. If there is a possibility that we will have more cases needing hospital beds than we have hospital beds for, why would we be foolish enough to let more people into the country? I care about humanity, but I’ll be honest - the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans should not be AS free or AS readily available to non-Americans in times like these. I should not have to worry that, should I need a hospital bed, one is not available because it is already taken by someone here illegally. That is not saying that I think an illegal alien should not be treated if they are already in the country and become sick. Of course I think all people should be treated, but if we can stop more illegal people from entering the country and possibly taking up beds in hospitals that (I feel) American citizens should have priority for, then yes, I think we should close our borders.

It is absolutely ridiculous in a time like this that people are still playing partisan political games. If you are one of those doing it, just stop. Seriously. Unless you have completely lost your ability to be human, stop. That is not who we should be.

Now, back to your regular programming.

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