You’re Free, But Stay In

This year has been a radical call to arms regardless of what side you fall on. If you’re on the President’s side, you’ve likely spent the last several months railing against the public health precautions and restrictions put in place to control the spread. And now, you’re likely upset about the election results, aiming to discredit them. If you find yourself opposing the President, you’ve hopefully managed to be safe, and you’re likely just waiting for the Trump presidency to come to an end. Either way, you’re likely feeling what various news organizations have been referring to as “COVID fatigue” – and that’s understandable.

We’ve all been hunkering down since March. We’ve been ordering everything online, watching too much TV, and largely overindulging in just about anything we can get our hands on. And that, believe or not, is the right thing to do. I’m naturally a homebody, and I have no problem with that. I enjoy my own company and I have no problem being alone, plus, I got a puppy in May so my life has been filled with joy once again. But, I do understand the fatigue. You feel like you have no life. You feel like you’re losing a year. And you know what? You do have no life. You are losing a year. But, the best thing you can do is embrace it – the worst thing you can do is fight it.

It’s evident that many people have become understandably disgruntled, and have even decided to shirk the precautions altogether. I personally have no problem wearing a mask. I love walking around with a hat, sunglasses, and a mask – I’m very hard to identify, and I dig that. But some people really hate the masks. And while I get that it’s an inconvenience, I’ve yet to understand just how it’s a violation of anyone’s freedoms. As usual, Americans’ view of freedom comes from a point of abject privilege. The complaints about masks, gyms, bars, restaurants, and stores, they’re so obviously born of a country who has had it so good for so long that it views consumer goods as part of their basic freedoms. They’re willing to take up arms because they want to eat inside an Applebee’s. It’s not worth it to eat at an Applebee’s when there’s no pandemic, let alone risking your safety and the safety of your neighbors during the pandemic.

I’m astounded at just how many people have either actively protested the restrictions or simply gave up on them. Driving around, I’ll see more people without masks than with – crowded bars filling up sidewalks with unmasked people in close quarters. It’s no wonder the country has never gotten over the proverbial hump in controlling this virus.

But many are so sure that their freedoms have been taken, so bent on doing exactly what they want to do, consequences be damned. There are so many for whom business closures amount to tyranny. These people are sorely misguided, and it should come as no surprise that many of these same people don’t care much for science either. To these people, I implore you to get it together. This isn’t about your freedom to live life as you always have, none of us are living as we always have. But being a good neighbor, that’s what matters. Helping others, yes, but even simpler, not resisting the science telling us how to best protect ourselves and each other. 

We’re all frustrated on some level, and that is understandable. But we have to keep our privilege in check. We have to make sure that the things we’re so upset about aren’t frivolous things that we’re lucky to have in the first place. Now more than ever, we need to distinguish our wants from our needs. While vaccines are coming, they’re not coming immediately, so we’re going to be in this a while longer. It’s been supremely embarrassing to see people protesting the protective measures. Only in America could safety from sickness become a partisan issue. 

So, I know you’re tired, but hunker down – talk more on the phone, read, write, make music, listen to music, draw, paint, drink, whatever you have to do to fill the time. Just know that the people to listen to are the scientists, not those claiming injustice who’ve known nothing but privilege their entire life. One this is for certain, you absolutely DO NOT know better than the scientists.

Published by Christopher Goodlof

Writer, Visual Artist, Musician

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