Sunday, April 26, 2020

There I Said It - What Pisses Me Off About This Pandemic

Lying in bed thinking about the virus and how it affects us
I woke up this morning agitated, but I couldn't quite put my finger on why. It's Sunday, and we usually relax when getting up a little more than normal. I just lay there and fumed a bit. Then it dawned on me. This whole ridiculous issue over the Coronavirus has just upended everything.

I started thinking about our Sunday routine. Kat and I normally get up and go grocery shopping for the week. Before that though, we normally go have lunch together, Well, then it dawned on me. Something as simple as getting lunch at a fast-food restaurant wasn't going to happen unless we take it out. That hasn't happened in weeks. A whole lot hasn't happened normally since this COVID-19 thing happened.

My fiance's youngest son was getting married in May. That had to be postponed. So many people have had to change their plans to avoid a virus. Honestly, it's infuriating. We planned to take my oldest son to California to see the beach. We planned to show him one of our favorite areas. This would have been the first time to even be on a coast. This had to be put off as well. My Mom is sick in a hospital and I can't go see her. The whole thing is just so frustrating.

I got to thinking about this virus. I started thinking about the theories about where the sickness originated. I don't hate anyone, and I certainly won't single out a people group to be treated unfairly. However, if there is a possibility that there were people in China that might have had something to do with this we should get to the bottom of it. If there is a chance that someone released something, accidentally or on purpose, that has stolen time from us then they should face consequences for holding us hostage. It also amazes me that there are people who don't think holding anyone accountable is a priority. Why, do we want to cheapen this act and just chalk it up to an "it is what it is" moment? Taking lives captive and banishing them behind doors when they have done nothing wrong is ridiculous.

Fighting over the virus instead of placing blame where it belongs
Folks in our country are blaming the President or Government, and they are trying to shame others into giving up personal freedom because it's for our own good. I am reminded of a story of a battle at sea where a Captain is watching his crew bicker and fight with one another because they have become complacent. They have obviously lost track of their mission and the focus isn't where it should be. Looking through his telescope and lowering it. He removes his pistol from his belt and fires it into the air. When the crew snaps to quiet and looks stunned in the direction of the gunshot they see their Captain point out to the sea. "The enemy is out there!" the Captain exclaims. We are so busy throwing fear around we seem to forget that our neighbors didn't do this to us. The fear-mongering needs to stop.

Think about this for a minute. If some folks in a country had held this important information from us for as long as they did, do you think they had our best interest in mind? If they, in fact, are now talking about how amazing they have done with the virus and how bad Americans are handling things do you think their focus is the betterment of mankind as a whole? They didn't keep folks from leaving their country. They didn't allow us access to information so we could help others including them. There is also very little chance that this was purely an accident. If the virus came out of nowhere that's one thing, but the fact that China didn't react to protect the world is malicious. I don't dislike a people group for any reason, but I am pissed at the folks who let this get out of hand because they were trying to save face, That is, in essence, criminal.

I am irritated by the news sources that want to make this issue about anything other than the actual facts. In my mind, if you are ignoring facts and using a 24-hour news cycle to push any agenda other than where the blame belongs, the Chinese Government, that is also negligent at best. Those news sources aren't protecting us either. They are no better than the Chinese Government and World Health Organization who lied to us when they told us this virus wasn't going to spread between individuals. Facts give people an actual group of people to hold accountable. That's why pointing fingers everywhere is useless.

When you don't stick to a real fact base you are promoting opportunities for people to utilize fear to single people out that don't deserve scrutiny. When a Government official is putting out a "Snitch Line" to help you keep tabs on their neighbors that is a pure example of fascism, and it subverts personal freedom.  It's time to stop making enemies of other Americans. This isn't the time. We are not the enemy. Every legal American citizen is entitled to personal freedom. It's time to stop using fear and shaming into trying to make people do what you want them to do. They are not your enemy, and it isn't our place to tell them how to react. It's your responsibility to be the example you want to see and let others be who they are.

We will get through this, but we need to remember who actually put us in a position where we needed to put our lives on hold, and stop lashing out at other Americans because we are scared. I would love your feedback because that is what helps us all grow. What is it that irritates you right now? I am curious what others think on this subject. We only get one life, and I am ready to get mine back to normal. What about you?

Friday, March 20, 2020

Simple Social Mathmatics - Reacting During Crisis

From the title, you might be thinking this is another piece about using a scientific approach to the rate of infection for a COVID-19 scenario. It isn't. I'm not a scientist. I've been observing people and their behavior for quite some time. This post is more specifically an observation about what I see in society today. Please hang with me a few minutes and I promise this will all make sense in the long run - I hope.

The Equation

I was listening to Greg Gutfeld speak on a TV show the other day and he said something that really made sense to me. He mentioned that when he gets up in the morning he has to decide if he is going to impact the world positively or negatively each day. Simply stated, am I going to be a plus or minus to society.

When we deal with a particular situation you have to mentally decide how you want to impact a situation. Some people do that instinctively and others really have to work at it.

There are some folks that just say that they are who they are and that won't change. Well, maybe that is honest, but I think there are some traits that affect people negatively whether they want to hear it or not. Unfortunately, with social media being so prevalent, the factor of general anonymity can compound that issue.

Plug-In New Factors

So, with this all being said let's add in some factors that this COVID-19 virus adds to the mix. There is a whole lot of uncertainty that this occurrence has created. First, no one truly knows how things are going to affect them. Will we have a job tomorrow? Should we actually go to work if we do? What am I going to do if I get sick? Is that guy right there next to me going to do the right thing when it comes to all of this? What about the stores. What if they don't have what my family needs? What if the Government decides to shut everything or nothing down?

When you look at these questions some of them are things you have some control over, and some of them you may have little or no ability to manage. There's the rub. What do you do with the things you can't manage?

Some folks in their concern, or fear, turn to social media to put in their two cents. We can pretend we have the plan in mind that needs to happen and we have to share it. We hope that enough people jump on board or like something enough to make us feel better. Woe be unto those that don't appreciate our opinions.

If we apply this to the initial equation, am I going to be a plus or minus in this situation, some aspects might help us realize that our plus might actually be a minus overall. If you ask yourself, "How might I react if someone said this to me?" If that response is something like, "I don't know that &%*# so and so, and just who do they think they are?" You may have revealed that your plus is more like a minus. If you don't think through what you said at all and you just say something because you have to. This may also reveal a minus. If virology isn't your area of study you might be best to start your post with "It's my opinion" instead of "thou shall". Truthfully, you have to decide if your statement is actually beneficial to the conversation or you just want to vent. While venting is good for you, putting it in a public forum where a whole bunch of other people are unsure then it might just be a minus after all.

While those things you can't control irritate you, does it really do the world good for you to try and jump online and get it all out?

I live in Branson, Missouri, and there are a lot of folks that think that the city officials came late to the decision party. Is there an aspect or two that we may not understand about the issue that may steer their decisions or movements? Could we handle that differently to make things more effective? Taking the time to understand and listen a little more than we speak could easily turn a minus into a plus. It's hard to protect people and their freedoms at the same time. When it all comes down to it, the only thing you are accountable for is yourself. Yes, you might have kids, but they may make decisions you can't control. A city official is accountable for a whole lot of lives. Your opinion is your opinion, but it's also a reflection of the way you view the situation. The big picture is a whole different story.

What Does My Opinion Add Up To

I have been trying to apply this to my life and I don't always find it easy. Anyone that knows me will tell you that I have a tendency to feel like my opinion is pretty critical for the world to hear. I don't "just be quiet" well at all. However, I am finding that being quiet might be the biggest plus for a given situation.

I believe most of us are stressed about this virus thing for many reasons. I work multiple jobs like a lot of you. They've both slowed or closed. I have to get away from social media otherwise I get dragged down the rabbit hole and my mind locks onto stuff that often isn't good for me. I guess part of why I wrote this is because I wonder if I am not the only one who struggles with this.

We all have to decide whether our comments and reactions in life, whether that be on social media or at the grocery store, is going to add or subtract from the life equation.

I am curious about what things help you to get yourself to the plus side in things. I wrote this as more of a fluid conversation than a piece that shows I have all the answers. One of the things I try to do to center myself is write. It's part of my vocation but it's also something I am passionate about. If this shows up somewhere in social media and you feel the need or desire to comment below, I would love to hear your opinions. All I ask is that we keep it on topic, and don't single anyone out. You might be thinking that you know someone that needs to hear this, but, and here's the catch, *think*, will they see that as a plus or a minus in the way you try to deliver this?

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I look forward to hearing from you.