If only.

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

I’m trying to avoid going too far down the “if only” path because, well, that way leads to frustration, a sort of circular bitterness unsuited to end-of-evening journaling.

One of my big lessons out of the pandemic and the US response to it (and, honestly, the response from many other places around the globe):

People want to feel independent. Held up from a certain angle, you’d say “yeah, selfish,” and yep, those who describe their choices of where they’ll go and whether they’ll wear a mask and how close they’ll get to people as “a choice I get to make for myself” while adding “that’s freedom,” well, it’s hard to take them back to 4th grade and say “let’s look that this freedom concept in the context of all your neighbors and coworkers.”

Here’s another one. A lot of people skim the information and then (they say) “trust their gut,” which is, of course, idiotic. This is a global crisis that involves an invisible thing that can spread from person to person without necessarily developing symptoms. The logarithmic math of the spread in our very connected modern world is hard for a bluster-filled leader used to skimming and making it up as he goes along to understand, let alone accept. If you define the problem as “damage to the economy” before you define it as “damage to humans who will lose jobs, be forced to work in dangerous conditions, spread it faster than you can measure,” well, that maybe in one teeny way explains why the President failed to lead for such a long time.

Reading about Columbia University modeling which suggests that starting what inevitably gets described as “the lockdown” 7 or 14 days earlier would have saved up to 36,000 American lives just triggers that “if only” instinct…I wanna toss up my hands and, well, having parsed all of that, let’s move forward and do the things we can do tomorrow and the next day.

Like being safe. And voting.