Echo chamber.

Monday, May 25th, 2020

I think the reason I occasionally dive into the depths of the Twitter and “offer” my thoughts to those who, for example, think “sports should be back,” period, full stop, is not that I think I can persuasively open their eyes to the light of day…no, no.

I think there is a useful non-futile effort in making sure that their world, for a brief moment, extends beyond the echo chamber of their golf buddies and fellow Rush Limbaugh listeners. Even if they’re not persuaded, they are just a tiny bit aware that their opinion is not universal.

Look! Behold! A guy who looks like them is saying that you can’t just read up a bit and “common sense” this pandemic any more than your gut can land a 787 or your instincts can calculate the parabola of a missile. Math exists (among many other reasons) to help us do the right thing even when that trajectory, that timeline, that curve is not intuitive.

They often slap back with something like “well, you can hide in your house if you want, but I’m out here with my friends having a beer.”

And I want to reply that I’m not hiding at all, but I am following the guidelines, but they’d rather chant “USA! USA!” And tune that out.

I honestly believe (and I’m quoting my own tweets here) that schools used to teach us—explicitly— how to be and that you should be responsible members of society, which by definition means learning a certain empathy and understanding about how your actions affect those down your street, in your county, in your state.

Somewhere in the past two or three decades, maybe at the end of the Cold War, that particular curricular McNugget got dropped, only to be replaced by some sort of “freedom means whatever the hell you want to do” idea that is more selfish 14-year-old than it is societal leadership.

“I’m willing to risk it” carries with it no sense that in a real, connected world you are not deciding for yourself.

“It’s my choice” only works in a vacuum.

Maybe, months from now, we’ll be teaching societal responsibility anew, as a lesson for the next generations.