My conservative, Republican neighbor (and my best friend in the neighborhood) was in Boston earlier this summer when he spotted a T-shirt and sent me a photo. It said, “COMMON SENSE is so rare these days, it should be classified as a SUPERPOWER”. We both agreed and that will form the basis of today’s article which I will end with a pearl of personal wisdom appropriate to today’s America and the situation we find ourselves in.
We are experiencing another coronavirus spike mainly because we failed to get enough Americans vaccinated soon enough allowing the virus to mutate. As I write this more restrictions that we felt we had left in the rearview mirror are being reinstituted. While not welcome, they are necessary.
Locking people down, shuttering the economy and having us all run around with masks on are things the overwhelming majority of Americans do not like. In the earliest days of the pandemic, I wrote that restricting Americans’ movements would be difficult. It runs contrary to our self-image and attitude. We feel we are Americans; we defeated the Nazis and the communists. We live in a free country and we can do pretty much anything we please. That may not be completely accurate but that is how we feel and we take tremendous pride in that.
We were fortunate in that science developed several incredibly effective vaccines against COVID-19 in historically short order. In its earliest days the Biden administration make them widely available and free. Because we are one of the wealthiest countries on the planet that all that was achievable.
As time went on, the vaccines replicated testing as highly effective with almost none existent serious side effects (except in right wing mythology). Yet a significant portion of the population is refusing to get them. They want the (tremendous) benefit without the (minimal) cost. Typical of the something for nothing crowd.
With the possible exception of a few nut cases and hard core Republicans dedicated to making Joe Biden’s term a failure at any cost, we all want to return to something as close to the pre-pandemic normal as possible. (Hopefully we learned a few lessons along the way and the post-pandemic normal is an improvement over the 2019 version.) Americans want to be able to travel freely including dining and congregating in places like movie theaters, houses of worship and concerts. We certainly want to go to stores and our workplaces. We want to be able to make a buck and the smart one among us want our neighbors to do the same. In it’s simplest form, my neighbor’s spending is my income and vice versa. I’ll spare you an economics lecture, but the velocity of money is a big deal in a healthy economy.
Despite being fully vaccinated for several months, I still wear a mask much more often than most. It is a pain in the hind end! Wearing glasses only exacerbates the discomfort. (My local independent bookseller discovered a trick. If you wear the mask upside down your glasses are much less likely to steam up.)
I want the economy to stabilize. I’ve done a lot of take-out recently to help keep local restaurants (in my case mom and pop operations) in business. What I really want is to feel safe going back inside them, sitting down and having a meal with my wife. I’m thankfully retired but I want the younger people to feel secure that they have a job and a pandemic isn’t going to wipe it out next week or next month. I want to feel safe accompanying my wife to the supermarket, pushing the cart and selecting a tasty item here and there.
We almost all have the same goal but too many are not willing to pay the price to get there. To me, with the exception of a very few with a medical condition that prevents them from doing so (statistically that should be in the 2% neighborhood), common sense dictates getting vaccinated. It is really that simple!
Here is the promised pearl of wisdom I will leave you with: When in doubt, wear your mask!
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