I must admit, this is my first global pandemic. I am not sure what the proper protocol is for behavior and am doing the best I can to process all the information I am consuming quicker than I can recall in many years. I have read an abundance of articles, from a variety of sources, talked with many of my clients and attended countless Zoom Webinars, so many, in fact, that I created a new category for this activity on our electronic calendar.
One of my primary observations throughout this whole period is that there is a wide spectrum of views regarding the COVID-19 Virus and what we should be doing? Now, I do not mean to make light or offend anyone, but I really feel like this must be discussed. From one end of the spectrum we have people that are literally afraid for their lives and may prefer to shelter in place much longer than what “experts” may recommend. On the other end of the spectrum we have people that are much more worried about losing our civil liberties and crushing our economy beyond the point of salvation. This is a bloody wide spectrum. I have the privilege of knowing and being friends with people all along this spectrum. I can see both sides and feel equally concerned about both ends.
At this point in time, no one can be certain where the greater risks exist and where the truth is along this spectrum. I can say that definitively as this is the Novel Coronavirus (as in it is new, meaning we have never faced it before). Because the spectrum is so wide, and this is all new for everyone, I think it is best to give each person the benefit of the doubt on their own beliefs. For me, I feel it appropriate to provide a wide berth for responses and feelings about what we are all going through together. I do not know what is best for you and your family, but I trust that you do. People are so passionate on either end of the spectrum, and most of us are just trying to get through our first ever global pandemic with as much intact as possible.
I remember reading a book about ten years ago by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield titled You Don’t Have to Be Wrong For Me to Be Right. I liked the title and I feel like it is apropos for this moment. It is completely reasonable for a person on one end of the spectrum (let us say, fear of the virus) to see the world through that prism. Especially if they have pre-existing/compromising health conditions which may cause them or others they care about to be more vulnerable. Perhaps they have always struggled with a deficient immune system.
On the other hand, I think there is a valid argument to be made on the over-reach from a well-meaning yet clumsy government, be it local, state or federal, over the infractions on our civil liberties and our ability to move, operate and/or generate an income to support our families.
I find both views to be completely valid and defensible.
What I do find indefensible is to operate with such superiority, that a person’s unique view is superior and the only valid one and everyone else is wrong. As the months and years unfold, I am sure that we will learn many things about this virus and our reaction to it; what we did right and what we did wrong. We will be much more prepared for the next pandemic or whatever disruption may come our way. There will be time for reflection and softening of attitudes.
In the meantime, may I humbly suggest that we be understanding of our differences, tolerant of the views of those on the other side of the spectrum, and be respectful of each other. When this is over, and it will be some time, we will want to maintain our relationships and work cooperatively once again. Be kind to one another.