…but fear and hatred is the real hazard to society – a pandemic of panic that can have more long-lasting consequences for humanity. When the entire world is holding its collective breath and worrying about “social distancing,” this is NO time to be trying to lay blame or division.
If ever there was a time for people from every part of the planet to come together, it is now – we are facing an invisible enemy that doesn’t stop at borders and has no concern for politics. Much like the problems with climate change, the coronavirus affects everyone on Earth. It is unfortunate that there are those who still refuse to believe that climate change is a problem; however, no one on Earth can ignore the threat posed by CoVid-19. Every day, every hour, we are assailed with figures of those who have tested “positive” and those who have died and those who are in Intensive Care. We listen constantly to “updates” of the shortages in PPEs and the ever-growing list of governments with “stay-at-home” orders. (Perhaps, if the climate also had such up-to-date statistics, more people would pay attention.)
When it is possible for a dangerous infection to be transmitted through the air, through casual association, it should be apparent that it doesn’t matter where the virus started, or what nationality now suffers the greatest – it will come to us all eventually. The 1959 movie On The Beach suggested that the end of humanity would come through nuclear fallout – perhaps it will come through a virus. Whether it is fallout floating through the atmosphere and the oceans or whether it is a virus transmitted by travelers and trade, we need to be aware that there is no Customs agent or wall that will stop it.
There is much in the news that is negative:
- name-calling the pandemic for a country
- trying to defer blame by individuals
- arms revenue in the US has increased 309%, according to Ammo.com, which said coronavirus fears are fueling the sales surge
- People are rushing to the social media to “shame” and denounce those who are believed to be ignoring the quarantine and isolation rules – while those who do so are, admittedly, exhibiting more selfish than self-less behavior, such divisive methods increase the stress for everyone. (A thought: if those who point are seeing so many people violating the rules by being out, why are they out and about?)
- We have recently seen attempts to foment division in the American people by certain politicians suggesting that “seniors” or “grandparents” (if they do not carry blame for the virus itself) may carry blame for the continued economic impact
But, there is also much that is positive – and we need to focus on these positive aspects that we are seeing:
- sewing masks for first responders and helpers
- buying take-out to help restaurants, small businesses which might not survive
- large tips for curb-side service
- whiskey distilleries which now manufacture hand sanitizer
- residents singing to each other from their balconies
- poets, writers and spiritual leaders writing new works, aimed at increasing positivity
- pollution output, which has reduced over these past few weeks of lower emissions.
Are we, as a society, capable of learning? We have seen the effect of the lessening of pollution in aerial photos and photos from space. What if this lesson results in one day — every week or even every month — when there are no cars, no boats, no planes spewing into the environment? What if this might be a lesson actually learned?
Perhaps, if nothing else, we will have learned empathy. Perhaps we will look more kindly upon the refugee and the homeless, even as we realize that such a relatively small thing as staying home watching television caused us to hoard toilet paper, and that foregoing a night of drinking at the local bar caused us to curse our neighbors.
Perhaps, if nothing else, we will realize that we can stop the noise and the craziness of our lives, take time to hear the birds and enjoy the sunlight, and remember that we are, all of us, on this one planet, bound by our breathe and our lives….together.