AS WE APPROACH a New Year and look back at the old one, I find myself thinking of wishes and hopes. I find these thoughts are in accordance with recent news reports on millions Americans dealing with, and having trouble coping with, pandemic-induced stress. More, in a real sense, than we need to. Not because there is no threat. But because, according to science and common sense, the health threat itself, and its concurrent stress, is much worse than it need be. And this leads to my New Year’s Wishes.
I wish people would grow up, wear a mask and get vaccinated.
I wish they would grow up, think of someone besides themselves (as actual grown-ups do) and stop getting on airplanes, going to school board meetings, stores, concerts, etc, therein physically accosting vulnerable attendants, teachers, school board members, etc. and belligerently yelling, “You can’t make me!” “I don’t have to listen to you!” “It’s a free country!”
I wish the unvaccinated fools clogging the ER’s and hospitals would think of the many folks unable to get prompt and sometimes life-saving care because of their selfishness.
I wish they would also think of the health-care workers, doctors and nurses being run into the very ground and suffering greatly, again by their selfishness and stupidity.
I wish a large segment of the population would learn what ‘fake news’ actually means, what ‘fake’ actually means and ‘news’ actually means, and get their information from reliable and long-trusted sources, and not from conspiracy-theorists and boneheads.
I wish they would learn to THINK.
I wish they would learn that with their precious freedom–which we have in abundance and which many unselfish people died defending–comes also a difficult, six-syllable word called responsibility.
I wish they would come to understand something about self-esteem, and learn that any loudmouth scam artist or broadcaster with a public megaphone, is not necessarily their savior. (This, again, would require growing up).
I wish they would learn that bumper-stickers and shouted curses and slogans are not the SAME AS THINKING.
I wish these citizens would remember that they are citizens of a large, diverse, and interconnected country first, and a tribe of fellow screamers second.
I wish they would realize that a pandemic is hard on everyone, and is not a special curse or hoax somehow visited upon them personally, to spoil their fun.
I wish these people would GROW UP. But I may have already mentioned that.
Finally, I am fully aware that this may sound something like a ‘rant.’ And in fact, is one. That I may sound just a little bit stressed and angry myself. This is a realization that requires something called self-reflection. But when hundreds of thousands of our friends and family members have died needlessly–due to direct deception, manipulation, demagoguery, and attendant stupidity–it is perhaps within the realm of ‘grown-up’ behavior to occasionally express anger oneself. Perhaps being angry is not just the province of the rage-filled and the ignorant. Perhaps those not normally given to joining clubs of pitchfork-wavers can be angry, too, and without threatening or assaulting anyone, or infecting them, or selfishly preventing their prompt medical care, can at least “wish” publicly for something better, in terms of citizenship and behavior.