The best lack all conviction
While the worst are full of
- W. B. Yeats
A lot of us are frustrated by the continuing COVID-19 situation in this country and it’s easy to understand the pent-up anger. There is conflicting information and political angles alleged for every utterance. Conspiracy theories abound and fuel is added to fire by social media posts and national news networks where people with absolutely no relevant experience or education expound with vigorous and robust certainty that they have a full grasp of the situation.
There is no harm with long rants on Facebook or videos on Youtube. They are great places to be entertained, blow off steam, and completely uninformed opinions there fit right in with Russian misinformation.
On the other hand, we have heard several accounts, both right here in Jasper and around the country of teenagers, single moms and minimum wage employees being on the receiving end of extremely heated political rhetoric.
It’s ludicrous and sad to see someone want to do their Sean Hannity impression by berating a 16-year-old working a drive thru over their national company’s corporate policy.
What do they expect will happen? The high school kid will somehow pick up a direct line to corporate and call the CEO, “Hey, this is Jane Doe working the drive thru in Jasper, Ga. and we had a customer tell us we should take our masks off. Not sure if y’all over at corporate are aware of this, but there are some people who don’t believe in this mask wearing policy.”
Corporate CEO: “Oh. Wow. Really. We haven’t heard that. We thought everyone was on board.”
Jane Doe: “He was really fired up. Said he had watched eight different Youtube videos and read a blog and saw a cousin on Facebook post that a nurse told his wife at a gas pump that it was all a socialist hoax.”
Corporate CEO: “Wow. Had no idea. Masks are gone.”
In reality what most of the front line people, (here we mean the convenience store clerks, grocery employees along with the medical personnel) should tell someone pitching a fit about mask wearing: “I am making minimum wage, stressed to the max about whether my college is going to open, or if this place cuts back how I am going to make a car payment, or if the schools don’t open where am I going to put my kids. And you’ve been sitting home all day watching crap online and now come out acting like a bigshot doctor with all the answers. But I don’t care what you say. My boss said wear a mask and to stand here and ask customers to wear a mask.”
The insults being directed towards the businesses themselves are particularly uninformed. When the businesses - the free-market capitalists themselves - are making decisions about what to do in their own privately built and operated stores, how can it be “a socialist plot?” We suspect people saying that don’t know what socialist means. Because when you get private business making their own decisions (even if that decision comes from a corporate board) that is as non-socialist as you get.
This is a tough, complicated time where there are decisions that can affect lives and livelihoods. There is no clearcut right answer about when something should open and people who think they have one, need to remind themselves of the complexity of a national healthcare issue with an epidemic.
Let’s support the people who are out working, the businesses who are making their own business decisions and facing the consequences and the community leaders who are doing their best with issues like school starts. Disagreement is fine. A healthy debate is fine (again as long as it’s not with someone just trying to take your order and keep their job).
But do it with civility.