COVID-19 Cage Match: Rights vs. Responsibilities
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COVID-19 Cage Match: Rights vs. Responsibilities

Yesterday, I wasted 5 hours in a comment war about "the greater good" on Tomi Lahren's Facebook…your basic Corona Wednesday.

COVID-19 Cage Match: Rights vs. Responsibilities
LA Times

In 2020 America, the concept of the greater good seems to have gone the way of the Black Rhino; it is all but extinct. Thing haven't always been this way. We pulled together during world wars, pandemics, depressions, and more recent challenges like 9/11. Yes, we haven't always gotten it together as gracefully as one would hope, but we got there. We had leaders that appealed to our Better Angels and reminded us what is important: the greater good.

So where is that important social construct now? Why are some people willing to #StayHome when others are on the streets yelling at medical workers and demanding haircuts and beach days? I can not think of a LESS patriotic thing to do than wave a Trump flag while throwing a tantrum on Main Street about access to Cheesecake Factory (side note: they do curbside pick up).

I have a lot of empathy for the millions who have lost jobs or taken massive pay cuts - it's happened to my family. Rational people know they can recover from economic ruin if they are still alive, so rather than question the necessity of mandated #StayHome, question why we were so damn slow to respond to the threat and why it's only now that the number of tests promised to us in early March just showed up (allegedly) two months later! Countries that have successfully managed the virus have massive testing efforts in place. Not us. We are definitely not #1 in COVID testing, which is the first step to getting out of our #StayHome situation.

Know what we are #1 in though? COVID-19 cases and deaths. Trump was right, I AM sick of all this "winning". With only 4.25% of the world's population, the USA has come down with the worst case of COVID on the planet!

We aren't the most densely populated nation. We don't have the least hospitals or doctors. We had intelligence about this in late 2019. Why do we have the most sick and dying people? We have 3x as many as the next closest country. Again, we are only 4.25% of the world's population and NOT the only country to have extensive civil liberties, including the right to protest. In fact, all first world countries have access to the same "freedoms" we have, (except civilians with unlimited access military weapons).

Could part of our inability to flatten the curve be this USA #1 attitude? The protestors waving flags in their MAGA hats, screaming about their rights, right wing media and the President (The President!?!) using words like "liberal hoax" and saying it's an excuse to strip Americans of their rights. Do you think that attitude could have anything to do with it? (Before you jump on me, I'm not happy with fear mongering media on either side, so please don't hurl "libtard" at me - i've heard it before - it's not a convincing or even hurtful argument).

What I want to know is, when did our collective understanding about the value of the Social-Compact disappear? When did we decide that some people's lives are worth so much less than other people's right to wander the streets? Depending on in which media silo you reside, ⅓-½ of Americans are more preoccupied with short-term inconvenience than with the fact that action now = less economic impact and DEATHS long term.

So at 4am this morning I landed upon a theory: this ugly state of the nation has been brewing for a decade. About 10 years ago, a group of well-funded, socially regressive people started to get political and media traction when they tapped into growing economic and educational inequity in America (there was a short-lived pretense that the Tea Party/Liberty Caucus was a grassroots movement, but that was quickly debunked. It is big business founded and run). Rather than productively addressing the issues that needed solutions, they attacked the limbic (ancient lizard) part of our brains, and convinced enough people that a literal interpretation of documents written in the late 1700s (and no, this is not a slam on The Constitution or Bill of Rights because they are awesome documents that were written so they could be interpreted to progress as society progressed) would make them more money and give them more power. Them, not you. Conservative Constitutionalists is a fancy name for don't trust government and elect wildly unqualified, ethically challenged, people all the way from state assemblies up to the White House thus fulfilling their own deep seated fears that our government is ineffective and untrustworthy. It's a vicious cycle and we're trapped in it at the worst possible time.

So now, in 2020, in the midst of the biggest crisis of our lives, instead of listening to responsible leadership and citizens with shared American values, we listen to a federal government prevaricate, lie and change their story so much we have whiplash, and then not accept responsibility for anything. States compete against each other for PPE and money to keep hospitals, never mind businesses, afloat and most disturbing on a visceral level - we have so many people screaming for their Individual rights completely ignoring science, civility and the lives of others!

It is really hard to argue that a large segment of Americans understand that democracy requires at least as much respect for responsibility as it does for rights.

I urge you to take a moment and look at non-American media to see how other countries are managing this crisis. No one is perfect, but I think you'll find, like I did, that they aren't tearing themselves apart at a time when we should be pulling together. Do we no longer have Better Angels in America?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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