Open for Business
the country has been open, stop asking for the government to relieve your guilt
The pandemic is fading in the minds of a lot of people. The sirens have died down, no more mayors on tv giving daily updates, no numbers splashed across the front page of the local newspaper. If they don’t see the graphic that says 2,000 people a day are still dying, they don’t have to acknowledge it’s happening. So they stand, hands on hips, masks off, defiantly demanding that we go back to normal, to pre-pandemic lives. Open everything up, they yell. Give me my life back!
Except things are already open. You have your usual life. Restaurants, bars, movie theaters, sports arenas, concert venues, they’re all open for business. You can go about your life as you want, guilt free. That’s what you’re looking for, isn’t it? To be guilt free about what your doing.
Well, you don’t get off that easy. See, the pandemic isn’t over yet as long as that many people are still dying. You want to tear off your masks and get people back into an office setting and maybe not wash your hands that often anymore. You say things like “it’s only killing the sick or elderly” as if they are expendable in this situation just so you can go to Cracker Barrel for breakfast without feeling like you’re doing something wrong. You are waiting for someone to tell you America is open and masks are optional so you can relieve yourself of making those decisions on your own. You don’t like mandates but you sure wouldn’t mind one stating that we should get back to your version of normal.
But America is open. No one is stopping you from doing the things you normally do. We just want you to do them with a modicum of responsibility, which is something you don’t seem capable of doing. You say it’s not your problem if there are people who are more susceptible to getting Covid. And honestly, it’s not. But it should be. We should be taking care of each other, we should aware of the needs of our fellow humans and act accordingly. Small children, people who are chronically ill with asthma or diabetes or cancer, the elderly who are physically frail - they all need you to accommodate them or they risk illness and death. But you are put off about it, you are inconvenienced by having to wear a mask to the grocery store, by showing your vaccine card when you enter a concert. Is it too much to ask that you think of others during a pandemic? Obviously, it is.
Almost a million people are dead because of Covid. People are still dying from it every day. Learn to live with it, you say. It’s just a cold, you say. Get over it, you say. You come from a place of privilege when you are healthy, when you have little risk of dying from a virus that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Do you not think of others? Is this how you live your life, only concerned for your own well being, your own needs and wants?
You’re already living normally. You get up and go to work, maybe stop at Dunkin’ for a coffee on the way. You go out to lunch, hit Target on your way home from the office, maybe go to a movie or concert on the weekend. I don’t understand what more you are looking for except an explicit proclamation that the country is open for business so you can point to it and say “look, they said I don’t have to wear a mask, they said I can live my life without regard” and absolve yourself of any sense of duty to others.
Do we have to learn to live with Covid? To an extent, we do. It’s not going anywhere right now. Who knows what other variants are lurking out there. If that means I’ll keep wearing a mask even though I’m told I don’t have to, so be it. I’m fully vaccinated, but I know I can still get it. I have health issues that make me vulnerable. Even if it’s mild, I can pass it on to my 80 year old parents. So I do everything I can to make sure I don’t get it. But if you’re out there breathing in my face and not doing anything to mitigate passing Covid around, what the hell am I striving so hard to follow the rules for?
Stop saying we have to get back to normal. Stop throwing the economy in my face, because unlike you I care more about people than I do about money. Stop saying we have to fully open again, because we already are. Stop acting like you are somehow a victim here. There are real victims, people on ventilators, people with long Covid, people who are still mourning the loved ones they lost. That you feel like you can’t go to a show without having to show your vaccination card makes you somehow a victim speaks volumes about you. You have broken the social contract.
I don’t know when we became a nation of selfish, self-centered, uncaring people. I don’t know when empathy became a foreign concept. I just know that we are in a pandemic and now would be a great time to be kind and caring to each other, to show some compassion, to think of the needs of others, especially when those needs are a matter of life or death.
Stop saying we need to open up as if your right to have a life is being trampled. Don’t ask us to alleviate your guilt. We’re in a pandemic. Act like you care.