Is Social Distancing Destroying America?

Last week, multi-millionaire media tycoon, Glen Beck proclaimed “even if we all get sick [from coronavirus], I would rather die than kill the country”. He spoke these words while attempting to support a growing far-right view that the US economy needs to be restarted, despite the on-going explosion of coronavirus infections sweeping across the country. They seem to feel that the detrimental impact such action would pose to public health (especially to our older population) is a necessary sacrifice in the interest of saving our country — which Glen claims we are killing with social distancing. Then this week, after the president himself got behind the decision to extend the Stay-at-Home directive through April, many from the far-right have doubled down, threatening the life of the president’s key Covid-19 medical advisor, Anthony Fauci.

Personally, I find this cold and soulless notion to be rather ironic. On the contrary, as I see it this virus seems to be prompting something of an awakening of our country — actually. Yes, it is painful and destructive at a level that boggles the mind. And yes it is causing unfathomable financial hardship for many Americans. But, the probability that masses of people will die because they lost their job seems far less likely than the certainty that hundreds of thousands, if not millions will die from Covid-19 if we don’t continue our effort to fight the spread of this novel coronavirus.

One thing is for sure… The excessive wealth held by the top 1% has taken a hit. A very big hit. Maybe that’s why many are so eager for us to get back to work? I think the day will come, once this is all behind us, when we will realize that this painful moment in time will turn out to have been a massive reset. A reset of our perspective on what we value. A reset of economic philosophies. Perhaps (hopefully) a bit of a shuffle of the imbalance of wealth in this country. And certainly a refreshed perspective on the value of community, and family values — or perhaps better said, the value of family.

I’m not trying to sugar coat the situation. We are in the midst of a ruthless paradigm slide, which is redefining many of the fundamentals upon which our civilization has been constructed. Yes, this is indeed the end of the world as we know it – but it is also the beginning of a new world order, one which we are currently in the position to define.

Speaking from my personal perspective, this is the first time in ages, that our family has been together for more than an hour at a time. We aren’t rushing to school, from school, fighting traffic, racing to gymnastics practice, scrambling to coordinate basketball and soccer practice carpools. Instead, my wife and I are figuring out how to remain productive in our jobs from home. How to partner with our daughter’s teachers to keep her growing academically. We are taking long walks together, and playing H-O-R-S-E together. We are listening to music, and being creative together with paints, 3D pens, wood, fabric, chalk, and food. We are becoming more aware of our health, with a particular interest in discovering new ways to bolster our immune systems through better eating and healthy living. We are being forced not to fill idle time socializing with friends (though we do miss them), and instead to become more social with each other. We are also going to bed early. 

The future is uncertain, and that is terrifying. But I know that the collective ‘we’ will be okay — even if this ends up forcing uncomfortable life changes for some us. We are resilient. We are resourceful. We are learning to be more self-reliant. And we are learning how to take better care of the ones we love, as well as those in our community who we’ve never met. This experience is awful, and wonderful at the same time. And most of all, it is priceless — just like the lives we will lose if we try to rush this.

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