Friday, October 30, 2020

Can We Learn Something from This?

More Straight Talk


It would be hard not to be appreciative of the wonderful place we live during such trying times. Our hearts go out to the 1% or so of our population which are being so cruelly affected by this horrible viral infection. For them and their families, we extend our deepest condolences and prayers. 

I am not sure there is anyone that can provide us with conclusive projections of what lies ahead and when we will have this pandemic under control, or being able to proclaim victory over this invisible invader, but I am sure we will eventually prevail and exit these terrible times. 

What is more important is whether we have learned anything from this experience. The one thing we have learned is no one was exempt from the terrible byproducts of these last three months. Age, sex, race, religion or income levels all seemed to have been affected, maybe not on an equal level, but they all were affected. 

Every time we thought we knew something about it, we found we didn’t know as much about it as we thought. We initially believed only the elderly would be primarily affected by COVID-19. We would eventually find it didn’t discriminate according to age. 

We also initially believed that a person would have to exhibit symptoms of the disease to be afflicted with it. That wasn’t so, as a person might not be symptomatic, but might be contagious, therefore making “social distancing” all that more important. 

The initial belief was that only frontline workers needed to wear masks. That just wasn’t accurate, and today we are encouraging the wearing of masks in all public settings as a way to help stem the spread of the disease.  

Early on we thought the use of saline nasal sprays would help to prevent COVID-19. Although it may have sounded good at the time, no evidence has ever been presented that proved that assertion.  

As each day goes by, we learn more and more about this invisible enemy and we come closer with each day to finding the answers that are needed to thwart this challenge to people here and around the world. 

What may be needed now, more than ever, is a good dose of patience within our communities. Mankind unfortunately today has a lack of that when we need it the most. We continue to see that unflattering trait exhibited not only with the challenge we are facing with COVID-19, but well before its arrival. 

Our desire for instantaneous gratification has become a terrible peculiarity of our generation. If we don’t see immediate results, we tend to complain and find fault with those around us. You don’t have to look further than a local parking lot to prove that premise. It seems patience and kindness evaporate as soon as we pull into one of those shopping areas with drivers believing they have to win at all costs. The simple courtesy of allowing you to back out of a parking space is substituted instead by the blare of a horn and a quick maneuver to cut around you has become commonplace. 

It is a natural urge for us to want things to return to what we believe to be normal. The challenge, however, is more profound than that, and one which we’ve never been exposed to before. Men and women who I have enormous respect for have been careful to explain that we are in “uncharted territories,” and caution moving too quickly in an effort to obtain a short-lived gratification, which may prove to be more costly in the long run as we struggle to recover. 

As an example, small businesses are being saddled with so much of the economic burden of this tragedy. Here on the island, we see friends, neighbors and family members struggling with the closing of local businesses and the unemployment of many we know personally.  

Government is struggling to steer clear of the mistakes of the past where the stronger, larger and more influential are appearing to outmaneuver those smaller entities who are so desperate to take advantage of the lifelines that were proposed to save them within recent legislation. The $350 billion Paycheck Protection Plan was quickly gobbled up in substantial grants by larger corporate entities who know how to play the “game.” 

An effort to infuse additional monies into that program has been initially thwarted by political maneuvering by established politicos in Washington. That well-intentioned lifeline has now been laden with unrelated projects not intended to save the small business owner and his many employees, but instead is being used to fund “pet-projects,” for special interests. The results of those actions can be fatal to so many of our small entrepreneurs, their families and employees who make up 90% of the businesses in America. 

It would be a stain on the fabric of our nation, if when we calculate the loss of life from this terrible event, that we also find the loss of the “American Dream” as a result of the greed by politicians who were determined to “never let a good crisis go to waste.” 

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