The vicious contagion presents perhaps the most significant personal opportunity for change in our lifetimes. That’s because the bustle has broken down. The pursuit of money, sex, power, and other magnets are all on hold. We are now apart from the daily machine that can grind us into unthinking, callous people. At least most of us are.
So, how about some introspection? Some inward evaluation. An honest appraisal of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Maybe we start with the country and then we’ll get to what’s really important - our own selves - as the country singers might say.
An essential question for me is: how did this country get so hateful?
If you are following the contagion news, you know the blame game has kicked in. It’s the 'Trump virus,' according to a New York Times columnist. Another far left writer in that liberal journal (it no longer meets the standards of a newspaper) says the virus is enabled by ultra-religious Christians who 'deny science.' Of course, she ties that into the climate change debate as well as President Trump.
On the right, some loons accuse China of weaponizing the contagion without a shred of evidence to back up the claim.
With so much craziness available on the net, often disseminated by corporate media, the divisive atmosphere has fueled a unique kind of American loathing. Many of us actively despise those with whom we disagree.
Thus, in our newfound downtime, we might think about whether we are a part of the loathing movement and if we are, whether that is enhancing our individual lives.
And then there is 'what your country can do for you.' President Kennedy rejected that sentiment, but today the concept is warmly embraced by millions of Americans who firmly believe in the Bernie Sanders doctrine: that the government should provide. No need for self-reliance, that’s for fools. A vast central power structure will dictate what Americans can and cannot have. We the people are not the deciders. Bernie and his comrades would be.
It is simply incredible to me, a son of the Cold War, that socialism is on the rise in America. Perhaps during the contagion we can think hard about our individual freedoms which are under assault from the virus. Do you like being told how to live and where you can go? How about you, Democratic Party, are you embracing the restrictions we are seeing? They are obviously necessary. But they are also a vivid message. This is what can happen all the time when big government totalitarians rule.
On the social front, are you a due process denier? Do you condemn neighbors based on gossip? Are you supportive of the trend that all allegations are convictions? When Brett Kavanaugh was almost destroyed, it was an accusation, not hard facts, that brought him to the brink. One brave woman, Senator Susan Collins, saved him. Hundreds of our elected officials embraced the noose.
Finally, what about you? Do you fear the virus? Why? Are you afraid to die? Do you fear giving the contagion to people you love? Are strangers part of the equation? Do you feel for the suffering and dying? Do you pray for them? Do you pray at all?
All throughout history the world has suffered as it is suffering now. Those who see the big picture understand that dreadful plagues, wars, natural disasters, and human atrocities are all part of earthly existence.
People who accept that and learn from the viral calamity, are likely to prosper in the aftermath.
People who see themselves as victims and who lament the loss of individual pursuits, will stay in place. And, in America, we still have that right - to remain selfish and even more harshly - to remain stupid.