Are you angry? I hope so. When you learned that COVID-19 caused the deaths of more than 190,000 people – 6% of whom died solely of COVID-19 - and the rest from COVID-19-related causes?
What about the rank hypocrisy from elected office holders behaving in private one way as they lecture you and me to behave a different way? Is the anger welling up in you like it is in me?
I’m angry there’s a political candidate and party that makes wearing a mask the ultimate symbol of patriotism, attempting to shame anyone who might question the necessity or efficacy of it. I’m angry they’ve shamed and scared people into thinking death is looming just around the corner and that’s supposedly why our kids can’t be in school and playing sports, businesses can only be open at a certain capacity, and human beings who desperately need the socialization and interaction with other human beings must now hide from one another in terror.
I’m angry for the man who lost his father this year. The funeral home only allowed 10 people to attend services. His father was beloved and adored by an entire community, but none were allowed to pay their respects. Meanwhile, the very officials who put these capricious rules in place marched in the streets with rioters and looters in the name of “free speech” and “protest.”
I’m angry for the couple who’d planned a beautiful wedding and honeymoon this year, only to have it whittled down to a select few in a back yard ceremony and a honeymoon at home. Simultaneously, governors were exploiting their power to have private boats launched and family vacations carry on as planned.
I’m angry for the man whose mother suffered from dementia living in an elder care facility swallowed whole by the virus. Ultimately, COVID closed the book on her deteriorating health. Only later would we learn the officials in charge of keeping COVID away from elder care facilities were ordering infected elderly to be admitted instead. They are the same officials who moved swiftly and quietly to protect their elderly loved ones from the same fate.
I’m angry for the businessman whose bottom line was rocked as he was forced to close his doors entirely, only to open in a limited way weeks later and for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, other businesses have been allowed to operate at full capacity, never missing a nickel of revenue because a politician arbitrarily decided some business – like a family business – deserved waivers or were deemed “essential.”
I’m angry for the restaurateur who’ll undoubtedly have to close within weeks as thousands already have across the country. We’re heading into the cold weather season and he’s only allowed to serve people outside, as indoor dining is prohibited. But the politicians slitting that restaurateur’s professional throat with his unscientific operating rules gets caught dining in a neighboring state, indoors, unmasked, and not socially distant.
I’m angry for the women who’ve had to get their hair cut and colored in secret as salons are closed and hairdressers and barbers have been forced to go into the bootleg beauty business out of their homes while one of the loudest and most powerful leaders in the world demanding we follow rules and “mask up” was caught maskless and enjoying a wash and “blow out” in a salon that's forbidden to do the same for the general public.
I’m angry for the school kids who are in no way in danger from COVID, but are being kept from school, activities, and needed social interaction only to be taught at home on computers (if lucky enough to have one) by their working parents (if they’re lucky enough to have one, never mind two), working parents who pay lots of tax money to political office holders to operate the schools their kids aren’t attending.
Rush Limbaugh rhetorically asked this week on his radio show, “What do they know that we don’t?” He’s talking about the politicians who seem to be playing games with their constituents’ lives publicly while ignoring their own rules and “logic" in private.
Enough is enough. Every politician running from school board, to country commission, to state house, to Congress, to President of the United States should be put on notice and on record. Where do you stand? Do you stand with the crushing, unnecessary burdens destroying lives? Can you justify the behavior of the politicians we’ve caught ignoring the rules they won’t enforce for themselves?
Do you trust me and my family and my community to make the best, most informed decisions for our community or do you insist on a one-size-fits-all, command and control list of edicts that crush not only the economy but also the human spirit? Going forward we should all demand to know how every elected official will operate in a once-in-a-century pandemic. Do they trust the public or do they amass destructive power like a Marvel villain?
This election is about the consent of the governed reminding those governing who’s still in charge. Last I checked it’s still “we the people.” I can’t speak for you, but I’m angry.
Editor's Note: This piece has been corrected to note that the 6 percent statistic from the CDC applies to people who died solely of COVID and had no other underlying conditions and were otherwise healthy individuals.