Opinion

Why Won’t They Listen?

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Posted: Nov 23, 2020 9:15 AM
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Why Won’t They Listen?

Source: AP Photo/David Goldman, File

Thanksgiving needs to be done differently this year, according to the CDC.

“Have a small dinner with only people who live in your household,” they suggest. You know, eat with the people you’ve been holed up with non-stop for 250 days. Sounds fun! 

“Prepare family recipes for family and neighbors and deliver them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others,” they add. Just like the Pilgrims did hundreds of years ago. Touching.

“Require guests to wear a mask,” they advise. Just tell everyone it’s a belated Halloween party. Serve candy. 

“Stay six feet away from people who are not in your household at all times” they urge. And make sure to stock up on throat lozenges to soothe your vocal cords after so much conversational yelling across the room. That’ll be nice.

As coronavirus numbers appear to be spiking, some Americans might see fit to heed this advice, cancel holiday plans, and hunker down with their immediate families or even better (to the eager public health official), cancel the holiday altogether and eat a Banquet TV dinner alone while watching reruns of Guy’s Grocery Games. Flavortown, here I come!

Yet, most won’t do that because these recommendations come from what many Americans view as an untrustworthy source—the public health sector, which in the past four years and particularly during the Covid-caused shut downs, has shown itself to be both capricious and dishonest at a time when America needed their balanced and politics-free advice the most.

Consider public health officials’ more recent advice: Wear masks, even though masks have been shown to not really do much. But wear them anyway! Don’t attend any large gatherings, unless, of course, those gatherings focus on glowering hatred of Trump, support for BLM, pussy hats, and other left wing, social justice causes. Don’t sing, unless you’re joining in song with a few thousand people standing in front of the White House celebrating the alleged election of Joe Biden. Don’t go to your church, where socially distant pew seating is totally possible, but you’re welcome to go to a restaurant with questionable socially distant seating. 

And, my favorite, the public health guidance that if you have Covid-19, you absolutely must stay home for at least 14 days before interacting with anyone, unless, that is, it’s Election Day and then feel free to go out into the public square and share space with hundreds of other people.  

The public health sector also strongly advises against seeing your aging parents and grandparents while remaining largely silent on how isolation affects people’s mental and physical health. And where was the public health service when a certain New York State governor carelessly and cruelly decided to house infected elderly Covid-19 patients in nursing homes with healthy, uninfected elderly residents? This was also done in Pennsylvania, where the lead public health official in that state managed to remove her own mother from a care facility before the infected elderly were moved in.

Parents for me, but not for thee, I guess. 

This is nothing new. For decades the public health service has trotted out advice that they later sheepishly admit was wrong--eggs, saturated fat, cholesterol. The list is long of former foibles.

Many have stopped listening. Meanwhile other public health services wonder why they won’t they listen. 

This inability to understand how their own behavior during the coronavirus pandemic coupled with their inconsistent, politically-biased guidance has led to an understandable yet dangerous trust deficit with the American public. For agencies charged with guiding Americans to make good and healthy decisions for themselves, this is a shameful and dangerous reality.

Julia Gunlock is the Director of the Center for Progress and Innovation at Independent Women’s Forum.