By Chris B. Bennett, The Seattle Medium
It’s been over a year that we’ve collectively been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. While it looks like we may be much closer to enjoying life without government restrictions due to COVID, the fact remains that life will never be the same and there are still those among us who continue to resist doing even the most basic things that will help us get COVID under control.
My five-year-old daughter is passionate about defeating COVID, and rightfully so. The memories of this time frame that our kids will carry with them for the rest of their lives are not fond ones. Remote learning, not being able to freely run outside and play, plans for a big birthday parties thrown out the window in favor of small celebrations without friends that is highlighted by a zoom call with Grandma and Grandpa. These are the memories that our children will carry with them forever.
Realizing that her plans to play with friends could once again become relegated to a zoom call with one or two of her friends from school, and her plans for having a big birthday party will certainly have to wait yet another year, my daughter bursts into the living room and says, “I hate the coronavirus, when is it going to go away?”
Before I can respond, she throws her hands down and says, “We have to save the planet, we can’t let the coronavirus rule the earth, we have to do something, we must use our weapons to destroy the coronavirus!”
While her weapons of choice remain simple – a toy laser gun, a make-believe sword, a karate stance followed by a few punches and kicks along with a shield, in this case a pillow, to protect herself as she battles the evil coronavirus – her passion to rid the world of COVID is equally filled with anger, frustration and the desire to return to a day when the adventures of life are simple, fun and carefree.
At this point, I don’t have much of a response because this interaction has turned into a weekly ritual. Over the course of the last year, it has also become evident that she has become frustrated with people who refuse to do the most basic things to help us overcome the pandemic like wearing a face mask.
As I look at multiple social media posts with people giving reasons why they won’t get vaccinated and refuse to wear a mask to help control the spread of COVID. I can only hear her voice in my head saying, “Why aren’t those people (outside) wearing a mask? Don’t they know they are supposed to wear a mask when they are outside?” Yes, our children know what do to, but we have adults who hold on to unrelated “morals” and refuse to follow basic precautionary guidelines.
As it relates to the war to end the pandemic, we have multiple weapons at our disposal, and while none of them alone is the silver bullet that can lead us to victory, collectively over time they can help us return to a new sense of normalcy.
If you choose not to get vaccinated that is one thing. People have a choice about what they allow to be injected into their body, and most people can respect the choices that others make with that regard. However, the continued refusal to wear a mask in public (especially if you have not been vaccinated), refusal to host/attend only small gatherings, refusal to social distance, refusal to wash your hands regularly, or to give people the impression that you’ve been vaccinated when you have not is a terribly selfish thing to do when you think about the impact that it is having and will have on the kids who are relying on adults to make decisions that will ultimately make their lives more pleasant and enjoyable.
Yes, we are many steps closer to getting past this pandemic. But we still have quite a bit of work to do. You can stick your head in the sand and act like things are miraculously going to go away. But just like a bill collector they’ll eventually catch up with you and the price you pay in the end is much greater than the initial debt that you incurred.
As I close, I must ask you this simple question. If an intruder enters your house in the middle of the night, are you going to use the most effective weapons at your disposal to defend yourself, or are you going to roll over, go back to sleep and hope that everything turns out for the best in the morning? If you choose the former over the latter, then why would you choose to do something different with a deadly virus that seeks to invade your body?
It’s time for people to stop with all the rhetoric about government-imposed restrictions that are in the best interest of public safety. You can make all of the excuses that you want, but the fact remains that you are helping prolong this battle against COVID. Take a look at the kids in your family, put yourself in their shoes, and ask yourself what would you like to see adults do in order to win the battle against COVID sooner rather than later.
It may be a tough pill to swallow, but five, ten, fifteen, or even twenty-five years from now how will you tell the story knowing that a five-year-old cared more about putting an end to this pandemic than you did.
Through the eyes of an ink barrel, may peace be unto you!
Chris B. Bennett is the Publisher/CEO of The Seattle Medium newspaper group. You can follow him on Twitter @The_inkbarrel.