Saturday, March 14, 2020

Is This Helping? A Question for Uncertain Times



Wow. Y'all. I mean. Wow. 

A few years ago I was sitting in a hot tub sailing on a cruise ship off the coast of Scotland with a professor of epidemiology from Brazil and his wife while he outlined the next pandemic, and explained that we are way overdue for one. The picture he painted was dismal. At the time I thought he sounded alarmist but here we are.

This post isn't about things we can't control but the things we can. What we can control right now is what we say, post, like, share, and comment on in real-life interactions and on social media. Now that we are all about to have a lot of time on our hands we're seeing more and more blaming those in charge of decision making. Of course, the president is a favorite target for some but so is the CDC, WHO, the medical establishment, vaccine makers, scientists, capitalism, previous administrations, the media, and the financial sector. Pick who or what people already demonize in their normal lives and that's who or what they're angry at right now.

Guess what. There's going to plenty of time for that. Now is not the time. 

There is going to be plenty of time to Monday morning quarterback this event and every decision being made for the next hundred years. And politically there's going to be plenty of time for both sides to slam each other and point out who did what before November. And the elaborate conspiracy theories about what's "really" going on?  Those will be conceived forever after.

Now. is. not. the. time.

So what can we do? I have two suggestions.

1. Before you post an article, share, like, comment, or even say anything in real person to person conversation, ask yourself this question:

Is this helping? 

If it's a negative news item or anything not from an official source you might ask: 

How is this helping? 

An intellectually honest adult should be able to tell the difference. Here's a clue: being right doesn't mean you are helping. 

Please share funny memes, make fun of our dismal situation, check on people, share hacks you've got, or the best book, movie, or series we can all binge on while we're at home. Share pictures of your clean closets and organized garages! Make some art and share it. Post some old family photos on Facebook. Give us a tour of your garden. Do those projects around the house you've been putting off. Start your novel. Tip the delivery guy extra. You know what helped this week? Videos of people in Italy singing from their balconies while quarantined. 

One more thing. 

When you see the people in charge trying to make these massive gut-wrenching decisions remind yourself that they are doing the best they can. Even if you don't like them. Even if you normally don't trust them. Even if you can outline all the mistakes that have already been made. Believing those in charge are doing the best they can will make you feel better if nothing else. 

Everyone is doing the best they can with the information they have and remember even the people with the most information, don't have all the information. 

Now let's all go wash our hands. 

XOXO y'all


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