So It Ends…
Every ending is a beginning. We just don’t know it at the time. — Mitch Albom
What’s the saying? In like a lion. Out like a lamb. And so the pandemic ends with a distracted fearful whimper.
But more than a few still tweet and squeak having found purpose and meaning in their pandemic fixations as they appear to enjoy keeping others in some state of despair. Having amassed thousands of followers, they have found their calling. They may find moving on difficult.
Dr. Fauci is still enjoying his notoriety but major media outlets appear more concerned with other calamities. He is reduced to appearing on local TV shows and podcasts no longer in great demand. As with the sudden realization that the world will have to learn how to coexist with COVID 19, he and other media darlings from the last two years are having a tough time finding a national stage from which to appear as lone experts.
Several states who desperately held to the notion that masking keeps the virus away are just now doing away with the mandate. They piously claim victory and now is the moment to end the mandates as infections are coming down. They spew that some scientific ratio was reached which gave them a green-light to end mandates. They hope we’re too ignorant or distracted to notice that infection rates in unmasked states are down too. Ratio or no ratio, chart after chart shows virtually no difference in outcomes between those states with strict mask mandates and those with none.
One country is hanging tight to a policy that suggests this virus can be exterminated. China, claiming early its superiority in handling COVID-19, has just locked down a city of 9 million. China’s continued willingness to tyrannically lockdown and force quarantine on its population runs counter to the obvious- we have to learn to live with the virus. That the best defense is either natural immunity from being infected, or from vaccines. Neither guarantee we’ll never fall ill from COVID-19 in the future. The same is true for every other upper respiratory virus known to humankind.
I’m told of school teachers asking their students if they wish to end the wearing of masks. You’d think the mask would be seen as a hindrance to fun and learning but apparently not. Perhaps they are projecting their parent’s fears as many raise their hand to keep the masks on their face. Many of their parents were first to claim an interest in following the science, but when it comes to the wearing of masks, it appears fear wins over science. I hope the schools will help the children to identify the difference and choose rational reasoning. It’s an important skill for thriving.
Heather McDonald, writing for City Journal asks when will it be over? She writes, “Healthy young Manhattanites are choosing fear over facts. A group of masked mothers and their masked children recently gathered on the steps of the city’s Department of Education to sing, to the tune of “Frère Jacques”: “Just because we’re tired doesn’t mean it’s over. Mandate masks, that’s our ask.” When will it be over? In blue-state enclaves, a significant constituency would say, “never.”
The fear associated with a mother or father or teacher telling a child that viruses can be avoided by wearing a mask may prove to be a powerful factor in a child’s life. With the mask now associated with disease and dying, some of these children may never abandon them. And so too their parents.
The pandemic is ending but not the mask. There’s a good chance every future encounter with healthcare will require a mask. Even navigating airports and flying may likely require a mask indefinitely. Unfortunately, some will see every encounter with another human being as a potential encounter with a nasty virus or worse. Judging by how many still wear masks outdoors, even the air we breathe is suspect. For them, the fear knows no end.
Today, we’re confronted with the brutality of war. It consumes major media outlets and most of social media. For now but likely not for long, it appears we are mostly in unison as to our revulsion. Naturally, we grow fearsome of how it will end.
Unfortunately, the images of bloody Ukrainian civilians struggling to survive were enough for politicians to see an opportunity to sew fear. A former presidential candidate and US climate czar claimed the misery Ukrainians are suffering will be nothing compared to the misery ‘climate change refugees’ will endure. It is possible rich elites become tone-deaf from spending too much time in their fossil fuel-fed private jets.
If war is not enough to distract us from the pandemic, we’re confronted with serious economic uncertainty. For some who took early retirement due to the pandemic, inflation diminished nest-eggs might have them looking for a job again.
To those of us that have likely entered the final season of our life, it comes somewhat natural to consider those in their first. With so much of life ahead, we project our hopes and aspirations on them. The hope that each new sunrise represents a new day of wonder and possibilities. That peace and opportunity will lead to a sense of accomplishment and wellbeing.
But our children and grandchildren inherit a world of uncertainty. Any reading of history will tell us it always has been. C.S. Lewis pointed that out when he wrote, “War creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice.”
Words Of Strength
By Friedrich Schiller
There are three lessons I would write,
Three words as with a burning pen,
In tracings of eternal light,
Upon the hearts of men.
Have hope. Though clouds environ now,
And gladness hides her face in scorn,
Put thou the shadow from thy brow;
No night but hath its morn.
Have faith. Where’er thy bark is driven -
The calm’s disport, the tempest’s mirth -
Know this: God rules the hosts of heaven,
The inhabitants of earth.
Have love — not love alone for one,
But man as man thy brother call,
And scatter like the circling sun
Thy charities on all.
Thus grave these lessons on thy soul -
Hope, Faith, and Love — and thou shalt find
Strength when life’s surges rudest roll,
Light when thou else wert blind.