This was my column for July 2, 2020
I read a comment on social media recently that said, “XX new coronavirus cases. It isn’t time to panic yet.” Fun fact: panic is never the correct response. Action is.
Panic is what led many in our community and our nation to hoard toilet paper.
So, no. It’s not time to panic. But is it time for action? I know that sounds like a dumb question, because if we think about it, it’s always time for action. Why? Because today is all we have. We hopefully learned a treasure of lessons from the past, and we hope our future is wise and prosperous, but today is all we have in our hands.
The next question becomes, what action do we take?
We all have things in our lives that require action. We should all have our spiritual house in order. We should all have our financial house in order. We should all have our family house in order.
What action would I recommend? I’m not a pillar of wisdom, but I can recommend some action without hesitation.
• Be kinder to each other. A subset of this would be to be wiser and less angry on the web.
• Try to realize that no one has a monopoly on wisdom. Yelling “2+2=5” doesn’t make it true, and calling someone an idiot in the comments section of their photos of the news doesn’t mean they are an idiot.
• Remember that illiterate, thoughtless, hostile and abusive comments on social media, just like in real life, reflects on the commenter, not on you. Hostility and abuse are the actions of bullies, and bullies are always cowards.
• Don’t be afraid to be courageous on social media, including being courageous enough to ignore and delete comments from bullies. You aren’t obligated to to listen to people who hate you or your ideas without justification. But we are all obligated to the truth.
There is a group of people who will read this, purse their lips, shake their heads with a huff, and mutter, “Well, he’s not talking about me.”
You might not be ready to hear what I have to say. You might go to your grave believing 2+2=5. But I know so many people who have turned away from that mindset, and have learned to listen, learned to be kind, learned to be civil and, bit by bit, wiser.
“Panic” – It bugs me that there are people who think taking action IS panicking (in the context of the pandemic). Like ceasing large gatherings in close quarters – it’s a sensible action to take, but many seem afraid of it. It was bugging me that I kept witnessing these large gatherings in my neighborhood, but then my *own* extended family invited us to TWO large multi-family (from multiple hotspot states) gatherings.