Sunday 1 November 2020

The choice of two paths in responding to Covid-19

I was inspired to write this by a news article on Friday on Channel 4 News about the US election, so this is my version. Which is: We have two paths to choose from in dealing with not just  Covid-19 but also life in general.

1. The path of Individuality. In the UK this is the 'I'm going to do what I want and fuck everyone else. If I choose to not follow the government guidelines to limit the spread of Covid-19 then that's my human right. If I want, I can party with my friends, have at least six people in my home, not wear a face mask, not social distance, not quarantine when I come back from a foreign holiday. If I catch Covid-19, then I probably won't even have any symptoms if I'm young and if I'm older, then if I die earlier than I need to that's my choice. And if I spread the virus to others, that's their problem. But if I need hospitalisation, then that's also my right to have treatment. If I'm an extra burden on already exhausted hospital staff, then that's their job so what are they complaining about? And if the crisis lasts longer than it needs to because of 'free-thinking' people like me and there are fewer jobs because businesses are going bust, then I can get state benefits because that's my right. 

In the US, the greatest follower of this path is Donald Trump plus many of his followers, and it extends to the use of firearms to protect property and scare voters and, in the case of some police officers, it means the right to kill someone of colour because, heck, they won't get out of their car or they're running away from me or they deserve to be taught a lesson. Of the many tweets and statements playing down the seriousness of Covid-19, Donald Trumps' latest about 'we're turning the corner with this virus which is just a little flu' belies the fact that the virus is spreading in the US at an alarming rate and deaths are of staggering proportions.

2. The path of Collective Responsibilty. If you choose this path, you look after yourself but also others. You behave in a way that you, yourself, would like to be treated. You obey the government guidelines not because you're a dumb sheep following the flock but because you know it's the best way to limit the virus. And it's the right thing to do. Even if those guidelines are tough and restrictive and sometimes unfair. Even if too many people in positions of influence and responsibilty do not, themselves, obey the guidelines and brag that no, they're not going to wear a face mask and yes, they're going to have a full house at Xmas, and 'I thought the guidelines had changed about not going out when you've tested postive'. Think Dominic Cummings and my case could rest there except that although he was the first to break the guidelines he's not the last.

My theory of the two paths can also be applied to other countries with their own particular circumstances.

I am a great believer in human rights but I choose the second path. I choose to not exercise my rights if it's going to hurt other people and I feel empowered by that, not diminished.

Each one of us has the right to choose which path we take but each one of us must also live with our own conscience for far longer than this pandemic.


Unknown said...

Well said my friend. I wholeheartedly agree. I'm just bracing myself for the fact that I may well not be able to get shopping again because of panic buyers. As a person in a wheelchair finds day to day life difficult enough as it is I'm dreading the next few weeks maybe months. I have contacted those in my support bubble that we will not be able to see each other again until this virus dies. Take care of yourself and thank you for voicing what I have feared for some time.

Elizabeth Lee said...

I agree! You’re not alone with your views. Sadly there are too many selfish people in our world today and also many with nothing better to do than stir up unrest with their conspiracy views. Eventually we will come out of this awful time.......inchallah.
Take care Maggie, John ....and Betsy