Great, just what we needed, something new to divide us, to pit us against each other, to expose differences that can be exploited as distasteful or suspicious.
Disappointingly — though not surprisingly here in the land of Red and Blue, Yanny and Laurel — that’s just what the COVID-19 pandemic is giving us: a fault line along the dual need to shut down to protect public health and reopen to prevent economic collapse.
At a time when we all ought to be coming together in patience and with support, with a unifying goal of getting us through, instead, far too many of us are allowing ourselves to fall into camps of incivility and intolerance. It’s an emerging chasm especially apparent on social media.
All of a sudden, those who don’t wear masks in public or who are eager for a return to a fully open, fully functioning economy lack respect for others, aren’t courteous, or are being reckless and unsafe. And those painstakingly taking precautions are said to be hoodwinked by fear, taken in by a hoax, and uncaring.
Can’t we be better than that, especially right now? Can’t we disagree without judging and while still showing respect? Can’t we follow the guidelines from health experts to the best of our ability while also doing what our gut tells us is right without being ridiculed for it or skewered by those who hold different views?
Saying yes to such questions can be applied also when the topic is politics or abortion or religion or even whether pineapple belongs on pizza. Saying yes to questions of mutual respect and common decency is needed with regard to this pandemic, so we can survive it.
We can all have differing viewpoints, and this is an ideal time to recognize that the melding of divergent views often results in the best ideas, approaches, and outcomes.
Whether we saw a gold dress or a blue dress, we can all agree now: Our health is our No. 1 priority — physical, mental, and economic. Let’s please resist letting yet another disagreement drive us apart.