Land of the Free
Happy Independence Day Eve!
This is our week. Chad and Kristi K-I-S-S-I-N-G, first comes love, then comes a wedding on the 4th of July on top of Vail Mountain, sparklers, BBQ, and ice cream treats to follow. How Americana does it get?
Typically, we spend this week in the mountains celebrating love and independence. Of course, this year, we are staying at home.
It’s our choice to stay home and continue to quarantine, but since it’s Independence weekend and things are what they are, I want to talk about freedom for a minute.
I love you, America, but I’m disappointed too. We set a new global record for COVID-19 cases today.
And I already see the narrative changing from “let’s do our part” to “well, it’s inevitable.”
It’s not inevitable.
All we must do to get through this time is wear masks, practice good hygiene, and social distance. That’s all. So why aren’t we doing it?
Because we get weird about other people telling us what to do; we are America, land of the free, home of the exceptional, and all the usual rhetoric.
We think we know everything, so no one can tell us anything. We behave as a teenager country — defiant and foolish. When you point out how other countries have minimized the COVID risk (or for that matter addressed gun control or racism or environmental issues or healthcare or any big issue), you are met with scorn and “well that would never work here because…” (trails off in a teenage huff).
It’s not a freedom issue; it’s a maturity issue.
The US is still a teenager relative to many “less free” countries. By the way, did you know we actually rank 20th-something on the democracy index? The countries that give up some freedom for the greater good do so because they know what’s at stake.
Countries that have gone through some shit don’t play around. The stakes don’t feel as high for us because we’ve been living the “I gotta car, some money in my pocket, my music is turned up, I’m with my friends and feeling good, what could happen” life for so long, that we don’t know even see the crash coming. War, famine, large-scale tragedies happen somewhere else.
Except that COVID is here and it’s kicking our ass, and we still choose convenience over safety. And, for the record, masks aren’t a political statement. Masks aren’t Democrat or Republican — don’t believe the hype.
I’m afraid if we leave it up to everyone to start doing the right thing, COVID will continue to escalate, especially when school resumes and winter returns. And I know I sound pessimistic, but if and when a vaccine becomes available, we’re probably going to find out it’s $3,500/pp out-of-pocket, even with insurance, and the anti-vaxers won’t consider it anyway.
All that to say, I’m predicting a lot of resignation, shrugs and avoiding eye contact, thoughts and prayers.
I mean, well, it’s inevitable, right?
We will go on with our lives, feigning surprise when it doesn’t magically resolve itself, then stand around and commiserate “what could be done?” ignoring the numbers until there are dire results for someone we know and love.
And convince ourselves all along the way that we did our best. Because we are America, and best is our thing, right?