Don’t kill the COVID messengers

Don’t kill the COVID messengers

Since March of this year it’s fairly safe to say that most everyone has had their lives impacted by COVID. It’s also fairly safe to say we haven’t liked the impact and want to return to those pre-COVID times. But that is not reality and with no promise of a vaccine anytime soon, we are having to make the most of a difficult situation.

Meanwhile, it seems those individuals who have an inordinate amount of time on their hands have taken to accost others who are simply trying to navigate the same unchartered COVID landscape like many of us.

Hospitals have been accosted for limiting visitors and cancelling elective surgeries, nursing homes were accused of being insensitive to the dying when limiting family members, political leaders were accosted for not stopping the virus, closing businesses, slow response times to unemployment claims and lack of COVID testing.

School leaders and teachers have been chastised no matter what they do whether it be in-person school, e-learning or a hybrid proposal. And, for simply reporting what occurs at a public meeting or within the community, this newspaper and its staff has been the subject of the non-stop critique. It seems it is just easier to take one’s anger out at the messenger than it is to adopt a better outlook or refrain from being so negative.

Our local health department has been inundated with the same toxic negativity. Its staff has been working non-stop to keep up with the testing, outbreaks, contact tracing, let alone everything else they are asked to do for the public’s health. Yet they too are berated by those who simply want to criticize for the sake of being critical.

A stellar example of leadership was recently stated in this newspaper by Gillespie School Board President Mark Hayes who noted, “We’ve been through mine subsidence, two tornadoes, and now COVID. I know we haven’t made everyone happy with our responses, but now it is time to move forward.”  No one liked the aftermath of the mine subsidence or tornadoes, but by moving forward, a new school was built.

Parents need to remember that, like it or not, they are their child’s role model and primary teacher. If the child hears the parent being disrespectful to authorities who advocate the wearing of masks, the child is more likely to mimic the same disrespect.

We have seen fall sports schedules changed and many of our favorite events and festivals cancelled. Area businesses are struggling to survive. Let us pause to put what is truly important in the proper perspective. Our health is not a given and should not be taken lightly, nor should the opportunity to be employed. We should likewise be concerned about our own families and that of our friends and neighbors.

Life may be hard for everyone right now as we navigate to a new normal while fighting COVID, but it is how we choose to react that defines us. Let’s stop when we feel the need to write some snappy comeback on Facebook that will hurt someone, instead let’s ask ourselves what we can do to help turn a negative situation into something better. Are we being part of the solution, or just adding to the problem? As Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” It’s our choice as to what attitude we put on every day, and no one else’s. Let’s choose a good attitude to handle the difficult times in life rather than a negative, bitter attitude. We can and must do better.

After all, we are Macoupin Strong!