Day 61 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place

Friday, May 15, 2020 – Live to Blog Amidst of a Lot of Noise

Besides the political and societal noise about COVID-19, we are also dealing with a lot of actual noise today in our house. Rather than face thousands of dollars of repairs to keep our HVAC system limping along, we decided to take a deep breath and replace it. The installers are here today. They are making good progress and some great noise! All is normal.


Will a Vaccine Really Matter?

Tweets don’t usually disturb me. Until today. It disturbs me for two reasons. First, I tend to trust the source. Second, the content is frightening.

The tweet came from David Brooks, the New York Times columnist who is often identified as a conservative and a Republican. I first started following him on the PBS News Hour where he squares off each Friday with Mark Shields, a progressive Democrat. Over the years I have enjoyed their thoughtful and thought provoking debates. They remind me that civil discourse, and even agreement, is still possible if people are willing and able. Brooks’ The Road to Character is one of those books that I’m quick to recommend to people and, of course, I recommend it to you. When David Brooks speaks, I tend to pay attention. This morning I paid attention to his Tweet:

The graphic he shared is scary. Look at it closely. In barely a month, during the worst days of the pandemic so far, there has been a 10% drop in the number of Americans who said they are likely to get the COVID-19 vaccination once it becomes available. Responses to Brook’s Tweet included the usual rants and snarky comments but there was one that stood out to me because of its analysis.

What @lbbayer, and respondents, are revealing is the lack of trust many people have in “current leaders” generally and in Donald Trump specifically. No surprise there. Part of our great partisan divide in the U.S. is the lack, even absence, of trust that people in one party feel toward leaders put forth by the other. Regardless of who started the fight, in the end, all will lose. The leaders will lose because all will have drawn the ire of the people. The people will lose because of failed leadership.

There are two things our leaders do not understand, or, if they do, they don’t care about at all…which is even more frightening.

First, leadership is not about being ahead, or “the head,” of people. It is about walking alongside them without concern for what is in it for self. Consider what Lao Tzu wrote millenials ago:

Second, trust is fundamental in motivating people to embrace change. Stephen Covey wrote “Trust is the glue that holds everything together.” He is also credited with the concept that change happens at the speed of trust. In the midst of this pandemic, until American’s can trust their leaders to make decisions in the best interests of we the people as whole (and not special interests), communicate transparently and honestly, and act with integrity, we will not make much progress against COVID-19.

We not only have a pandemic of COVID-19, we have a pandemic of mistrust.

Recently I’ve heard economists, scientists, and public health people agree on a single point: the economy will not come back until we bring the virus under control. This is because most people are too afraid to go back to work, patronize restaurants, theaters, bars, shops, stores, and other businesses until they feel it is really safe to go out again. Though we remain under stay-at-home orders here in Prince George’s County until June 1, we expect to be avoiding public places for a very long time to come.

Our country and society has been dealt a devastating blow in terms of both health and economy. It is important right now that we be able to believe our leaders and trust them. Our capacity to recover depends on it. Unfortunately, our leaders do not appear to have the moral courage or capacity to do the one thing they must do: together sow truth to let the seeds of trust grow.


Why Wait? Have Heapin’ Bowlful of Some Good News!


The Adventures of Chickenman

Now that Chickenman has been completely dissolved by the Chicken Dissolver, what will it mean for crime in Midland City?


Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep demanding the truth of fact and science.

Tom

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