Why Can’t Americans Just Stay Home?

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, I’ve been staying home more by necessity. I have two diseases that deplete my immune system, and my doctor advised that if I get Covid, the outcome will probably be bad. This is not to say I wouldn’t enjoy going out, or visiting my friends, or having my children visit me. I certainly would, and I do get outside when possible and wear a mask and keep a safe distance. But I don’t understand why average Americans can’t stop congregating in groups of more than 10. Why can’t we do this simple thing for the greater good? We can buy almost anything from home. We can have online learning for our children for now, although experts maintain it’s not as effective. We can have a doctor consultation from home. We can even maintain contact with our friends with Skype and our phones. So why can’t Americans just suck it up temporarily for the good of the nation?

In my local communities, and across our country, there was a gargantuan collective whine from high school students because they couldn’t go to their traditional mass super spreader graduations and proms. Forgive me, I’m not sympathetic because teens had to forego graduation ceremonies in order to avoid killing their grandparents, and countless other Americans who are elderly or otherwise health compromised.

If you had asked me when I was 17 whether I would be willing to give up my high school graduation in order to save dozens, maybe hundreds of lives in my hometown, I would have gladly agreed. I would have agreed if it saved one single life. Of course I probably would have been disappointed, but I know I would have forgotten about it the minute I went to college, a truly rewarding experience in most people’s lives. Everyone knows that if your best memories were in high school, a pathetic time for a lot of kids, you’re a complete loser as an adult. In the comedy “King of Queens”, perennial loser Doug Heffernan (Kevin James) makes a delivery to his old high school and suddenly gets hooked by the old feeling of his high school football greatness. He ends up trying to befriend the current high school football players, and in the end becomes the laughing stock of the school. This is exactly how high school ranks in the grand scheme of our lives. So all summer, I watched in disgust as local high school punks whined all summer about their shattered dreams of a graduation ceremony. How utterly pathetic.

I don’t even remember my high school graduation ceremony. I don’t even remember the majority of my classmates, and to this day I only keep in touch with one friend from high school.

And what about weddings? Every time a wedding was held in my community this past summer, and couples broke the capacity limits that were put in place by our Governor and local politicians, PEOPLE DIED. Why is this acceptable in our country? Why are the self-centered and “me first” attitudes in our country obsessive to the point that we will sacrifice our neighbors for our own gratification? If you’re a bride-to-be in this time of Covid, wouldn’t you rather wait until your special day could be perfect, without masks and including as many friends and relatives as you wanted? And when you returned from your honeymoon, would you be okay with the fact that your wedding caused death? Are brides that selfish?? I guess they are, and for me it’s a very sad realization.

And what about the partiers? In my county, we had the infection rate down to less than 1%, and then the local college kids returned to campuses, continuing to party and refusing to practice any health safety measures in the middle of a worldwide plague. Now our local infection rate is over 5% and the politicians are talking about measured lockdowns again. What about the really stupid decision to hold the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally?? The government should have put their foot down and squashed this event. Attendees spread Covid all over our country, and death followed. Can’t people wait for anything in this country?? I love going to NFL games and it’s a big sacrifice not to attend this year. But am I glad I’m saving lives by giving up something that’s so important to me? Definitively, YES!!

Back in April 2020, I read opinions from multiple medical professionals that if everyone wore a mask for just two months and remained socially distant, the pandemic would have essentially been neutralized!! This means that we could have been rid of this horrible scourge by July 2020!! We could have isolated ourselves for just two months, and then completely reopened our economy and life would have returned to normal. In addition, we could have gotten by with just one small stimulus package instead of the two or three it will take to keep ordinary Americans afloat. Congratulations America. Because you wouldn’t take some simple steps for a couple months, you passed on more massive debt to your grandchildren. Great job! Instead, selfish Americans, just couldn’t bring themselves to do this very temporary selfless act. Less than 50% of Americans wear masks. The majority of anti-maskers and people refusing to practice social distancing are predominantly in hillbilly, Republican states. This is evidenced by Trump’s absurd rallies, where the only people wearing masks were seated directly behind the Don “The John”, where they would be visible by cameras.

If you told the many small business owners, restauranteurs, and workers that if they would stay home for two months and bite the bullet, everything would go back to normal. I think almost all small business owners would have accepted this plan. At least they wouldn’t have faced the prospect of closing their doors permanently. We wouldn’t have needed a vaccine, and the huge taxpayer bill that’s coming with it’s development and distribution. Businesses would have been saved from permanent closure. Jobs would’ve been saved and America would have proven that we were intelligent enough and resilient enough to take on and defeat our greatest threat of this century.

But in the harsh reality of American life, people chose selfishness and stupidity and now months later we are facing a winter of dark consequences. And worldwide ignorance and indifference has allowed the virus to mutate in certain countries, which could render future treatments and vaccines useless.

Anti-maskers have even taken to the absurd practice of printing up fake medical excuses to avoid the simple practice of wearing a mask in public. One really ignorant group was running around with pamphlets threatening retail workers with prosecution if they tried to enforce store mask policies. Instead of printing up this crap, why don’t you spend your time helping an elderly neighbor? I’ve never seen anything more pathetic and ignorant. Medical professionals have proven that almost no one in this country is in danger by wearing a mask. People with COPD, breathing problems are all able to wear masks safely. There is no debate about this. One doctor even went to the point of wearing six surgical masks layered on his face, and after checking his oxygen absorption levels — he was just fine. And the saddest statistic of all is that anti-maskers have committed violence and even killed retail workers just to avoid being decent human beings.

It’s a sad commentary on the selfishness and disregard for your fellow American that is obviously so prevalent in our country. I know these people have no shame. The Orangutan-in-Chief has no shame about the pandemic and all the lives lost, so why should they? It is what it is, they say.

Common decency has left us. The eradication of Covid-19 could have been one of the greatest triumphs in American history. But now history will tell the story of our greatest failure. I’ve never, ever been ashamed to be an American until now…

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Markus Anthony

Former newspaper reporter, published author, informed thinker...