Pandemic Perspective

Brian Foisy, Editor in Chief

Perspective is important in everything. No situation can be accurately evaluated, no statement or conclusion made without first considering perspective. Perspective is important; perspective is everything. 

Still, there are some thoughts, perhaps too important not to let out, too guttural to be evaluated, too personal to be stymied, that come out without perspective. For most people, they have good days, and they have bad ones. We share these synopses at liberty: “Today I had a bad day because of…” or “today was a great day because of…” But some may say, for one to conclude that what they experienced in a day is bad, to truly make that statement, they’d have to first consider everyone else’s day. Most people, though, don’t think to themselves, “Man, today sure was a bad day, but at least I wasn’t murdered.” Some may say they do this out of ignorance or misplaced self-importance, but maybe it’s just an honest depiction of their life. And shouldn’t they have the right to share their perspective others?

What I’ve been leading to this whole time is how I feel during this pandemic. I feel pretty upset. But this statement ties back to the question of perspective. Am I using perspective in this? Am I weighing how dire some other people’s situations are? No, absolutely not. It’s a self-centered and egotistical statement, but still an honest one. Obviously I am not the most hard hit by this pandemic. I am not a nurse, nor am I ill, nor am I on the brink of poverty due to the financial environment. I’m just bored and longing for the high school events that now may never happen. My feelings register so insignificantly on the scale of current problems that I almost shouldn’t be voicing that concern. But yet this is my current problem, and whether or not it’s significant to the world, at least it’s significant to me. Shouldn’t that be what matters?

I can say with almost full certainty that people around the country are making some perspective-less statements about how this pandemic has affected them. I may be a fool for writing it down, but still, I’m not alone in this. Whether it was something like a missed vacation, college graduation canceled, a final sports season canceled, everyone has made some sacrifice due to this pandemic. Still, some would say that complaining about these minute alterations to our lives is rude to those whose lives have been altered in much more severe ways. 

Am I harming society, though, by complaining about this current situation? In some ways, maybe. But while I dislike what’s going on, I’m still obeying the new rules and regulations. For as much as I’d like to be back at school or out to eat, I understand why I can’t. Some people, however, are so blind to the world around them and blissfully unaware that they continue to live life the way they would have a month ago. The rosy way of looking at it is that these people are disengaged and disconnected and haven’t heard the news. While that is unlikely, it’s better than the likely truth. Which is that there are people who –  have seen what has gone on across the world these last few weeks – have deliberately neglected to change their lifestyle, as everyone else has, just because they don’t want to would be too scary a thought and too reckless an action. For disengagement is a lesser crime than ignorance. 

That’s the real lack of perspective there. I’m merely lodging a complaint about the situation I’m in. Where instead, they’ve decided to buck all the expertise and proceed with their lives as they would normally. They’re actively hurting society. 

In other cases, when presented with an opportunity to help the innocent during this time, have turned the other way. Look to our nation’s capital too and the absence of perspective there. Sure, politicians are human. They have souls and heartbeats like the rest of us. But, the politician has a different brain. For comparison, when the average human brain sees a crisis unfolding, sees people in need, their reaction is probably to help them. But for the politician when their eyes view someone in need, as the oxygen and blood flow to their brain, their mouth opens, and they retort, a statement, not for the dire needy moment, but the advertisement for the next election. The politician was made without perspective as well, without self-awareness. 

If there were ever a time in the chambers of Congress to cast partisanship and sound-byte grabbing aside, it would be during a pandemic and potential economic depression. But still, like I said, with reelection in mind, the members of Congress decided not to act instantaneously but instead carry on a week-long dog and pony show about how much the other aisle wasn’t doing enough to help the country. 

Eventually, though, after all the nonsense and name-calling subsided, they got something done. No congratulations on that, though, because you don’t get applause for doing your job. 

But, there are those in Washington who have still not done their job. In the beginning of the crisis, The President was arguing that the disease would soon disappear. And now that he realizes he’s made a mistake, he can’t fess up. He shifts blame first to the CDC, then China, and then the Governors, and even to the health care providers that are working tirelessly on the frontlines to save lives. He stands behind the podium in the Briefing Room and in the Rose Garden expectorating lies, self-congratulations, and nonsense while accredited leaders in medicine, politics, and business stand behind him and do nothing to stop this folly. 

I can think of few perspective-less actions worse than when the President brags about his television ratings and blames others for his own mistakes, while two thousand Americans have lost their lives. And they’ve lost their lives in large part due to his own federal government’s incompetence and hubris.

And now because of this hubris and inaction, their best-case scenario is hundreds of thousands suffering and dying. That’s considered a job well done. As a result of not heeding medical advice, of not looking to what was happening overseas, not listening to perspective, we’re presented with a situation where the best thing that could happen would be two hundred thousand dead. 

Perspective is important, and when it goes unlistened to and unanswered, we end up in situations like this.