We all have our differences. We all have our beliefs, and we are all entitled to our opinions. And, unfortunately, we are often so attached to our opinions that we refuse to listen to the other side. It is my opinion after all.
These differences, and the belief of always being right, has created a conundrum: every issue, no matter how neutral it may seem, has become a political issue. In some ways, yes, this must happen because government policy is a major instigator of change. However, this conundrum has also formed major divides between people on pretty much every issue, including our current one: the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite this pandemic being an issue of public health, people have yet again turned this into some screwed-up partisan issue. While there is plenty of conspiracy theories and misinformation about coronavirus being spread, the worst offenders are those that decide that this pandemic is some sort of hoax, that it isn’t really that bad, and that social distancing is unnecessary.
This is dangerous. COVID-19 is a serious public health threat that could end up taking the lives of millions of people if we are not careful, yet it has somehow turned into a culture war. A pandemic isn’t something you just choose to believe in. It’s a fact of our world today, and choosing to not take it seriously poses a threat to everyone, including yourself and your loved ones.
The response our country has had to this pandemic, and our constant political polarization, makes me wonder if people have forgotten what politics is really for. Do we really care about truly making our country great, or do we only care about making ourselves great?
I ask this question not as a stab at any one party. I ask this question to every single person, regardless of political party affiliation of beliefs.
I truly believe that every person, at the heart of their beliefs, wants what is best for themselves and their loved ones. They want to live in a just world, one where they and their loved ones can grow up to become whoever they want to be. A world where we know we are safe, equal, and taken care of.
But we don’t live in that world. We are far from it. We have let our attachment to our opinions and political parties interrupt the realization of that world. We work for the advancement of a political party rather than the advancement of humanity as a whole.
I am not saying that it is bad to have opinions and beliefs about issues. In fact, having different opinions is good - it helps bring in diverse perspectives and ideas that lead to better solutions. The issue with different opinions isn’t their difference. The issue is that people are unwilling to listen to the other side. More importantly, they are not willing to listen to the facts.
During this pandemic, people are notorious for not listening to the facts, to science, or to experts, especially when those facts go against what their party is saying.
This isn’t anything new, of course. People have always created conspiracy theories, and there are always people out there who deny science (I see you, anti-vaxxers). This time, however, the denial of facts, science, and the guidance of experts has put millions of people at risk. All for what - a normal party with friends on a Saturday night?
This virus has already killed over 60,000 people worldwide. Yes, over 250,000 have survived, but there is no guarantee that you will, or the loved ones you pass it onto will.
Social distancing is not a political issue. This is not a Democratic party ploy to get people to stay inside and show how much we need government. This is also not some Republican scheme to kill off a bunch of poor people. This is an issue of the safety and health of all people - and it’s time we started treating it as such.
So please, stay home. Stay inside. Think about the health of your loved ones, not about whether you belong to this party or that party. Because in the end, political parties don’t matter when you’re dead.