ACKNOWLEDGE: The contents in this story are fictional.
Context: John is an eighteen year old boy living in the state of New Jersey but his life and work is in New York City; he is not fully complying with the stay-at-home orders. Rosie is a sixteen year old girl living in the state of New York, self quarantining under the orders of the city.
The argument started with my friend John’s complaints about the so-called “struggle” he was going through because a specific political figure wasn’t allowing a reopening of New York city until later than he wanted. At first, I tried to refrain from involvement because in political arguments, no one truly wins and I didn’t see the point in expending useless energy. My other friend Rosie did not feel the same. She gradually became frustrated as John continued to complain about not being able to see his friends, go to movies, eat out, go to the city, etc. I didn’t truly understand why until later. John and Rosie were at it for about ten minutes, peacefully disagreeing until John started complaining about not being able to go to work to make money and not being able to see his friends or dine out. Normally I would feel for this type of person; however, acknowledging that X’s family is not in a financial crisis and both parents have kept their jobs makes it a little difficult to empathize.
Suddenly, Rosie snapped. I have been friends with this girl for about eight years and I have never seen her in such pain and anger. She raised her voice to tell the story of her immigrant sister figure and how she’s handling the crisis. She yelled that her sister lived in a one bedroom apartment with three other families whose parents lost all of their jobs and can’t even afford to pay for food anymore. Rosie explained that she and her family sent them groceries every week since the beginning of March and they still might not have enough money to pay rent.
“Do you know how much they’ve complained?” Rosie asked rhetorically.
“Not once. Not even an ‘I wish’ from the children'” She answered herself.
“Do you know how lucky you are to sit comfortably in a crisis and still be able to afford food and a roof over your head? Get over what you don’t have and start appreciating the things you do have.”
Silence filled the call for a brief second. I could feel the weight of John’s remorse on his previous statements. However, humanity is full of arrogance, so what came out of his mouth would be later regretted.
“I don’t care. I want the city to be reopened.”
There are those moments in life when you find yourself questioning the rights of humanity. You look around the world and see a sheath of greed and ego making the world’s most principal decisions, and wonder why God has let us rule for so long. Are we a part to a bigger whole? Are we participants in an experiment? No matter the context, this very moment was my biggest loss of faith.
We ended the call. Rosie called me immediately afterward, sweating from expending herself on anger.
I texted John and accused him of going too far. I expected him to apologize and explain that his emotions took the wheel to create a spur of the moment statement. His arrogance preceded him. He supported his previous statement and chose to exercise his freedom of “opinion.”
“We have to reopen the country, we can’t allow the economy to get any worse than it already is.” He maintained.
“You want simple solutions to complex problems.” I replied
“This is a complex problem but I’m not going to allow fear to be the enemy and take over anyone’s head.”
“Fear keeps us alert. Too much can damage and too little can blind.” I replied.
He never responded.
This was not politics. There was no specific opinion that played a role in the depth of this argument. This was purely right vs. wrong and good vs. evil. Now I know what you’re thinking, “John had a right to believe that the city needed to be reopened.” You’re right, he did have a right to think that, but he didn’t have a right to see himself of a higher importance than every other individual. You know what that’s called?
I’ve been seeing this trait a lot lately. Not just in individuals, but in our country as a whole. This virus is not about YOU, it’s inanimate so stop trying to negotiate with it. Believe me, every time you try and start a fight with science, you will lose.
Do your brothers and sisters a favor, don’t play judge, jury, and executioner. We do not get to decide whether someone lives or dies based upon our own selfish desires to see friends. By hanging out with your friends at a time like this, you are abusing your power as an individual.
You may not realize this, but we do hold the power here. A virus requires a host to survive and whether it gets one or not is completely up to us. WE are the hosts which means WE determine the survival rate of the virus. Given that, containment can only be achieved through extreme measures of social distancing and abiding by the laws of science. If not for you, for your sixty-five year old neighbor or your eighty-five year old grandmother. Their lives hold just as much weight as yours do.
We do our due diligence not because we don’t want to get the virus but because we don’t want blood on our hands. It’s scary to think that my generation is the future of society and we are not starting off on the right foot by contributing to the spread and deaths of others. Additionally, my generation refuses to see this virus at a general level. You may not realize it now, but everything we do predicts our performance in the future.
So think about it, are we going to be known as the savior or the detriment of our society?
I know that my purpose of this blog is to encourage creativity and positivity which is why I leave you with this.
EACH AND EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CONTRIBUTE TO SAVING LIVES AND IF WE MAXIMIZE THIS, OUR UNITY WILL GIVE US THE STRENGTH WE NEED.
Thanks for reading.
Stay safe and healthy.