Our nation is troubled by a pandemic whose effects are magnified by the media. Prudence is advised to prevent contracting the disease. But, a partial closure of society requires critical examination. Have we gone too far?
We are troubled by events that we have never before experienced. But, the trouble lies deeper than this. Our reaction to the pandemic reveals certain things about us and our culture. While some of what I say is speculation (only looking back will give us clarity), I will venture to make some observations.
- We are used to living in a safe bubble here in the U.S.A. Contemporary life (except for potential threats from overseas) has not been threatened by mass catastrophic disease, though several generations ago (1918) the world was dealing with a flu that kill millions of people. This event is now a faint echo. We have little historical perspective. In fact, we don’t know much history.
- We are deeply afraid of death. We find little solace and hope because of the lessening of religious belief.
- Our media reveals our superficiality. It is hysterical and causes hysteria. Thus far, we have had far fewer deaths compared to last year’s flu. Shall we cry quarantine every flu season?
- Politicians are incapable of putting the nation before their partisan interests.
- Our spiritual resources are in shorter supply than toilet paper.
- Fear wins the day as politicians advise us to lock ourselves in our houses and not come out. Social distancing is a new euphemism for a harsh reality, that is, not the disease but human misperception of the disease and excessive fear.
- The disease has revealed our self-destructive tendencies, fear, unreason, selfishness. Hoarding has been a problem.
- Do we really love our neighbor or just ourselves? Let’s not boast of our altruism.
- We think we are a free people, but we are rather a nation of sheep. We need to challenge our leadership regarding unnecessary draconian measures. No opinion of a governmental official should escape critical examination.
- The cure is causing and will cause much suffering, especially among the poor. Many people are out of work.
- If what I say turns out to be wrong and the corona virus devastates our land, I apologize beforehand for misleading you.
In 1347 the black plague arrived from the East, conveyed along the Silk Road. It killed one-third of the European population. Now that was a pandemic!
In our witness and defense, we need to show faith in Christ and reason in our thinking.
Kyrie, eleison. Lord, have mercy!
Michael G. Tavella
March 27, 2020