COPYRIGHT 2020 DEBRA LITTLEJOHN SHINDER
Fear is just as crippling whether or not it’s valid. Just as the mainstream media and certain politicians have become sources for spreading and exacerbating exaggerated fears of Covid-19, so also have the many groups established for the purpose of debunking those fears turned into sources for spreading and exacerbating fear of government, mainstream media, and those politicians.
That doesn’t mean Covid-19 isn’t a serious health problem for certain groups. That doesn’t mean the government reaction isn’t a serious threat to our liberty and freedom. But maybe we on both sides need to consider the possibility that our particular fears are being exploited just like those of the other side.
As the Covid responses get more and more absurd and overreactive, the conspiracy theories get wilder and wilder. And it gets more and more difficult to know who and what to believe, where to draw the line.
I make no secret of the fact that I am far more worried about becoming a victim of my own government than becoming a victim of the virus. But am I letting the extremists in my camp exaggerate those fears just like my mask-wearing, home-staying, long-distancing friends are letting the MSM propaganda exaggerate theirs?
I don’t know. I don’t want to be like the oblivious Germans who refused to believe the Jews were being shipped off to their deaths. I also don’t want to be like the good folks of Salem who let themselves be persuaded that their less conventional female neighbors were evil witches who needed to be burned at the stake.
How do we walk that thin line between denial and gullibility when the waves on both sides are trying so hard to wash us off the wall and into their particular sea of madness?
If you came here looking for a definitive answer, I’m sorry to say I don’t have one. Like so many others, I struggle every day to stay atop that wall, to walk that tightrope without falling off. Sometimes I lose my balance and almost get swept away by this or that new revelation or a heretofore unnoticed connection. But so far I’ve been able to grab the rope again, to scale the wall again, to scramble upright again — soaked to the bone and out of breath but still clinging to some semblance of sanity — for now.
I can’t help but envy those on both sides who are never plagued by doubt in this and other important issues. They are sure that they know for sure what’s true and what’s false. They are one hundred percent certain that they know what’s wrong and what’s right. Their world view consists only of angels and demons, white hats and black hats, good guys and bad guys. There are no pesky gray beret wearing, well-meaning but misguided, complicated human beings to muddy the waters.
I envy them the simplicity of their thought processes, the utter conviction with which they go about the business of making decisions, and all the time they save by not having to listen, read, research, analyze, weigh the arguments, consider the opinions, ponder other perspectives, mull over the talking points, challenge their own biases and motivations, and think outside of the box and between the lines.
I envy them and I also pity them. Because as smart as they think they are and as confident as they might seem, I know that life is not an Apple interface. Over-simplification is not the solution. Life and its biggest issues are made up of messy, mixed up command line arguments where one mistyped character or overlooked space can render the entirety of the code completely useless.
And so I will continue to walk the fine line – occasionally staggering slightly like a not-drunk-but-a-little-buzzed driver desperate to pass the sobriety test – and I’ll keep on questioning my own assumptions as well as those of others, and I’ll turn up the color sat and turn down the contrast control so I won’t miss the shades of gray that color every issue and every individual in this 16,777,216-hue RGB world.