Fauci v. Trump and Why We Must Meet Somewhere in the Middle

Shades of gray. It’s a theme of this blog (for example, see this post). I know, I know… the middle ground – and like a distant drum off on the horizon that never stops, it goes and on and on here.

But hear me out…

I’m constantly struck by our collective tendency to push issues, arguments, decisions, conflicts into the hard corners of a boxing ring, to find comfort in picking a side and then proceeding to take a sip of water from the bottle shoved in front of us, receiving some last minute advice from coach, pounding our fists together and then heading out into the center to try to pummel our opponent. To defeat. To knock them out. This is to us, somehow, comforting. We like certainty. Being in a corner feels more certain.

Everything I am hearing about the need to open up our world, to get the economy flowing again, to put people back to work is being positioned as somehow opposing the desire to keep people safe and healthy. And then when experts talk about the need to exercise caution, to stay in lock down mode longer, I read statements about intrusive governments and hidden agenda politicians who have suspicious motives, including the desire to oppress and control the populace. It’s two boxers facing off.

At the moment, this is taking the form of the Dr. Fauci v. President Trump debate. How tiresome.

Would it be so impossible for us to agree that we need to keep people safe and we need to get our economy and way of life back too? We need both. So let’s collaborate and figure out clever ways to do both. Let’s use our ingenuity, courage, compassion and resolve to do both. Let’s be The Next Greatest Generation that stared down this challenge, our common foe, together… not by knocking each other senseless in the center of a boxing ring of our own making.

Masks. Ok, they are not very effective at keeping us safe. But they help a lot in preventing us from spreading the disease. And we spread the disease when we are asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic, in other words, when we are in the we-don’t-know-what-we-don’t-know stage. When we are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, we think we’re fine. We might even act as though we’re fine. We might say: “who needs to wear this stupid, annoying mask?”… and then not wear one ourselves. But if we do wear it, then we lessen the chances of spread. And we help the most vulnerable among us. There are some very vulnerable people in my life and I’d like to keep them safe. It would be nice if others, the ones who can carry the disease to them, would help with this.

If we do this together, we will beat this.

Increasingly, experts… the ones who are scientists and physicians… are saying that vaccines take time to develop. And that there are no guarantees. They’ve been trying unsuccessfully to come up with one for AIDS for a few decades. Alternatively, we need to develop sufficient herd immunity in order to combat the disease effectively. Those experts are saying it’s not unreasonable for this to take time. As in years.

So, we might be in this predicament for while. A long while. I for one believe we’ll be more productive, happier and safer if we choose to spend that time working together on our shared, mutual and middle ground goals instead of trying to punch each other into oblivion.

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