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anne mikolay 2018The following meme is making the rounds on facebook: “If you think Donald Trump told people to inject themselves with disinfectant, you’re a moron.” Guess what? I’m not a moron! Now that this declaration is out of the way, let me clarify. Donald Trump did not tell people to inject themselves with disinfectant or bathe in bleach or whatever nonsense the media and Trump opposers are claiming. The President did, however, propose injecting some sort of disinfectant into the body to cleanse the lungs of Covid-19. Granted, this treatment is not supported by scientists and doctors, and a man in Trump’s influential position should refrain from making careless, uninformed suggestions, but the man did not say what the media claims.

Nowadays, listening to and interpreting President Trump’s statements is like playing that old game of telephone. We hear and repeat what he says, filtering it through personal bias. Consequently, in the chain of communication, much is lost or inaccurately rephrased for laughs. Apparently, bipartisanship precludes keen listening skills and leads us to believe whatever pleases us. Trump’s supporters are pleased to unquestioningly back his statements; Trump detractors are happily on the lookout for presidential blunders. They found one here. While Trump spoke without forethought or knowledge, he did not instruct anyone to inject themselves with disinfectant (nor did he speak with sarcasm as he alleges). Those who listened to his words without bias know this.

Our selective comprehension skills put us all at risk. In a television news report on the great state of Georgia readying to open for business, a Georgia salon owner, through a face mask covering only her mouth,  told a reporter her customers need not be wary of returning to her shop; she had masks and hand sanitizer set aside for them. One has to wonder if she fully comprehends CDC guidelines. If she thinks the CDC said face masks that don’t cover the nose are adequate, she better go back and listen to the instructions again. That same news report profiled a fitness manager who proudly asserted a gym, like his own, is the most sanitary, safe environment during this Covid-19 crisis. After all, he said, everybody in the gym is healthy because “nobody who is sick goes to a gym.” Really?! I guess the man wasn’t listening for comprehension when the experts explained (countless times!) that asymptomatic, seemingly healthy individuals are silent carriers of Covid-19. The proprietor heard only what he wanted to hear, only that which furthered his own agenda.

It’s time we stopped acting like whiny children who hear and believe only what makes our lives easier. If we persist in behaving like children, then perhaps we should be addressed as such. So, boys and girls, listen up! Let’s put on our thinking caps, open our ears, and listen very, very carefully.

President Donald Trump did not tell people to inject themselves with disinfectant. The CDC did not say wearing a mask covering only your mouth is adequate protection. Sick people who don’t know they are sick frequent gyms and salons and unknowingly spread germs, possibly Covid-19.

Listening for comprehension may not make our lives easier, but it just might make us smarter, safer. Let’s put on our big girl and big boy masks, and get on with it.