I don’t know about you, but if another celebrity on television tells me “we’re all in this together,” I might kick the screen in. Same thing goes for daily Covid-19 press conferences from governors or President Trump, opinions from doctors/scientists, and nightly updates from news anchors. Enough already! Yes, I know, “information is power,” “the more you know,” blah blah blah, but tell me this: is being bombarded with Covid-19 all day, every day, doing anybody any good at all? It has to be psychologically challenging for most people. I know it is for me.
While “we’re all in this together” is a great slogan, I have to wonder if it’s true. Are we really all in this together? I’m not so sure; there’s a lot of contradictory “me first” behavior going on. People who are united do not exploit misfortune for their own benefit. They don’t price gouge or hoard goods like toilet paper or face masks. They don’t disregard social distancing to do whatever they please. They don’t discard PPE in parking lots, and they don’t soil the park grounds because the bathrooms remain closed.
If “we’re all in this together,” shouldn’t we agree on how to battle Covid-19? If we stand together, shouldn’t we all be wearing masks in total respect of one another’s health? Shouldn’t each of us be social distancing rather than one person staying at home while another jogs with a friend? Shouldn’t we all be willing to “suck it up” and deal with restrictions rather than voicing opposition to what irks us personally? If “we’re all in this together,” why are we receiving contradictory messages from our nation’s leadership and scientific experts? Playing the blame game or promoting conspiracy theories divides us rather than unites us. Don’t stand on your soapbox and tell us we’re all in this together; put your mask on, stand six feet apart from your peers, and prove it.
Covid-19 has impacted each of us differently. Some of us have family in the healthcare profession on the front lines; some of us do not. Some of us have family/friends that have had the virus; others do not. Some parents skillfully embrace homeschooling; others cannot. Across America, there are students of all ages sitting at their kitchen tables with their computers, studying with a snack beside them and perhaps a dog/cat in their lap. There are also students of all ages without access to technology, struggling with assignments on an empty stomach because their only decent daily meal had been provided by their school. While privileged women worry about their fading hair color or chipped manicures, the less fortunate wonder if they should buy food or medicine because they can no longer afford both.
Covid-19 is harshly repainting the American canvas. The virus has impacted each of us differently. It has caused us to review our finances and our social situations, perhaps changed our employment status or retirement plans. Through illness, death, and fear, Covid-19 has changed our families, our friendships, our philosophies. It has made us rethink what it means to live in America.
One thing is clear. Only theoretically are we all in this together. As David Fleet reported in The Citizen on April 7, 2020, “We are all in the same boat, but not the same storm.”