“We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” ― Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
My dad used to say something similar, “The right things is rarely the easy thing to do but it’s the only thing we can do.” Since Dumbledore and my dad agree it must be true! High praise indeed. Sorry Dad.
We’re living through a moment that will be studied in history classes for decades and beyond. Just like we did, students will sit in a classroom and listen to a teacher or a professor lay out the facts, statistics, and throw in some stories from those that lived it. Those students will take all of that it in and draw their own conclusions about how we, as a global society, handled such a monumental challenge.
What will they say? Have you thought about it? Have you thought about how our choices today will be viewed by those looking back at history? Maybe it’s trivial. Maybe it’s a bit macabre. Maybe it’s just a silly little exercise of fancy to kill a few minutes of isolation. Maybe it’s just nice to think that there’s a future where this story ended and a new one began.
Right now, I’m wondering how history will judge us and the choices we make?
Some people, some nations, are handling this better than others. While others are facing greater challenges than some. The body count coming out of some countries is truly staggering. I don’t know about you, but my brain can’t begin to compute that level of suffering and death. My heart can’t hold that much sorrow for those that are hurting right now but it sure is trying its best.
Is there a right way and a wrong way? Is it so hard and fast? Can I really blame one country for hoarding medical supplies to take care of their people? Wouldn’t I be tempted to do the same?
If you’re following the news, you know what I’m talking about but I’m trying to keep this in the theoretical, philosophical, not the political.
I think, if I’m being honest, I’d say that I would be tempted but would I go through with it? I think I’m going to take a deep breath and brace myself while I hopefully say: No, I wouldn’t do it. You’re suffering as much as I am and if we’re both going to get through this we’re going to have to do the right thing. The right thing, as hard as it is, is to not shut each other out and go at it alone. We can help each other get through this but only if we both agree to help.
I’m trying very hard not to blast any country, political party, or person. This virus is such a big drain on all of us and on all of our resources. It’s so easy to criticize those in the trenches while sitting a safe distance away. I’m not in a position of power, thank God, and I don’t know the intricacies of running a nation. Let alone, running a nation amid a global pandemic. The toll this must take on the people making life and death decisions? I can’t even begin to understand what that’s like, and I hope I never find out.
I’m just one person, sitting at home, waiting to catch this virus while hoping science figures it out before I do. I have a compromised immune system so, from where I’m sitting in my safe little apartment, it feels inevitable. My only hope, our only hope, is that these people put aside politics, money, power, and give everything they can to the qualified scientists, doctors, and front-line workers.
But some want to pad their pockets so they live in comfort while the rest of us wait for our tickets to be punched. That, quite frankly, pisses me off. Politicians, businesses, and all the rest. They’re choosing the easy route because, right now, they have a choice. The rest of us?
Then again, it’s a lot easier for me, sitting safely inside my tiny apartment, to write a blog about someone’s bad behaviour. It’s easier to criticize than it is to go out there and try to do that job. I’m under no illusion that I could do it any better. Unlike some, I am very aware of my limitations.
However, as an armchair critic, what the hell? I get the whole country first mentality. I’m all for patriotism and fireworks. Love the one your with! Under any other cirumstance, I’d say, “You do you booboo.” You have the right to do with your country as you see fit.
I understand where you’re coming from but none of us can get through this without helping each other out. Sharing knowledge and supplies. Helping each other find a cure, a vaccine, and a way out of this mess. You want to do something, I get that, but this? Your people will suffer more if you force them to go at it alone.
The easiest thing in the world is to lock our doors, turn off the lights, and pray no one notices we’re here. It’s easy to shut down, close our eyes, and stick our fingers in our ears. It’s easier to look after our own and tell everyone else to f**k off. Does it make it right? No. Will it solve your problem or ours? Hell no.
But I get the impulse! I finally ventured out of my home and went to the store. Don’t worry, I took precautions to protect myself from the germs and so did the kind store employees. (Thanks for the help and your hard work. It’s very much appreciated). I walked down the aisle, finally found some toilet paper, and I wanted to load my cart up with enough packs to last the next six months.
I know! This is a small, puny, little example compared to the decisions our leaders are making but the thought process was similar. I’m in trouble. We’re all in trouble. I can’t help you. You can’t help me. I should help myself. I should protect myself. I should protect the people I love. You? I don’t know you, but I know my next-door neighbour with stage three breast cancer. What about her? She one of my people. You’re not. So…
Protect your own but first, and foremost, protect yourself.
That’s what it boils down to but then what? We’re no better off than we were yesterday. I would’ve had more toilet paper, but the bigger problem still exists. I wouldn’t have helped anything or anyone. I would’ve caused more pain. I may have felt like I’d done something but all I would’ve done is create a new problem.
Our leaders are now facing that same choice. Solve one problem but create a new one? Or work together, tough it out together, and find a solution together? That new problem could have devastating consequences down the line. Fractured relationships and trade agreements. Economically devastating every country involved. Not to mention the cost of friendships that have been forged in blood, sweat, and tears.
Those students, in that history class, have the benefit of hindsight but we’re running blind. How many people die because of the choices made today? Both choices! The consequences can be catastrophic for everyone involved.
Right or easy? They both have consequences and neither look all that pretty. I’ve had to choose between messed up and f**k up before. With my illness, I’ve faced choices that didn’t have a pretty outcome. No matter what I chose! There was pain, suffering, and potential death. It’s impossible to choose, but we have to make a choice.
Right or easy?
Those are our choices. Those are the choices our leaders are facing.
Right or easy?
We’ve all sat in that history class, listened to the facts, and passed judgement. People made the easy choice and people made the right choice. Which one did you respect? Which one did you dislike? Which one made you stop and shake your head? Did you ask, “How could anyone have done that?”
Right or easy?
The choices we make today will be viewed in the same light as the choices made by our ancestors. For me, the people I respect are the ones who chose to do that right thing despite the consequences. Some knew what those consequences were and did it anyway. Others flipped a coin and prayed for the best. They did the right thing because it was the only thing they could do.
Right or easy?
I don’t have an answer for you, but I pray that I have the courage to do the right thing. I pray our leaders, regardless of political affiliation or country, do the right thing. Most of all, I pray that those trying to save lives in horrible circumstances are granted the wisdom, courage, and strength to know what to do next.
Oh, for the record, I grabbed toilet paper for myself and my parents. Hoarding makes life difficult for all of us. Please stay safe and healthy.
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For reliable, up to date, information about COVID-19 pandemic please check out these sites:
- The World Health Organization (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019)
- The Centre for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html)
- The Public Health Agency (https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health.html)