“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
~ Samuel Adams
After about 8 weeks of isolation Boiseans are beginning to be able to go to their favorite shops, personal care establishments and restaurants as we enter phase 2 of the reopening plan. Yet, during the stay at home order thru May 19th, 77 people in Idaho have died with the largest percentage of any county here in Ada County with 23 dead and almost 800 confirmed cases.
Even as we move slowly away from self-isolation, clearly the COVID-19 crisis persists. Idaho’s curve may be flattening, but the virus is still very much with us. We have over 400 people being treated statewide and testing still lags behind where it needs to be by all accounts. For detailed Idaho data on cases, testing and deaths click here.
Photo is from the North End’s Janjou Pâtisserie of James Beard nominated pastry chef Moshit!
It’s clear to most of us we need to stick with the new rules of of the road — frequent hand washing, wearing face coverings and masks, 6 foot social distancing, staying home when sick — and we need to accept the deliberate and gradual pace that has been established for starting whatever the “new normal” is going to be.
At the same time, sadly, there are far too many who seem to think the measures to protect us all are some sort of government oppression, and protesting them is patriotism. At the rallies in front of our Capitol, American flags are a common sight. One Idaho physician has been compelled to lay out how he approaches the reaction he gets from some when wearing a face cover in public with no hint of politics or agenda, just his concern for the health of his community.
“I have begun to notice a strange and insidious dichotomy when I wear a mask in public. Others wearing masks seem to make eye contact with a sense of camaraderie and a sense of shared experience. Some not wearing masks have given me dismissive and frustrated looks, some have even gone out of their way to make snide or negative comments to me. Some of these people know that I’m a physician but some do not. Sometimes I have time and patience for an informed discussion on this topic and sometimes I do not.
These are strange days that we’re going through together for sure, but it shouldn’t be me who is made to feel the fool for trying to protect myself, my family, my vulnerable patients, and my community. Trust me when I say that in this act, in these uncertain times…..it’s not me that is playing the fool.”
~ Paddy Kinney, M.D. Idaho Rural Health Physician
It has been written “real patriotism isn’t protesting a pandemic, real patriotism is having the strength of character and will to put your own personal needs aside and look out for the health of your fellow citizens”. Medical professionals are doing that every day and they fully expect the grim battles that come with the pandemic. They also know all of us have to do our part to win the war on COVID-19. Unlike the short-lived unity of purpose after 9/11, politicizing the Novel Coronavirus has seemingly become another tribal right of passage for many right-wingers despite evidence that successfully suppressing the virus demands seeing past your own personal wants.
It should be obvious to everyone a disease doesn’t have a political identity. Acting as if does impedes the ability to enact a comprehensive and effective national response. When a pandemic is politicized, far too many may see following health protocols as giving in to someone else’s agenda. Clearly this is why COVID-19 feels more like the 2016 election every day. Not only do we have a president ignoring facts, he’s spreading misinformation and wrapping it in the illusion of patriotism as are many of his adherents.
Today in America those who confuse liberty with a willful ignorance of medical realities are using the reopening to flout well thought out precautions and rules. Denying the need for precautions will likely lead to a repeat of the restrictions that are only now easing if not worse. Misinformation or, as we used to call them, lies about COVID-19 are both more serious and more politically devastating. Anyone can demonize the W.H.O. like the president does without most people knowing that cutting off its funding also jeopardizes the continuing effort against Ebola in Africa, as an example. But when it comes to matters at home regarding the virus, Americans are paying keen attention. Those few here in Idaho who have joined people like radical three percenter Ammon Bundy and Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Wayne Hoffman,, who have threatened a police officer for a compliance arrest, to protest about “liberty” are seemingly unaware that 83 percent of all Americans are either very concerned or somewhat concerned “about a family member “becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus outbreak.”
How is it these so-called patriots feel it is okay to tell public safety dispatchers ”you people need to be strung up in trees and KILLED for treason”? This is real and was reported in the Idaho Statesman.
We must not allow these people to define patriotism. Don’t be fooled by the flags the protesters wave. True patriots care about their fellow citizens. True patriots wear masks. They wear them for their fellow Northenders, Boiseans, Idahoans and Americans. After all, we’re all still in this together.
For more on what you can do to help defeat COVID-19 click here.
For the current CDC guidelines when out in public click here.