I believe we all need to put a little more emphasis on our neighbor and a little less emphasis on “me”.
The 2020 election continues to reaffirm the United States is a divided country. Three percent separates the Republicans from the Democrats in the presidential election. Nearly a 50/50 divide of the American people. What I see coming out of these election cycles, and with politics in general, is the country’s inability to discuss the most important issues in a reasonable forum. You are either on team A or team B, there is no in-between. Someone willing to listen or work with the other side is portrayed as weak or a traitor. This is where I believe we need to put a little more emphasis on our neighbor and a little less emphasis on “me”.
Which brings us to the main point, I am concerned how political parties are influencing decisions that have no place in politics. Let’s focus on wearing a mask. There are many examples to choose from; I selected mask wearing because it is a hot-button topic and hits close to my family. This year my wife’s breast cancer returned. It mutated to stage 4 triple-negative, which means it migrated from the original source and chemotherapy is the only form of treatment. As long as she is fighting this battle, her immune system will be compromised.
The government, scientists, and the world all recommend wearing masks. These decision makers are experts in their fields. Many dedicating their careers to understanding and advancing science for the greater good of the people. They use the latest scientific evidence to make informed decisions. When a majority of experts agree, this should be held up and trusted as fact. To be respected by those of us who do not hold similar qualifications.
It is widely reported conservative supporters feel mask wearing is an infringement of their rights or unnecessary. We have seen this in several high-profile gatherings, where many participants are not wearing masks while in close proximity to each other. There is little sense in turning a scientifically proven fact into a politically charged issue. It is acts like this which have the potential to harm others. This is not a conservative or liberal issue. This is an issue of facts, safety, science, and basic human compassion. It is compassion for my wife, for my family, and for all the other people who are in the high-risk group for complicated side effects if they contract COVID. There are many other factors in play. Many of us empathize with the job losses, school closings, and other sacrifices made over this past year. However, the mask is not the root cause. It should not be used as a political pawn.
In the United States, personal freedoms, independence, and the pursuit of happiness is core to our culture. Remember, these same rules apply to me and my family. Not wearing a mask affects more than yourself, it affects me. Which inhibits my pursuit of happiness. “Personal freedoms” need to be reevaluated at the point where their actions negatively affect those around them.
We live together in this world. Not as individuals, but as a community. We can’t do this alone. We need everyone, no matter their political beliefs, to work together. The next time you hear a “deplorable conservative” or “extremist liberal” express their opinion. Ask them why they feel this way. What is the root cause of their belief? Don’t immediately jump in to defend your position, listen to the person sitting across from you. Their feelings matter, and we should empathize with them.
It’s not all about you, it is about us living together! Believe science. Believe experts. Help your neighbors. Listen more than you speak. When we work as one, we all become great together!