The Dumbest Possible Excuse for Choosing to Ignore Covid-19
The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes the heightened risk of contracting covid-19. In America, most states right now are experiencing record numbers of coronavirus cases, as the virus runs rampantly uncontained through our communities, with many states’ numbers already eclipsing those from the first wave. This thing is rapidly getting completely out of control. Reports from healthcare workers and hospitals are horrifying.
That this is happening right now just before Thanksgiving is only making matters worse, as this is the time of year people are routinely out shopping in droves, and having multiple family gatherings and parties. Given all that, it should be even more appalling that American leadership from the top on down are STILL acting like the media are only warning the public as some type of fear mongering campaign, blowing the situation out of proportion and trying to limit American freedom.
Trump has barely mentioned covid-19 at all since losing the election, except to tout what is happening in regard to vaccine research, as if he deserves the credit for any advancements there instead of the actual scientists making it happen. It is nothing if not a shamelessly oblivious act of irony for Trump to try and take credit for a vaccine development, as he shrugs off any and all responsibility for the surging case and death count caused by the virus that he repeatedly told the public was no more deadly than the flu. If asked about that he will again repeat the misnomer that America only has more cases because we have more testing, which is, much like Trump himself, just a confusingly irrational paradox of incoherent nonsense.
With all of this happening in the world, I was somewhat pleased to get texts from my mother this week telling me that she convinced her sister, my aunt, to cancel the traditional Thanksgiving dinner she normally has every year at her house. Over time, this family gathering has ballooned as the various nieces and nephews have all had multiple children of their own, and it’s now expected that somewhere in the neighborhood of sixty-plus people show up for this meal.
They all live in a small town in rural Kentucky, where the coronavirus cases are currently skyrocketing, and several members of the family have already tested positive in recent weeks. Because of this, my mother was extremely worried about her sister, who has a rare blood disorder that causes her blood to clot at abnormally high rates and has already almost killed her multiple times in the past. One of the primary ways that covid-19 is prone to cause death in people it infects is by causing blood clots to form in the lungs. As such, my aunt was warned by her doctor that if she contracts covid-19, it would most likely be lethal, and she should consider herself at the most extreme of high risk.
I was happy, and honestly, kind of proud of my mother for doing the right thing in talking my aunt out of hosting this gathering, because for weeks now I have listened to her complain off and on in our phone conversations about how ready she was for her life to get back to normal.
I was then quickly just as equally devastated, if not more so, to learn the next day that some of my cousins had called my aunt and guilted her into changing her mind, and that they were still going ahead with the Thanksgiving meal after all. My mom told me this, in a frantic frenzy of messages, and said that when she asked my aunt how she could do this knowing the risk, her response was, “If it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go. God has a plan for me.”
When I heard that, I about fell out of my chair.
Of all the ridiculous reasons that get thrown around about justifying the carelessness people have shown toward the covid-19 pandemic, to me, this one is the worst. All my life, I have heard this maxim get paraded about as an excuse for literally everything under the sun. My entire family has always been excessively religious, and most of them were disappointed to learn that I had cultivated a different opinion of religion once I reached adulthood. Well, right here is a beautifully glaring example of why I choose to live my life by my own rules.
When you say things like, “it’s all part of God’s plan,” and “When it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go,” what you are doing is basically abdicating any and all responsibility for your own actions. You are also choosing to willfully contradict the notion by which you excuse most human behavior and the existence of evil, which is the fact that you believe God gave you free will! It’s crap like this that drives me insane and pushes me daily more and more toward alcoholism.
If you believe in God, then you believe he gifted you with a brain and the faculties of reason in order to be able to make good decisions. He gave you the ability to choose freely the best course for your own life. He gave you the opportunity to do with your life whatever makes you happiest, and to have intelligence enough to be able to actively avoid danger or any situation that could put you in harm’s way. He also just so happens to have given other people even better gifts of reason so they could invent things like science and medicine, which are tools that you can use to also help you make informed judgments about your life, and help you live a longer and more fulfilling existence! Amazing!
People who often utilize the phrase “God has a plan for me” are also seeming to forget that they are not the only person their actions, or lack thereof, are going to impact. It’s great that you feel your life has a purpose being guided by God’s plan, but what about everyone else? Not everyone subscribes to your beliefs, and they all shouldn’t be subject to the consequences of something you chose to do against all rational advice. This mindset is quite revealing of the narcissistic baseline of Christian religious belief, which is trading personal responsibility for the reward of eternal life. Who cares what happens to anyone else as long as YOU get to go to heaven, right? And this, from a group of people who routinely are seen screaming on sidewalks that ALL LIFE IS PRECIOUS. It’s just indicative of the current divisive attitude omnipresent in American values, which is, “who cares as long as it isn’t impacting me.”
You know what the phrase “God has a plan for me and if it’s my time, it’s my time,” really is? It’s just an excuse. It’s an excuse to be lazy. It’s an excuse to be careless. And most importantly, it’s an excuse to be selfish. This is also an outdated philosophy. It’s called Predestination, and it hasn’t been an active part of the Christian faith since the Calvinists were laughed out of town for believing it. You know who else believes this nonsense? The Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yeah, the people you mock and shew away from your front door like pesky gnats who want nothing more than to talk to you about their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Why in the living hell would you use this excuse to ignore personal safety precautions in regard to an active global pandemic? Especially when the virus being spread in this pandemic is one that you absolutely KNOW will kill you? And especially during a crucial time period within which the virus is exploding in community spread and further increasing your odds of coming into contact with it? Is anyone really this careless with their own life? Is anyone really this careless with the lives of their loved ones? If this is how willing you are to throw caution to the wind, what else are you doing this with?
When you get in your car to drive, do you laugh at the notion of wearing a seatbelt, because what use are they in the face of God’s plan for you? Do you smugly ignore all traffic signs and drive willy-nilly through red lights cackling like a mad hyena, just daring the universe to do something about it? Do you routinely go dancing on freshly frozen ponds, knowing that your faith in God will keep the ice from cracking beneath your feet, and sending you to a hypothermically watery grave? Do you think it a fun pastime to sprint through abandoned minefields, expecting a miracle each time, shrouded in the protection of your Lord? Would you jump out of an airplane without your parachute and expect to land unharmed in a giant bed of goose feathers?
Better yet, for shits and giggles, at the next family get together, would you happily play a game of Russian roulette with all of your extended family, passing around the gun with a goofy grin on your face, expecting nothing but the dry fire click at every trigger pull, and saying “thank God” each time?
The answer to each of these questions had better be a resounding no, because of course you don’t do these things, because of course you have more common sense than that. So, why then, is this situation any different? Let me stop you, before you embarrass yourself: IT IS NO DIFFERENT. So, just stop it. I implore you. Stop using this tired excuse, because not only does it make zero sense, but it has zero applicability to reality.
Luckily for me, in the state I live in, and many states surrounding me, this decision is being made for us. The governors are rightfully reacting to the surge in cases and issuing a new series of Stay-At-Home orders, trying to force the issue of families cancelling their holiday plans, since these orders are initially meant to last the next four weeks. If people have any common sense at all, or any respect for scientific expertise and authority, they will abide by these orders and help prevent some of the senseless loss of life that is bound to come.
My only hope is that the governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, does what is right for his state as well, and issues new orders before it’s too late for my family, and prevents them from making such a grievously preventable mistake. I’d really rather not spend my Christmas this year mourning the loss of a loved one.