We’ve reached a new peak in COVID-19 cases this week in the state. In fact, each day brings more surprises and when dig deeper into the data reports, the pandemic is getting incrementally worse as time goes by.
As I wrote about earlier in the week, those vigilant about public health, face incredible social stigma’s and discrimination yet our elected leaders want to avoid the problem, putting the economy and cashing in on the summer travel season over the welfare of our citizens.
Two weeks ago, I began noticing a very ominous uptick in all the important metrics related to COVID-19. Not just daily cases but that the flattening in positive test rate had stopped and hospitalizations that had bottomed out were beginning to rise again. I regularly shared my views on Twitter that Florida was heading into troubled territory. With these opinions came hard data, charts, numbers, etc.
Even from people I consider to be fairly liberal, the push-back was surprisingly aggressive and the excuses flowing. As the last two weeks have progressed and the situation the state finds itself in has become perfectly clear to any independent thinker, the push-back has softened from liberals but gotten even intense from others – and factual data has been openly questioned even if sourced right back to Governor DeSantis’ own team.
What was even more stunning was the vitriol I have faced. Sure, MAGA-types are hard-edged and can be nasty, particularly on social media, but this was next level stuff. I have never seen the level of anger and outright nastiness that I have from conservatives in Florida, pushing back on discussion of this virus, since the mid-May reopening of the state.
Three months ago, I had naively believed a pandemic of this nature would bring people together. Neighbor looking out for neighbor, friend for friend, stranger for stranger. But instead it’s done the opposite.
This pandemic has increased the divisions in our society and led to a new level of cognitive dissonance among those who simply don’t care about others. The levels of selfishness, self-absorption, victimization and irrational rationalization is beyond anything we’ve seen in this state during my lifetime. Politicians have used people dying domestically in numbers we’ve never seen in the mass media age to stoke fear of the “other,” and push buttons that create further division.
Every piece of data even those from official sources gets refuted or rationalized as not important. Every single point made about this virus gets politicized or pushed back upon with some qualification. Every effort made to ensure public safety gets debunked as a violation of individual liberty and freedom. Every effort to impose accountability receives push-back blaming China or Democrats for wanting to crash the economy.
I am going to be brutally honest. This is one the most frustrating and depressing times of my life because of the selfish cognitive dissonance on display. I try to rationalize and persuade people daily, and despite my progressive ideology want to meet people halfway if I can.
I try to listen as much as possible and understand perspectives that different than my own. But on this particular, I can no longer persuade or engage the other side – you either have to meet them 99% of the way or you are an alarmist, a person who wants to destroy American life.
So if you are concerned about COVID-19, public safety and public health, what do you do now, in a world of Trumpist’s who don’t want to curtail any of their “freedoms,” impose any accountability or even discuss the topic rationally? How can one of the most advanced societies in human history be so myopic about something so problematic?
Reader thoughts are welcome!