Liz Harrison

Why we need to remember to ask ‘why’

As children, we all tended to question the world around us. If we were lucky, we were surrounded by adults who were willing to answer our queries.

Being curious takes time.

While this pandemic has slowed many of us down at least a little, we don’t seem to be taking the time to question what is happening around us. We’re still running around, taking information in soundbites, and defending whatever we adopt as “true” based on anything but research.

Simply put, we aren’t taking the time to critically think and ask ourselves – or anyone else – about anything.

People who normally would scour the web for every tidbit of information they could find on whatever ailment a doctor told them they or a family member had are taking whatever they are being spoon-fed by the media, politicians, bloggers, or whomever else they depend on for information. No one is asking themselves “why” – why are these people telling everyone what they are about this pandemic?

Motives matter.

Generally speaking, just about every bit of information we have seen in the media about this pandemic is politically motivated. Even the manner in which we are being told how many cases and deaths are involved is tinged with it. There are political points to be made by not splitting up the positive case counts into meaningful categories. How many people test positive but never have symptoms? How many people have recovered? How many people were just slightly ill?

If the people started asking why we aren’t being told numbers based on the reality out there, how could politicians continue to justify every restriction they are enforcing? I am not saying that we should go back to normal, but I am saying that as a society, we are being managed as opposed to anything else.

The biggest reason for this is simple enough. We aren’t asking ourselves why we absolutely must define ourselves by our political party affiliation. More accurately – and disturbing – we aren’t thinking for ourselves. The fact that a pandemic has us split down the middle just like everything else in life should be a wake-up call. Why can’t we set aside political differences – politics altogether – to deal with something as important as our own health?

Time to take politics out of the pandemic.

Perhaps it’s too little, too late. But, maybe if enough people took a little time, and started reading sources – the links we normally ignore in news stories – it would help. Ask ourselves about those sources. Would we trust them to make important medical decisions for us? What is reliable? Do we need to learn (or re-learn) about scientific studies? Can we recognize the motives of the people who are reporting these stories?

Even though I’ve said to take the politics out of the pandemic, that’s not going to happen at the highest levels. Our leaders are still going to engage in political gamesmanship. However, some people can decide to stop just taking information from their chosen side of the political aisle, and attempt to learn about what is happening without the political slants. If enough people start doing this, we might be able to force this out of the political arena, and into a realistic scientific one.

The reality is that we have watched the entire world push itself to the brink over a virus that turned out to be far less scary than we were told from the start. No one in power wants to admit that they were wrong, and while a realistic solution lies somewhere in the middle, our leaders are failing to even consider compromise. And we’re encouraging them to do this by politicizing this, just like everything else in life. Why?

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