What if COVID-19 threatened the lives of the young rather than the elderly? What if it were children who bore the mortal brunt of this pandemic? What then would be our feelings toward wearing a simple cotton mask? Or social distancing? Or chucking our children back into closed-space classrooms?
I have recently viewed pictures of university students massed together, drinking, laughing, dancing, having the time of their life in the midst of a pandemic. They know their chances of dying from Corona Virus are slim. While at the same time, adults in the 40, and 50 age range gather at a church to set up outdoor platforms for a Sunday service, and not of them is wearing a mask. Not one. I have seen this. Only a few days ago, I found myself waiting for a traffic light to turn green. While waiting, I turned to see a family of five, two adults herding three children into a restaurant–none of them wearing a mask.
Who are those 200,000 American dead? They are, mostly, the elderly who had underlying conditions, or not. How did they contract COVID 19? Many contracted the disease when they refused, for whatever reason, to wear a mask in public. But then how many simply got the virus from another person, a close friend visiting, a family member coming home from work, a son or daughter home from school, public and/or university?
I haven’t seen much on this idea of agism in America. We all know it exists, and we all know that, generally speaking, Americans don’t revere the elderly. We worship youth. Well, that’s my thought experiment. What if it were youth who became mortally ill as a result of COVID-19? I think it would be a vastly different picture than the one we see now. And NOT “rightly so.”
I think we need to move away from MAGA and simply examine how the young and middle aged Americans really feel about the elderly. I doubt if that many people agree with Bill O’Reilly who in a radio interview with Sean Hannity in April 2020, rationalized that the death rates were low and many of the victims were “on their last legs anyway.” No, I don’t think so, but I wonder what is the prevailing attitude toward the 65+ group?
We know, without question, that if it were children dying, we would all wear masks. We would all social distance, and to the best of our ability keep our children out of harm’s way. But too many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, do not show the same reverence of life toward the elderly. I think this is an issue that will emerge out of this disaster.
What are your thoughts?
p.s. the pictures above are: 1. Children I met in Japan, two years ago. And 2. Children I bussed from school to an after-school program here in Decatur, one year ago.