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Chatterbox: Something for the new year

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New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday.
It asks little or nothing of us. It can be ignored or it can be celebrated with 10 seconds of a countdown or partying until dawn. It represents the freshest of beginnings when all things are possible. It’s our best “clean slate” opportunity. It’s awesome.
So here we are, on the cusp of another new whirl around the sun, but we’re still wearing masks, battling an invisible disease that has killed nearly a million Americans and over 5 million people around the world. Why?
Of all the things that can surprise and repulse us in life, nothing does so more than the ignorance of the human race of which we have assumed better.
This disease is fighting for its life. We are its targets, so we must fight for ours. This disease is modifying itself to survive. We must modify ourselves to survive. The easy precautions are not rocket science. They’re simple common sense.
If we were alerted that there were burglars in our neighborhood, we would take precautions. No one would argue. We would, at the very least, be certain to lock our doors at all times. Perhaps, we’d go further. We might make sure someone was at home at all times; we’d leave lights on; get a house sitter on occasion, or buy a dog. We would do all we could to not fall prey to invasion. Yet, we are being invaded by a disease that is potentially deadly and some people are laughing in the face of the only defenses we have.
Worse than home invasion, this disease is invisible and can spread without notice. Right now, we all are fortunate enough to know our defenses. All we have to avoid the physical spread are inoculation, cleanliness, distancing and wearing our masks. Sure, it’s primitive; so are viruses. This plague is reminiscent of historical plagues of the dark ages, and our defenses are as rudimentary as dodging for bomb shelters, rationing coffee and drawing fake seams on the backs of our legs to feign nylon hosiery. It’s dumb and we look ridiculous. We elbow instead of hugging and have masked gathering likes some kind of Lone Ranger Fan Club, but we’re staying alive.

Teddy Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” These ridiculous practices are all we have in addition to our one and greatest available protection – the miracle of the vaccine. Some people don’t have access to the vaccine; that’s tragic. Luckily, many do. Luckily it was: already in the works for another disease; able to be built upon by the scientific, brilliant minds and diligent medical warriors of the world; and brought to us, at no cost, by government leadership around the world ... another miracle. Usually understanding little and willing to cooperate on even less, these leaders agreed on the deadly potential of this disease as well as the efficacy of the vaccine.
Proven by New Zealand’s early success, this disease could have been mostly contained by discipline, common sense and immediate social sacrifice. Now, it rises again there too. It’s a sad commentary. This disease is flourishing, flaunting its opportunity to morph itself into more suffering or death. Those aiding this world enemy, refusing to help stop the reign of this killer, are its faithful soldiers. Sorry, but that’s true. They have been duped.
Many leaders and news delivery mouthpieces who rail against the vaccine, hypocritically, are vaccinated. Why they rail is unknown. Why their minions join ranks, willing to risk death unnecessarily, is unknown. Why no legal action has been taken against them for public endangerment is unknown; peaceful protestors have been treated more harshly. And, as the death toll rises, each of us is either part of the solution or we are part of the problem.
This disease is modifying itself to survive. We must too. It flourishes in its modification. We can too. It’s contagious and potentially deadly. That is cause enough for the cure to be mandatory.
If we throw a single rock into a pond, it radiates into circles but dies. If we throw sand grains, they all radiate into countless circles that all interconnect, nearly endlessly, before they die. So go the carriers of this plague, each one affecting – and potentially infecting – in countless circles.
Of all the things that can surprise and repulse us in life, nothing does so more than the ignorance of the human race of which we have assumed better. Yes, it bears repeating.


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