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Editorial: Coronavirus proves we detest change

If nothing else, the coronavirus has proven that we aren’t prepared.

And it has nothing to do with the number of respirators (remember when that was the big push?), or the numbers of personal protective equipment (that one wasn’t far behind the respirators), or the lack of accurate information (that one is on us; we believe what we want to believe).

It has to do with change.

We hate change. We fear change. We fight change. All true, especially if the change isn’t our idea.

Changes brought forth by the coronavirus aren’t any of our ideas. And while we’ve been creative and positive with dealing with those changes, we could do better.

Do you think that teachers and school systems are happy with remote learning, with partially remote learning? No way. They would rather have the little monsters that are absolutely driving you crazy at home in their classrooms. They teach for a test, remember? In a couple of years when students’ scores on those tests go down, there will be another cry for help. Could we do better? Maybe.

In Davie County, one thing we could do better is to allow teachers to do what they are trained to do. Teach. Lessen their hours on bus duty. For goodness sake, quit making them clean their own classrooms during the day. They have enough to think about with this dual remote/in person learning system as it is. Hire an extra custodian if necessary. Do you ask the custodian to fill in for a teacher if they’re absent? No, so quit asking teachers to be a substitute for a custodian.

We feel for those businesses that were or are forced to remain closed. Even opening at limited capacities isn’t enough to keep many financially afloat. In this case, the change is worthy of fear. Many of these businesses are people’s dreams; they’ve put their life savings into the business, hoping to retire with a nice little nest egg. So why aren’t they open? Because certain government officials say they’re not safe. That may or may not be true, but shouldn’t it be up to the business owner to decide? Tell them the facts, not a political distortion of the facts (both sides of the political aisle do this). Tell them what they should do to remain safe. But let them decide. I know of no business owner, especially bars and gyms, who doesn’t respect and often rely on repeat customers. They don’t want their customers to get sick, either.

Americans have been called the “great unwashed.” And that was well before the coronavirus came around. It means that the majority of our populace either can’t understand what’s going on, or doesn’t care. With the onslaught of information we’re dealing with these days, it’s easy to become confused. It’s also easy to give up.

I would like to think that overall, we’re not the great unwashed. We’re the great overwashed. Too much information. Too much conflicting information. We used to rely on the 6 o’clock news for accurate and timely information, but even those legitimate news stories that do just that are way too often followed by an anchor’s opinion.

Whether or not China purposefully released the coronavirus on the free world has little to do with our response. It’s still a virus. We still don’t fully understand how this virus works. We do, however, know how to curb the spread of a virus. Mask wearing and social distancing should help. Hand washing and staying at home should help. Don’t make those things political. There’s enough politics involved. Those aren’t Democrat vs. Republican ideas. They’re ideas meant to help curb the spread of a virus.

But they require change. And if the change is requested or mandated by someone of a different political persuasion, we fight it, regardless of whether or not it might work.

We can do better. We should do better. Don’t be brainwashed by political ideologies. Don’t be brainwashed by the media. Don’t be brainwashed by your political heroes.

Change for the better.

Mike Barnhardt is editor of the Davie County Enterprise-Record.