At Least Blame the Right People

Photo by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash

As the Coronavirus Pandemic drags on and on, people, on all sides, are getting more and more frustrated. I know I am. When we get frustrated, it is only natural to look for people to blame. If we can just take care of the cause of the problem, things will finally start to get better, or so we think. That’s unrealistic, though. There are myriad causes for most problems, including the pandemic. There’s the virus itself, political failures, human nature, poor communication, misinformation, and many more. There’s no realistic way to “take care” of all of those things.

Blame is a funny thing. Assigning blame is one of the most common and natural things that we do, but blame won’t change anything. For change, we need pressure, censure, accountability, and things like that. Blame stirs up emotions in the one blaming without doing anything at all to the blamed. At best, it’s a starting point. It’s often a distraction. At worst, it creates hate and division.

In order to ensure the best case scenario, care and consideration must be taken before assigning blame. It’s a waste of energy to blame anything and everything that contributes to a problem. I can blame evolution for the virus mutations with some justification, but evolution has no power to do anything differently. We might as well blame clouds for rain. We can blame all of those who fail to do the things we think are important for stopping the pandemic, people who don’t wear masks and refuse vaccinations and spread misinformation. That’s not going to do anything but create division, though. There’s justification for the blame, of course. If everyone simply did what was best, many problems would go away. Blaming the anti-vaxxers for the pandemic is like blaming your neighbor’s SUV for global warming. Yes, it does contribute to the problem, but the difference your neighbor’s SUV makes is negligible, even if you got him to switch to an EV. Fellow citizens can act differently, but cannot enact widespread change. Blaming and starting fights with our neighbors is barking up the wrong tree.

I know this needs some unpacking. It makes some sense that if people can change, then convincing people to change will solve the issue. The problem is that we aren’t built that way, psychologically. It’s a widely known phenomenon that pointing out an error in someone’s reasoning is likely to get that person to double down on their incorrect assumption. People smoke, drink alcohol, consume all kinds of other drugs, ride motorcycles without helmets, have unprotected sex, skip dental appointments, eat fast food, etc. It’s almost never the case that they do these things because they don’t know the dangers or use faulty reasoning, though. It’s that other factors outweigh the dangers for them.

This might be a roundabout way of getting there, but the point is, only governments have the ability to make changes at the scale we need to end the pandemic. If you’re going to blame someone, blame the government. And I don’t want to hear anything about the last guy or the opposition party. The Democrats: Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer are in charge now. The current spike is their responsibility. They’re the ones who aren’t willing or able to do what it takes. If they would just mandate masks and vaccines, we’d be past this by now. You don’t need to be a genius to know that this cycle of relaxing and tightening the recommendations makes things worse or that asking nicely wouldn’t work. Even with seatbelt mandates, people drive without them. We are right to be angry. Let the right people hear about it.

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