Police state vs health S.O.S.

By Kathy Zinn

Pittsboro, NC – I am almost 75, and believe it or not, I was not alive during World War II. However, my parents were, and I was born right after the war ended.

silhouette of a man in window
Photo by Donald Tong

I know from them, especially my mother (dad was off flying B-17s in Europe), of the restrictions in this country during that time – a time of “The War Effort”. I know this also from my husband, a few years older, and his siblings, who contributed in gathering scrap materials and contributing their few pennies to the War Effort, with lots of “encouragement,” perhaps even more, from teachers and parents. I have read many stories of the extreme measures necessary in England and many other European countries during, and after WW II, and for years after. People saw themselves as involved and affected by a “World at War”, and although there were cheaters and people who were self-serving, and people who complained, for the most part, people pitched in and “did their part”.

So often lately I am hearing of people who believe the urgings and even, in some places, laws, to “social distance ” and “wear masks” and avoid large gatherings, and stay out of bars and other gathering places, are signs of a police state. I am elderly. I stay home a lot anyway, and my income is blessedly not dependent on a job. It is easy for me to say this.

But my children’s lives and incomes are dependent on jobs, and many other people I know, who accept that we are, indeed in a “War” – a different war, against the invisible (until someone is infected) pandemic of Covid-19. Urging us to take these precautions as a way to protect each other as well as ourselves, to reduce and eventually eliminate the dominance of this virus in our country – to be asked or ordered to do these things, to participate in them, is not the same as a “police state”.

I feel endangered by those who refuse to see themselves, as related to me, and others. We are all affected by these refusal behaviors. We are all also free to walk outside our homes, to drive where we wish, to buy groceries (with masks on) to communicate in many different forums, to speak our truth whether our government likes it or not, whether our neighbors like it or not (except yelling falsely “fire” in the proverbial crowded theater).

I have a feeling that if we were in the midst of the fires in the west, we would not hesitate for a second to don a mask – so that we could breathe. Covid-19 is a respiratory disease. Must we wait until we are in an ICU on a ventilator, or our loved one is, before we heed these simple requirements, these common sense “Asks” of us? I sincerely hope not.

Meanwhile, I wear a mask when I go out, and keep my distance. If you don’t, I will be keeping my distance even more from you. We need to see ourselves in each other, and care about all of us. Please, people – we are all in this together! As our parents and grandparents knew so well.