This panic and shutdown based on flawed and faulty information reminds me of a funny story when I was in the first grade.
We were having school held in a nearby church with a big steeple, while our new school was being built nearby in Midland Park, NJ.
It was recess, and I was six years old, running around, playing silly games with my friends on the playground, which was really just a church parking lot. I was having so much fun I decided I really didn’t want spoil it all to go back into that musty, dark old church.
Suddenly, I looked up in the sky and there were some big, fluffy clouds floating past that high steeple. The movement of the cloud formations behind the steeple, if you looked at it from a certain angle, really made it look like the steeple was falling down. I’m sure you’re familiar with this optical illusion. I knew what it was, but I seriously had to look twice.
Then I got a very bad idea to play a prank on a teacher.
I ran over and grabbed the old spinster, Miss Farrell by the hand. She was a cranky, little old lady, a little hard of hearing, with thick glasses, orthopedic shoes, and squinty bad eyesight. She sort of looked like Edith Bunker. She was always handing out demerits and punishments for stupid stuff. We didn’t like her.
I shouted at her with big scared eyes that the steeple was falling down. I was waving and gesticulating frantically.
I must’ve been pretty convincing, even at six, because she looked and looked, and then suddenly her face looked quite upset, and she ran and rang the alarm bell.
She evacuated and shut down the entire school.
We got an extra half hour of recess, until the principal came running outside and finally figured out what was going on.
We, being stupid, innocent kids, didn’t consider the consequences and thought it was hilariously funny.
The principal, thinking I was just a stupid, innocent kid who really believed the steeple was falling, didn’t punish me. So I didn’t get in trouble and nobody got hurt.
I thank God to this day that poor old Miss Farrell didn’t have a heart attack, although the whole thing must have been terribly embarrassing and humiliating for her. I felt so guilty for her humiliation, and I quickly learned my lesson on the dire consequences of crying wolf.
This farce we are going through now reminds me very much of that event. Except of course the stakes are far larger. The governors who shut down their states and curtailed our rights were like that teacher. The fear and of what ‘could’ happen exceeded all reality.
The story was so convincing they were convinced they saw something that simply didn’t exist
It was a clever illusion, a hoax, shadows on a wall, playing on their fears and inflated sense of responsibility.
And of course, they and the media turned it into a dog and pony show, whipping up fear to a level of frenzy not seen since “The Exorcist” debuted in theaters.
The cock and bull story our National and Global Health Dumbos told the nation, based on their Micky Mouse models was so convincing that our feckless state and local politicians were convinced they saw something fearful on the horizon that didn’t exist.
And let’s be clear: they saw something else. They saw the salvation and confusion of a crisis covering their lack of preparedness and a massive flood of federal disaster relief money to refloat their disastrous pension and budget deficits.
And one more added bonus: they saw this crisis as a huge opportunity to try and smear and possibly unseat the President who threatened their own corrupt status quo.
And the truth is, nobody knew the truth, but yet they based decisions on the uncertainties. Which in itself is pathetic.
Because our state and local leaders didn’t have enough sense of their own to make an independent decision; because they knew they were woefully unprepared for a medical crisis; because they knew from Hurricane Sandy and Katrina and from 9/11 that a big flush of federal taxpayer money always follows a big crisis and makes things like budget shortfalls so much better, they made knee-jerk decisions and rang all the alarms, shut down the greatest economy in our history for a disease that is revealed now to be less contagious than SARS or Bird Flu. All this for a disease less lethal than a bad seasonal flu which had already killed nearly 60,000 Americans this season, yet hasn’t prompted a single shutdown. Until now.
And so here we are, $6 trillion in the hole, our mortgages due, sitting on our sofas like idiots with garages full of toilet paper.
How embarrassing this must be for those members of the Greatest Generation who are still alive.
They stormed Normandy.
We stormed the Charmin aisle and hid in our houses eating Häagen-Dazs.
Can’t wait to tell the great grandkids.