Coming Together on a COVID-19 Solution
We can do it, we can do it right, and we can do it together.
Should we immediately implement a state-wide mandate that everyone stay home? Should we immediately lift all COVID-19 restrictions and go back to regular life tomorrow morning? There seems to be a tendency right now for us to double down on one or the other. We seem to have difficulty seeing beyond feeling that either everyone will die without a mandatory lock-down (right now!) or everyone will die financially without opening the world up (right now!). We're also having some problems with identifying those whose opinions differ from ours as the "enemy."
This doesn't have to be the case.
This is a tough issue all around, with both lives and livelihoods at stake, but it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing situation on either side. We need to uphold the sanctity of life on one hand, and we need to protect our economy from irreparable harm on the other. These aren't mutually exclusive goals. We can do both, and we don't have to go to extremes or turn against each other to do it.
Obviously there is a difference between what a densely populated area like downtown Salt Lake City needs and what a rural area like Iron County needs. COVID-19 will spread through Salt Lake City much faster than it will spread through Iron County. The problem with pandemic situations is that we are a mobile people, and it's impossible to put a fence around Salt Lake City to keep this from infecting Iron County. We can quickly find a very local solution to these problems, but it can't be exclusively local because in a pandemic, what we do as a rural area really can affect Salt Lake City, and vice versa. We have to find some balance between our needs in Iron County and the needs of the rest of the state (and by extention, the country and the world).
Let's work together by preserving the balance of power in Utah between the legislative and the executive branches and allowing Governor Herbert to work with health agencies to decide on the best course of action according to the facts available to us. Let's not let extreme politics in an election year lead us to casting aside the state constitutional balance of power. Let's understand that we will need to make some sacrifices to help slow the spread of this disease, while trusting that some communities will need stronger measures, and allow them to do so without interference and overreach from the state. Let's have a solid economic step-by-step plan and quarantine exit strategy in place for when the curve does flatten, and let's base the timing of that plan and exit strategy on facts and science and evidence. There is a balance in containing COVID-19 and resuscitating the economy, and we can find it together.
This is going to take some time and some patience from all of us. Getting back to normal will be much faster as we come together and strive to understand each other. We can be good patriots and good neighbors at the same time. We can understand that just because someone has a differing opinion doesn't make them bad people or deserving of public derision and scorn. We can listen to each other, and we can speak to each other with respect. We can absolutely disagree, but we can also absolutely be respectful as we disagree. Nastiness and name-calling from anybody do nothing to help us get back on our feet, and only serve to divide us and delay any relief. We can find a better way.
So let's come together, understand that it's not a mutually exclusive thing to want to save lives and to want to save the economy, and be a little kinder to each other as we fight against COVID-19.