COVID is our main story this week. Cases across the nation and on CRST are rising precipitously. Tragically, the phenomenon of political polarization we’ve experienced in the last five years is at the root of our national inability to deal with the pandemic.
There are loud voices on both ends of the political spectrum when it comes to the pandemic. Savvy politicians hide their intractability and unwillingness to budge from their positions under language about the common good. Less discreet public figures attack colleagues who hold different opinions. Eventually, we all tune out.
But tuning out is exactly what we cannot do as the pandemic moves into its second year.
There are two reasons. First, we have an obligation to the common good. In a pandemic, that means we have to place the common good above that of the individual.
Each person has a different balance point – that spot on their moral compass where they feel they have fulfilled their obligation to care for their neighbor while living their own life. In a pandemic, many people rise to the once in a lifetime call to go further and do more for others.
Whatever your personal balance point, this is a time to do more. Don’t tune out. Pay attention and do whatever it takes to keep up your vigilance in masking, social distancing and disinfecting, no matter the cost to personal convenience. Someone’s life depends on you.
The second reason we cannot tune out is that democracy rests on individual engagement. An educated and engaged citizenry is imperative for the healthy functioning of our governments, whether those governments be national or sovereign tribal nations.
Right now we are in a media landscape that values emotional outbursts over the slow process of listening; and it’s causing a deadly delay in response to the pandemic.
As your local newspaper, the West River Eagle is committed to listening to the community. We’re here witness the deaths and obituaries, and to support all the ways our community celebrates.
Be kind. Be grateful. Be safe.