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be wise, be gentle

Gov Polis told Coloradoans to self-quarantine for Thanksgiving: “The more family members that make that decision to self quarantine, the more likely it is that you’re not bringing a loaded pistol for grandma’s head.”

SARS-CoV-2 (i.e., Covid-19) is a killer. But our governor spoke like a fear-monger. FDR famously claimed, “
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Throughout this pandemic many politicians have offered little more than fear.

Since March, I’ve tried to understand why politicians want citizens to be afraid.
Early in November Dr. Walke, the CDC’s Covid-19 incident manager, announced, “The CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving Day period.” This warning was echoed by many authorities, including the Mayor of Denver. Then that mayor traveled to Mississippi to be with his daughter.

Earlier this year after closing city restaurants the mayor of Philadelphia went to Maryland to dine indoors with friends at a restaurant. Accused of hypocrisy the mayor’s office responded, “The Mayor felt indoor dining was low risk because there are 782 total COVID cases in the county he briefly visited.”

A lot of people see political hypocrisy. Commentator
Jason Riley disagrees, explaining that “Coronavirus health edicts display a wide­spread as­sump­tion among the ruling class that the rest of us are incapable of cal­cu­lat­ing risks and tak­ing nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions to ride out the pandemic. And that’s in­sult­ing!”

The best protection against panic is ac­tion­able in­for­ma­tion. Most of us make rational decisions when given good data. But in their own panic, government of­fi­cials communicated COVID-19 could be controlled or crushed. Time proved neither was possible—virus is gonna virus.

People, like the mayors of Denver and Philadelphia, calculate risks and make rational decisions. Some of the people of Hope have judged they are safer at home, either for personal health concerns or work / family responsibilities. Others calculate by applying appropriate precautions they can live life rather normally.

It brings to mind Jesus’ heads-up to His disciples, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as
shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Jesus commanded His followers be shrewd and innocent—wise and gentle. During this pandemic we cannot know the many variables others consider when deciding how to do life. Wisdom seeks good counsel and humbly analyzes real data. Shrewd people do not allow others to do their thinking for them. And gentle people appreciate even those with whom they disagree. ~

Dan Nygaard