The Definition of Insanity

On September 28th, another of my op-eds was published in the Florida Times Union at which I am a guest columnist. I am spending far too much of my time on these op-eds and hope they make some little difference somewhere. Writing them has become a not-so-secret obsession. 

The op-eds often get edited down for brevity as this one did. I know I write far too lengthy, but it’s in my DNA. This op-ed, which is titled “The Definition of Insanity” was written on September 9th and published on September 28th. I have a newer op-ed that carries the same message of shared responsibility and coming together to stop this pandemic. I like this newer op-ed better, but that’s not the one that got published. So without further delay, here is the op-ed from the Florida Times Union (part of the USA Today / Gannett news organization).

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/opinion/columns/2020/09/28/opinion/3477675001

Here is the op-ed as published:

Do you remember the movie “Groundhog Day?” Well, we’re all about to wake up, hit the alarm clock button, and there’s going to be a COVID blizzard outside. 

Why? Because here in the Sunshine State, we still have high community spread, an “open it up now” crazed government single-mindedly concerned with tourism and mobs of eager citizens with poor impulse control.

According to the experts at Harvard, Brown, and other places filled with brainy people, community spread is best measured by a seven-day average of new cases per day per 100,000 people. Florida’s numbers are still over a dozen times higher than what would indicate zero community spread. 

At the time I am writing this, only one state has zero community spread. Almost every spot on the globe is doing better than us because they approached things scientifically and did the hard work first. They built a solid foundation, while here in Florida, we’re trying to open up on quicksand, which does not end well.

I suspect all of us who have sacrificed to slow the spread of covid feel the same way when I say to those of you out there who are misbehaving like spoiled children trying to get away with something. “Please, just stop it!” What you are doing is killing people, making people sick, forcing schools to reclose, hurting the economy and forcing 25% of this country to stay at home.

In Florida, if past is any predictor of the future, we will soon have too many people again prematurely acting like the danger has passed. A month or two from now, we will be back in the same sorry place we were in with soaring infection rates and soaring frustration. 

A lot of people blame our stupid behavior on President Donald Trump. I am no Trump supporter. He deserves a heaping steaming helping of the blame, but you can’t really blame him or his GOP cronies. The root problem is us.

Why are we and our kids not always wearing masks when we should, and not always social distancing when we should? 

About 30 years ago, we had a label for this kind of me-first-obnoxious thinking. It was the Ugly American. Tag you’re it. Thankfully, you ugly jokers are a minority.

Now, the majority of us, who are not Ugly Americans, need to get over our political differences, ignore and then vote out any dangerous morons we foolishly elected, and get real about beating down the coronavirus and its enabling ugly jokers until this pandemic is nothing but a sorry sad memory.

We are all Americans. We are all in the same boat.