A PSA by A Lady of Reason: Fear is a More Dangerous Thing to Spread…

By now much of the world had heard of the recent coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe. What started off in Wuhan, China has now spread across many countries, including Italy, Iran, and South Korea as some of the hardest hit. Now with Italy on lock down, many events cancelled, people quarantined, it seems like the whole world is coming to a standstill! Of course, it is better to take proactive steps to control the rapid spread and contain it before it escalates further. It is also important to know just how virulent this particular virus is and who is most at risk. We can’t down play the severity of the situation at hand here or abroad. In this globalized world we have shown it’s only one flight away from an international issue.

However, what may be even more dangerous is the high risk of fear mongering and misinformation that comes with this situation. Just because something is a problem, we can’t feasibly just put the world on hold. Yes, we should make reasonable adjustments that the evidence shows has a significant decrease in risk and strong justification. People who have symptoms should get tested and the sick self-quarantined. Some moderate social distancing for those who have been exposed to somewhere or someone with the virus is reasonable.

The trouble begins when we go overboard. “An abundance of caution” can go too far as well… Shutting down places where there are populations with low risk to contract the virus, younger and healthy individuals is not as needed as of now. The news cycle constantly playing up hysteria and panic to get their ratings does nothing except exploit Image result for coronavirus mortalitya novel situation. The CDC says right now the virus affects the elderly and those with preexisting health problems and respiratory issues the most, and others are most likely to get more mainstream cold or flu symptoms, but not the more deadly version. In essence, for most of the young healthy population, this is not too different from the seasonal flus that have gone around or the common cold. Data from the CDC also indicates that the vast majority of fatalities are in elderly people which of course is worrisome to many who are elderly and care about an elderly loved one, but for those out and about the most, it’s not like the black death! Not to mention, we weathered other storms of this kind; SARS, H1N1 flu, etc…. and the country survived and didn’t go into doomsday mode or have all of the country dead or dying. Nor is this COVID-19 virus all that novel:

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoVSARS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2). (CDC.gov)

This is just a newer strain coming out that we need to build up an immunity to. Also as of now, the CDC gives a clearer picture of the risk for the average American.

Current risk assessment:

  • For the majority of people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is not widespread circulation in most communities in the United States.
  • People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location.
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on location.

And yet everywhere is shutting down and cancelling out of fear as if this were a higher risk and more deadly. I don’t remember the Ebola epidemic a few years back shutting down the country. It was mostly contained in Africa, however there were people suspected to carry it or have it come to the US. Believe me, those viruses have far higher mortality rates! Again, I don’t deny there is a need for enhanced cautionary measures. It’s all about a response proportional to the facts, not mainstream news hysteria and “what if” panic. America right now is a lower risk for most people, so most people should be able to still live their lives and not be panicked into going into plastic bubbles! Wash your hands thoroughly, be careful what you touch, keep clear of those who appear sick, be aware of your personal risk (ex. travel, age, health etc.) and such. But don’t stop living your life out of fear. We’re nowhere near that yet. We never have been in our history. This is not Ebola, or the bubonic plague we’re talking about here! This is a variation of a common type of virus we encounter every year. We also must look at some of the countries hit harder. Places like Korea, China, Iran and such have less than stellar medical care and living standards. Of course any disease will be more severe with less resources, technology and ways to stop it like in underdeveloped countries. Even in Europe, their public “free” healthcare system wasn’t great to start with before this! Our resources may be stretched, but theirs I’m sure is beyond the breaking point. That factor cannot be overlooked too in judging the true threat this disease poses to us here in the US.

Overall, the enhanced fear mongering does nothing to do actual help, and only creates unnecessary hurdles in our lives. Yes, this is a new virus, but new does not mean more deadly or harmful than many we encounter far more frequently and take for granted. Think of the flu that comes out as a new strain each season. Compared to COVID-19, the flu kills far more people globally than this has. And as far as risk goes, theImage result for coronavirus mortality vs flu flu also targets the elderly and infirm more than healthy young individuals. Yet people take the flu for granted and downplay its threat to our health. Why? Why isn’t there a huge campaign each year to shut down everything due to a new flu strain every flu season? My guess is it’s simply not new anymore, thus we habituated to the idea of it. We fear what is new, what is novel. However we have been in similar predicaments in previous years and made it out. Ironically, the fear over this has spread far more prolifically than the actual disease!

Could it get worse? Anything is possible and I don’t have a crystal ball nor some magical guarantee, but until it actually does, let’s just live our lives like we always have. My elderly grandmother who of course I’m concerned about, is living her life as usual and has the perspective that she must do the things she loves while she still can. Someday she won’t be able to but for now she can, so she does. We all can learn from that attitude. This may get worse. We may have to have more restrictions on our lives because of this. But for now, let’s do what we can, until we can’t. Go to work, go to class, go out to dinner, go shopping, go run errands, go have fun… We as a country have weathered two world wars, a depression, terror attacks, other pandemics and such in our history and have always pulled through as a nation. Who says we can’t weather this storm too? This won’t last forever!

One last major point to add that has to be mentioned: The politicization over this virus has reached an all new low of unethical agendas! Leftists going so far as to wish coronavirus on Trump supporters by deliberately infecting a Trump rally is beyond disgusting! I can only hope more sane Liberals can be big enough to condemn that too, however much they dislike Trump. Also, blaming Trump for the virus, calling for him to take action and when he does, condemn him for it only blocks his efforts to stop the spread. Quarantining those cruise ships then recommending that diseased people not be let into the ports is harsh, but wise. Why should we risk thousands of lives onshore until we can properly control their reentry? A few severe cases and fatalities are tragic, but it’s the lesser of the two evils compared to hundreds or thousands more. I must say too any fear mongering by the Right also is wrong, but I haven’t seen it like how Leftist sources are playing up the hysteria. Funny coincidence this is around election time too 😉 This needs to be a bipartisan issue, as the virus does not vote red or blue. Using Coronavirus as a political propaganda tool is beyond unethical! It’s time we call out the mass hysteria, panic and propaganda!

Image result for coronavirus ben garrison

Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html

What Makes a Strong Woman?

In this day and age, the cultural Zeitgeist is all about “women’s empowerment” and raising “strong women”. We think we know what these ideas should mean and have a mental picture of what they look like, but what really does a strong woman look like? Many cite qualities like independence, autonomy, assertiveness, leadership, etc… Many see her in some sort of high position of power, or with fancy degrees in some high-status career like doctor, lawyer, politician, some STEM field. It’s common to think of her being able to do “anything a man can do” with slogans like “girl power” and “girls rule the world”…

However the question is raised, is that what really makes a woman “strong”? How exactly does one define “strong”? Is it in her assertiveness almost to the point of aggressiveness? Her job title or her credentials? Her assertions that she doesn’t need a man for anything? Her ability to throw off traditional gender norms and clamor for all things masculine? The irony that many qualities she strives for in herself she would now label “toxic” in a man? The fact that she has liberal “woke” politics and ideologies unlike the “gender traitors” who are conservative women? They say a strong woman can think for herself, yet labeled those who stood by Kavanaugh or Trump as “gender traitors”. Is that what strong women are expected to do? Feel threatened enough by others whose opinions you don’t like that you have to shut them up?

Thing is, while many qualities above in moderation such as independence, assertiveness or leadership are okay, I argue our current concept of what makes a woman “strong” really betrays a type of weakness and vulnerability as well as implicitly sexist. The most problematic aspect of how we think of a strong woman is rooted in the implicit idea that she must be like a man, and throw off her traditional gender roles as a woman because male=empowerment and female=oppression. To truly be “equal” in this frame of mind is to be able to be and do anything a man does, but no mention of anything uniquely “woman” in her fight for equality. Whatever a man can do is better than what women traditionally have done. She must want a career, because her “dreams” must go beyond “mere” house keeping and child raising. She needs to earn her own way, or else she’s too “dependent” on a man thus virtually enslaved! Being a wife and mother apparently is not enough to foster her “personal development”. She must literally wear the pants, because dressing as a woman is the “uniform of oppression”. She is “empowered” when she can silence any man who dares speak his mind on issues pertaining to her, cry victim anytime she wants, be pushy and rude and call it “assertiveness”, shun a more feminine identity and reduce it to a “stereotype” and declare that the world is stacked against her. Now, many women who consider themselves as strong don’t feel they support this idea of it, however their attitudes implicitly support many of these ideas.

When you tell a girl “But what else do you want to do? You’re still young…” When she says she wants to raise a family when she grows up.

When you say “You can’t comment on this issue because you’re not a woman!”

When you tell your daughters “Never depend on a man for anything.”

When you say to fight “stereotypes” of women such as being married, home making, and wearing dresses.

You are perpetuating a distorted view of what it means to be strong. To me honestly, such ideas about strength betray weakness and vulnerability. The idea that being a traditional woman is a sign of oppression and that to have any worth in society, or to be considered independent is to take on traditional masculine characteristics belittles womanhood as a whole. Also reinforcing the sexist and misogynist idea that women are second class or lesser members of society, and must imitate men to bear a semblance to anything worthy of being called empowered, equal and strong.

What does it really say about society when the clamor for prominence and power in the public eye are valued far greater than the upbringing of our future generations? Just because a role is not as visible, doesn’t mean the job is any less needed. Motherhood, while more behind the scenes, IS a job in itself. A 24/7 job for life. Standing by your man does not mean you don’t have your own identity. Pants don’t equal freedom from some oppressed role and skirts and dresses don’t mean you’re second class. Wife and mother are just as important titles as CEO or PhD. Power and prestige are not all there is in life. Equal does not always mean identical; men and women can have separate gender roles and be equal in dignity and worth to each other. Putting men’s roles on a pedestal for women to be able to climb to inherently devalues traditional women’s roles even if cried for in the name of equality. Guarding one’s sexuality is not a form of coercion by the patriarchy when women have so much more to lose if she slips up. A woman’s purity is to be honored, not mocked and derided as “old fashioned”. A strong woman and a traditional woman exist side by side and are in no way mutually exclusive! 

So what does it mean to be a strong woman? A strong woman is many things in my opinion:

The confidence in her identity as a traditional women as valuable and meaningful in of itself without the need to be like a man to be worth something.

The ability to value her husband and children over any job title or credential she might earn.

Seeing her privilege, not her victimhood.

A self identity that is strong enough to not feel threatened by taking her husband’s name upon marriage, being “given away” at the altar, being called “Mrs.” or the idea of marriage.

Feeling as empowered and capable in a dress or skirt with long hair as in pants and short hair.

The strength to know she can depend on others like a father, brother, husband etc… for her care and safety and still be independent and strong in her own right.

Taking pride in the fact that she has the choice to give life, not in the choice to take it.

Who can handle words like “mankind” and “man” in the general sense without feeling excluded and microaggressed.

The fortitude to hold the family together in times of trouble, but also let a man take the lead and be the rock when she is given the chance.

Being a rock in her own unique way, as a moral compass of virtue, elegance, and grace for all to see in her family and in the world.

Dressing modestly as a sign of her inner worth and dignity, and having no need to flaunt her body for all to see for her to be “liberated”.

Who is strong enough to think for herself and not feel threatened by another’s opinion nor the need to force other women to think as she does.

Recognizing her ability to achieve her goals not in spite of being a woman in an “oppressive” society, but because of her determination, work ethic, and perseverance as a person. 

The strength it takes to be uniquely feminine, in her own right.

To me those are some things that make a strong woman 🙂

Strong woman

(I made this graphic myself!)