I live in Alabama. This state votes Republican because… well, just because. Lots of people carry guns on them. Not sure why. I’ve never found myself in a situation where I felt I needed one. Lots of people here love them some Jesus. This weekend a Trump 2020 bus was parked in a lot just off the main drag selling pro-Trump gear to the faithful.
Typical Alabamians fit one or more of these categories. They also like to feel and act morally superior on those of us who don’t, but that’s not what I want to talk about today.
Today I want to talk about coronavirus, or COVID-19. Friday morning Alabama had no confirmed cases. As of Sunday evening we have 22, including one in the county where I live. I am afraid, but I am also in awe of Mother Nature. She found a way to put us in our place and we can’t buy or shoot our way out of danger.
Today where I live those God-fearing, gun-toting Republicans went to church and then out to eat like they usually do. Not all of them, but a significant number of them did. Then they went to Walmart and Publix and Aldi to buy groceries and to talk to each other about how this is all crazy and a big to-do about nothing.
Today I went unarmed into Walmart and Publix and Aldi. I shopped for and delivered groceries around the county. I delivered to several mothers of young children. An older woman on oxygen. A woman who uses a wheelchair and was upset because Walmart was out of her diabetic test strips and she doesn’t know when or where she can get some. An elderly man who lives alone with his dog. A younger woman who just finished chemo.
While my family, friends and neighbors talk about how the coronavirus coverage is overblown and for most it’s just a mild illness, these people I delivered to know a COVID-19 diagnosis would likely be a death sentence. If I were to contract COVID-19 I would likely live through it, but I could have lung damage that diminishes my quality of life and the ability to support myself.
So I have taken it upon myself to school folks who make ignorant and ill-informed comments about the pandemic.
On numerous occasions young people have commented to me that it’s really not that bad. My response? “Maybe for you. But I’m older. For me it’s a VERY big deal.”
Tonight at the gas pump a fellow struck up a conversation and admitted there was lots of confusing information out there. I replied that I keep it simple. There are older people in my family I don’t want to give it to, so I will play it safe. He agreed that was the best way to go.
And those that say it’s all fake news? I remind them that the Stock Market doesn’t typically tank over fake news, so maybe they should pay attention.
These next few weeks are going to be stressful, so hang tough, be supportive of each other, and talk to others about why you’re taking this pandemic seriously and they should too.