Column: Americans couldn’t be any less together

Ryan Meyer

The mottos, mantras and maxims are everywhere. They claim togetherness, camaraderie and perseverance in times of hardship. We’ve all seen companies utilizing slogans to encourage us to keep our chins up, and while they’re up, consider buying their product. Musicians have capitalized as well, with songs called “Life in Quarantine,” by Ben Gibbard, “Six Feet Apart” by Luke Combs, and Chase Rice uploaded a video called “Dear Corona” that contains the lyrics “Dear Corona/You don’t know the heart of a country fan/You don’t know that we don’t give a damn.” This sure does ring true, as Florida just saw over 18,000 new cases in one weekend. Not to mention, Rice recently performed a packed concert in Tennessee that drew heavy criticism for selfishness and ignorance of health expert recommendations.

But now the trend is over. People are tired of Netflix, they’re tired of cooking quarantine recipes and working from home. It’s summer, and it’s time for red-blooded Americans to have some fun. It’s no longer cool to stay inside and make TikToks with their parents. Posting pictures of groups of friends social distancing is a thing of the past. Now, they all just hang out like nothing is different. And the sad thing is, to many people, nothing is different. Because the coronavirus, its dangers, and the risks associated with reckless behavior, it’s all just a matter of opinion. “I don’t think it’s really a problem anymore.” “The virus doesn’t concern me.”

It’s fine if you’re not concerned. Honestly I’m happy for you, because now you don’t have to experience the anxiety and stress that comes with leaving the house for those of us who listen to science and listen to the numbers. But just because you are stress-free doesn’t mean you can act in ways that put everyone else in pretty considerable danger. And the whole death rate argument is so obsolete and irrational. Sure, “only” 126,739 have died as of June 30, but there are still over 2 million cases in the United States. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I definitely don’t want to be hospitalized and isolated from my loved ones as so many others have been, even if the odds of me dying are low.

As for the numbers themselves, many, including friends of mine, claim to not believe them or say that they are exaggerated. If I can’t trust the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, then what can I trust? Reddit? Buzzfeed? Give me a break. I want to know where these “true” numbers are hiding so I can finally be enlightened.

I know that eventually these problems will somehow be solved and our country will go on to exacerbate more issues in the future. Until then, I have to keep turning to the prophetic, uplifting lyrics of the immortal Chase Rice’s 2016 song “Everybody We Know Does,” which says, “Hold it together when we feel like breaking/Not everybody knows what we’re made of.”

 

Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]