With so many headlines, news stories and opinion pieces about the impact COVID-19 is having on an individual’s health and safety, as well as the health of our economy, it is hard not to feel we have enough information to form opinions.
In many posts on Facebook and Nextdoor and in letters to the editor, local residents are quite adamant in their opinion on both of these topics.
It makes sense because if we are listening to, watching or reading the news, we are inundated with recognized health experts, healthcare providers, government officials, economists, business advisors, lawmakers and community leaders offering their opinions on the present situation and the future before us.
In most cases, these experts are offering well-considered opinions based upon their area of expertise. Yes, they may bend right or left. Gone are the days of Walter Cronkite reading the news without a viewpoint, but that is the world in which we live.
The challenge comes when, in most cases, these news stories being reported are not fully explored from multiple viewpoints, enough to offer a complete understanding of the situation.
As a teenager, I often debated with my father on topics of the day, including the Vietnam War, racial discrimination, women’s rights, our local teachers strike and the fairness of life.
We were, of course, of different generations, different sexes and different mindsets.
I held strongly to my convictions and fought for them with passion. My father did too. While not always a pleasant experience, it was good to debate because it taught me a valuable lesson that I carry with me today.
All complex situations have shades of gray.
Lest this fact eluded me, it was further underscored by one of my favorite music groups at the time, The Monkees.
They had a song called “Shades of Grey” whose lyrics expressed the experience of being young and seeing the world clearly so that it was “easy then to tell truth from lies.”
The song goes on to say that as we get older, the world becomes more complex; that there is no black or white, only shades of gray.
It’s my own situation to deal with, and I understand in America we have a right to free speech, but I am stressed by the passionate, often angry exchanges that are occurring around a state of affairs that is new to all of us.
In my perfect world, we would consider that there are nuances to every decision being made and that complex situations cannot be explained away with a sound bite.
The pandemic is personal. For many, our health, careers, finances, freedoms and, ultimately, our happiness will likely be impacted. And yes, all that hits home.
We are an amazing community full of a wide variety of people that are doing their best to cope. We can all have our points of view and respectfully support them. That is what makes our country great.
However, during this unprecedented time, there is nothing wrong with saying “it depends” or “I don’t know” because more than likely, the truth of the situation may be somewhere in between.