Right or Wrong, Here's What I've Learned from Pandemic Life

Lisa Tate

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When the Ides of March was upon us this year and the COVID monster took over the paranoia of the planet, we were forced into more time to do some inner thoughts searching, myself included.

I’m fortunate enough to see many restrictions being lifted and eased in my area, so I’m hopeful to be getting out and about a little more. In the time we’ve been primarily under house arrest, I’ve developed or reinforced a few opinions that will stick with me long after this current crisis has been replaced by the next one…and there is always a next one.

Here are a five things I’ve learned from this pandemic that I, as an expert on absolutely nothing that has anything to do with this virus, will share:

1. When you treat someone too much like a celebrity they begin to act like one. It isn’t pretty.

Remember when this started and everyone rolled their eyes at that godless saccharine “Imagine” rendition by all the “pretty people?” Seems a millions years ago. As a response, we begin doing something that started out as a very good thing. People begin putting people outside of the entertainment community in the spotlight. Doctors and nurses, truck drivers and delivery services, farmers, teachers, and grocery clerks were being celebrated for keeping this world going. This was fantastic.

Then we started tossing about the word “hero” for people doing the jobs they are paid to do. That was well intended, and no doubt there have been some heroic acts by many of these people. My grandmother was an emergency room nurse, and my cousin was a nurse in charge of an infectious disease unit. I know how hard some of them work, and I appreciate it. Many medical professionals deserved some special signs and random acts of appreciation from businesses and individuals. I have no problem with that. Then, especially in Europe, there seemed to be more and more scheduled times to “clap for” the medical community, and questioning anything any medical professional did for any reason was looked at as practically blasphemous.

Eventually, the TikTok videos began. I agree they were cute...at first. Dancing doctors doing little choreographed bits. I’ve seen teachers, soldiers, cops, and wedding parties do this type of thing in the past. It's not a big deal. Everyone likes to blow off steam. Then they started getting more frequent, and creepier. Doctors carrying “dead bodies” around in weird “you better listen to us” ways, and recreating “The Last Supper” as if they are somehow something akin to a messiah. I think it’s time for a few of these guys to get back to work.

When some people (not all, mind you) get too much praise continuously, they start expecting it. They begin to think just because they chose a certain profession, those who didn’t are somehow lesser that them. All others should grant them continuous head-bowing gratitude, even when they aren’t doing anything above and beyond. That’s a dangerous pattern to get into whether you sing, sew, or help save lives.

To those doctors and nurses who have been working hard at this time, I offer my heartfelt thanks. For those who think they indefinitely deserve praise just for wearing scrubs, you’ve fallen off your own path.

2. Borders are necessary. Who woulda thunk it?

I learned growing up the phrase “think globally, act locally.” This whole pandemic has give validation to the need for borders like nothing yet can. We should do what we can to care for and be aware of people all over the world facing problems, but our priorities need to stay with our own country. I’ll go one further and say we need to look after our own communities and households first.

There are many beautiful, wonderful places and people all over the world, but not all of them will benefit by mixing everyone together. All races are, deep down, the same, but that doesn’t mean good people coming from another country indiscriminately won't bring with them something, be it a value system or a virus, that might spread in a bad way. If we are asked to stay in our homes with those we know best, and be very cautious about who we let in to our homes, the same must hold true for our nations. Don’t turn away every immigrant or foreign visitor. I would never ask that or any nation. We also shouldn’t just leave the door open for anyone to get in. An open door policy is good in an office, not at a national border.

Should the world be every man for himself? No, but it should be every community putting their own people first. When we are able to sufficiently take care of ourselves, we’ll have the wherewithal to better help others.

There’s strength in independence, and to be able to help others, we need to be a strong as possible.

3. The Earth heals itself pretty good. There’s no “crisis” killing it.

I love seeing the footage of wild animals taking over empty streets, and of the clear, clean rivers and lakes around less-busy cities. This is a beautiful sight, no doubt, but it shows that Earth can heal itself fast, and without ongoing extreme high-taxed, business killing, socialist measures.

I went to a college in West Texas where every Christmas break the local wildlife took over. There were so few people around you would see pronghorn antelope all over the campus quad, and huge wild turkeys on the library steps. People move out, and wildlife moved in. No one ever uttered something as stupid as, “Nature is healing itself. We are the virus.” Nope. Wildlife doesn’t disappear when people move in. They just go somewhere else, probably much prettier than a school campus.

I do think we should take care of the Earth, and I’m especially supportive of efforts to clean up the crap that people toss in the ocean, but if the natural world can blossom so quickly after a couple of weeks with fewer people, it’s not as sick as many environmentalist think. We just need to keep plugging along while keeping aware of the need to keep things clean, safe and more sustainable. Not for “Mother Earth,” but for ourselves.

People, however, need to take care of things so we’ll be able to live better lives. We do need to keep things clean, but the world isn’t on the brink of disaster. At least not in the way environmental extremists believe.

4. Having my family around has been a blessing, not a curse.

What is the deal with all these articles about how much parents are hating spending time around their kids, or that they can’t make it through a day of “distance learning” without increasing their drinking?

First, let me admit, yes, my kids and I do get on each other’s nerves sometimes, but what family doesn’t? I understand the jokes (and have made a few myself), but do we really hate raising out kids that much? I don’t.

It is right to appreciate what many teachers have to go through, but, parenting isn’t a burden. I love being able to be there for my kids, especially since I’m about to lose my oldest to college. Having this time with her has been absolutely amazing. My youngest is growing up too, and it kills me they are missing out on the end of their school year and the special times that come with it. The last thing they need is to be told they are an inconvenience or a pest.

Making it more fun and special for them is essential for me, and one of the saddest things about this outbreak is knowing some kids out there are being neglected, abused, or unloved in their own home. If our worst problem is having to spend time with our kids, we need to count our blessings.

Finally, and this is the most important thing, that I’ve realized, I might not be right about everything, but I’m glad I have the right to share my thoughts.

5. Everyone else in the world has an opinion, not just me. That’s okay!

I’ve always realized this, but being cooped up in my home seeing others become more and more unhinged not by the actions of others, but by the mere thoughts and utterances of them has reinforced it.

I have my politics, my religion (which isn’t government, I can tell you that), values, and my preferences. I’ve gathered these from life and work experience, extensive reading and researching, and in trying to listen to different sides of things.

I’ve been insulted or disgusted by the words and behaviors of many politicians and entertainers, as well as other “normies” like me who I have felt were way off the mark in their opinions. However, that’s what “opinion” means. It is merely what we feel about something. It isn’t gospel, it isn’t a decree, and it certainly isn’t always written in concrete. At least it shouldn’t be.

I have friends and family on both sides of nearly every issue. When I agree with them, I’ll let them know, but I just do my best to ignore the ones I find outrageous. Do I think people with different opinions on issue like how fast we should open up our country or which candidates we should vote for are wrong? Of course I do! They likely think I’m wrong about things as well. They’d be wrong about that, too, but I don’t care.

Speak your mind, stand by your opinion, but don’t be an over-the-top jerk to others who speak theirs.

If there’s one opinion I know for sure to be true, it is that no one who reads the opinions of others will agree with them 100 percent of the time. I doubt anybody who reads my ramblings in this story will agree with everything I said in this one post.

You know what? That is 100 percent fine with me.

Life’s too short to stay in and argue with everyone about everything on social media. Yes, we should take a stand, but it is much more effective to actually do that where we can be seen.

Hopefully, we call all get out and do that soon.

Header image collage: Lisa Tate

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