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Novel idea 101: Don’t Be a Jerk

While the current state of the Nation is struggling at best, people continue to attack each other on political lines creating and perpetuating the embarrassment of American values.

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Put the numbers of the coronavirus (COVID-19) aside for a moment: the reality is that nobody really knows how many people have this virus as not everyone will feel compelled to “report in” to their local health official or government official to be part of the statistic. Here is the real truth: people are getting sick from COVID-19, there is no prophylactic, elective immunization to avoid becoming afflicted, and parents/grandparents and others considered at risk are dangerously ill or dying from this virus.

There is a good chance that hospitals may not have the capacity to treat your acute gallbladder, appendicitis, or other sudden illness or injury even if you do not contract the virus. And, in many cases, the most at risk individuals are already in germ infested, petri-dish hospitals and treatment centers that are trying to care for them while putting them at additional risk of becoming increasingly ill.

Just about every source of entertainment we enjoy has been cancelled or postponed indefinitely: sporting events, festivals, concerts, etc. Those cancellations, in and of themselves, create social isolation which in turn can lead to increased depression and anxiety. And, again, nobody can deny that families are burying their loved ones who ultimately have succumb to this “cold” as some claim it to be nothing more than that.

Companies are fleecing our citizens by driving their prices up on items that people feel they must have right now in order to feel strong and equipped. Recently on Amazon.com, the listings for “dust masks,” not even medical grade and IF you can find them at all, are listed at $99.99 for a package of 8 pieces of disposable paper… with free shipping of course. And those companies who try to lure innocent people just trying to protect themselves and others with a reasonable price are tacking on astronomical shipping costs to the unsuspecting buyers. Stores have no or very limited, lucky to find stock on items meant to prevent or contain the spread of this novel virus. The struggle to purchase or even locate these items has created a Social Darwinism, “survival of the fittest,” every man for himself culture of selfishness and opportunistic greed and gluttony. Do not forget 401Ks and retirement plans, stocks, and the dismal financial situation, the worst since 1987, that is severely impacting our future financial securities.

Isolation, depression, anxiety, illness, greed, gluttony, selfishness, feelings of despair, and death. How does that sound? This is Our America as we know it.

It does not sound good and it does not feel good. And yet, once again, many people are using this awful time in our country and in the world to play politics- dividing on party lines, media lines, red or blue, treating each other as stupid, ignorant, and foolish while believing your own beliefs reign supreme, dominant, even pragmatic in your own mind, full of finger pointing, blame, and hate.

At a time when people are feeling increasingly scared, isolated, depressed, anxious, desperate, sick, sad, and dying we are engaged in a battle of finger pointing, hatred, and emotional warfare. How does that “make America great?”

Here is an idea: try not to be a jerk today. That is a good step towards improving your level of greatness. Instead of blaming, teasing, hating, and defending, step back and remember that our country is struggling in so many ways and the last thing that we need is people hating each other, blaming each other for it all. We are where we are: let us not perpetuate it but rather fix it. Be kind to someone today. If you cannot muster up a random kindness, simply be quiet and skip the hateful comment or defensive attack for a change. Take one simple step to do something kind today and encourage others to do the same.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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