Ozark bookstore closed

A SIGN IN THE WINDOW at Word on the Street bookstore in Ozark informs would-be patrons that the store is closed due to stay-at-home orders in Ozark and in Christian County.

Crisis and fear have ways of making even the strongest person humble.

People are afraid of catching COVID-19, but with a relatively low impact of the virus across Christian County compared to other places—or even other diseases—they are also growing frustrated. 

Business owners are frustrated, and they are growing impatient, especially the owners of businesses deemed “nonessential” by the federal guidelines used to create stay-at-home orders in Christian County.

Even the president of the United States is frustrated.

“We want to finish this war. We have to get back to work. We have to get — we have to open our country again,” President Donald Trump said. “We don’t want to be doing this for months and months and months. We’re going to open our country again. This country wasn’t meant for this.”

A free market economy needs the market to be free. As much as President Trump likes talking about the power of the American economy, it’s good to see that his regard for human life is also in tact in the midst of a crisis.

“Every decision that we’re making is made to save lives. It’s really our sole consideration. We want to save lives. We want as few lives lost as possible,” Trump said.

Still, many business owners who aren’t seeing COVID-19 dramatically impact the lives of their loved ones are ready for social distancing to stop. Their livelihoods are at stake. They’re frustrated, feeling as if their earning potential is tied up like someone took rope and tied their hands behind their back.

We’re seeing that anger unleashed on social media outlets, one of the last refuges we can turn to to express ourselves freely. Just over the weekend, I wrote and deleted several messages I’m not going to send to friends, whose anger over money led to anger at reporters, journalists, “the media” that’s apparently as useful as a screen door on a submarine (that’s actually one of the more polite comments I read).

I’m trying to be empathetic and remember that such comments probably aren’t directed straight at me, and that my friends are upset and aren’t sure what’s going to happen to them and their ways of life. When our routines get disrupted, and our income is interrupted, we rightly get upset.

Sadly, it may get worse.

“As it really gets — this will be probably the toughest week between this week and next week. And there’ll be a lot of death, unfortunately, but a lot less death than if this wasn’t done. But there will be death,” Trump said.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Dhebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, has been a strong advocate for advanced testing, social distancing and stay-at-home orders throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While his business is firstly the health and wellbeing of persons, the sociological implications of COVID-19 do not seem lost on Dr. Tedros.

“But we know that this is much more than a health crisis. We are all aware of the profound social and economic consequences of the pandemic,” Tedros said during a speech April 3. “The restrictions many countries have put in place to protect health are taking a heavy toll on the income of individuals and families, and the economies of communities and nations.”

Instead of attacking people—attacking journalists, Democrats, Republicans, medical providers, first responders or that obnoxious fellow you kind of knew in college, let’s focus on offering the best support possible to the people directly attacking the cause of these problems.

“But ultimately, the best way for countries to end restrictions and ease their economic effects is to attack the virus, with the aggressive and comprehensive package of measures that we have spoken about many times before: find, test, isolate and treat every case, and trace every contact,” Tedros said.

Positive thinking alone isn’t going to get our money back. It’s also not going to heal and restore the lives of those stricken with the COVID-19 virus. However, a thoughtful and empathetic frame of mind could do wonders for all of us to psychologically and sociologically recover from this pandemic and its consequences.

—Rance Burger

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