This month’s column was a little difficult to write; not because I didn’t have a topic but that there were too many topics. I usually have two of three columns in my back pocket to play with before I decide what to focus on. It was hard this time. I even asked for a day’s extension from the editor.
Information and misinformation are out there, especially on social media. Take a post from an old friend of mine saying there was a pandemic during Woodstock in 1969, therefore that justifies having concerts outdoors now. In 1968 there was a pandemic that killed about 1 million people worldwide. But in the '60s there were fewer people and products traveling all over the globe. I do not have the space here to list all the ways that was different than what we are dealing with now. It is easy to borrow someone else’s opinion. It takes energy to see things from different perspectives. How is this scenario justifying change?
Another friend of mine shared a meme that brought political statements into the pandemic problem. The two have nothing to do with each other. Still they feel vindicated in some way by "sharing." Is it exactly how they feel, maybe, but does it help in any discussion on the pandemic? No.
I did not offer my time to do a column to spend it dealing with Facebook posts and shares; I do it because of what newspapers and writing means to me. That you can go back in time and read newspapers from decades and decades ago and learn so much. Maybe 50 years from now someone will look at this column and ask, what’s Facebook? Why were people so determined to offer misinformation? People are downplaying this pandemic with misinformation on social media, which could deter people from taking proper precautions.
Sometime after the "shoe bomber" attempted to board a plane with explosives hidden his shoes, we as a country adjusted. Now, removing our shoes before going through airport security is just part of the process. Do we agree with it? Maybe not because the odds of that happening again are low, but we still do it. Is it annoying? Yes. But I comply because it is for everyone’s safety. And I voluntarily wear a mask when I go to the store or office. I do not want to be the one who made someone sick and turned their lives upside down. I trust the experts who say doing this simple thing will keep everyone safer from COVID-19. No one really knows how long this virus will be with us, but I want you all to be here after it is gone.
The occasional musician, songwriter, comedian and traveler, Robert Dixon lives in Bismarck with his wife and has four grown children.
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