New Year, New Choice

As we look back at 2020 and ahead to the New Year, we should be worried. At least 250,000 people in the United States have died of COVID-19 since February, and many health experts believe that we are just now entering the deadliest phase. And it has already been one of the deadliest events in American history.

So why has America been unable to control this virus when others have “dodged the bullet” or had a swift, minimal impact?  

Collectively, we’re not on the same page. We’ve been divided into two groups; people who care and people who don’t.  

Of course, this isn’t true. Everybody cares. It’s just that we’re all different. Retired, high-risk seniors will have a different outlook than the younger, healthy person with children to feed. Just like the health professional will feel differently than the tour guide about businesses being closed down.  

This pandemic has driven many into poverty and welfare dependence for the first time in their lives. Others have lost family members or become ill themselves. We cannot expect anyone else to feel how we do about this highly unusual situation or behave the same. But what we can hope for is responsibility.  

Responsibility is tricky because it’s always about more than us. A person cannot be only responsible for themselves because that violates the definition of responsibility. Selfish people are always irresponsible because in taking care of themselves only, they neglect or injure others. 

 We must take care of each other. It’s too simple to say that everyone needs to stay home and stay safe. We all need food. Many of us have jobs. All of us have cabin fever.  

Each of us is doing what we think is right and best given our own circumstances. 

Hypocrisy abounds in the current climate. We’ve all been at the store where the employee bumps into us while they’re putting up social distancing signs. Or we have a doctor who advised us to stay home for the holidays but is secretly traveling across the country to see their family. Let’s face it; everyone thinks they’re right. 

Some believe that restrictions are needed — more closures, rules, and consequences for not following them.  But nobody wants to be told what to do, and the people already not following rules don’t ordinarily take well to directives. Or consequences. And the people wishing for this don’t themselves want to be controlled. They want to be trusted to think for themselves and make their own choices. 

Instead of just offering up condescending suggestions about how wearing a mask isn’t that hard, health professionals like the CDC could instead offer up solutions. Virtual celebrations, outdoor gatherings, or anything else that makes people feel cared for and respected is the kind of communication that creates change. And since we’re all the ones suffering, whether from illness or loss of liberties, we can each choose to take some responsibility for each other and start working together.  


Marcel Gemme has dedicated his life to helping others find help. He focuses his attention on helping individuals find long-term Senior Care, he does this through his journalism, community outreach, and his website,  Excellent Care, Decency, and Optimal Living are what he aims to bring to individuals looking for care options for themselves or their aging loved ones.

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