Grieving during coronavirus isOK

I would not want to be any sort of political leader at this time. The potentially life-or-death decisions they have to make, with imperfect models and a virus we knew nothing about, have to be incredibly stress-inducing. I can’t blame them for incorrect decisions in those circumstances.

It’s healthy to grieve for what we’ve lost during the pandemic. And it’s wrong to disparage someone who does that.

Mentioned links:

Nolte: The Coronavirus Made Brian Stelter Cry

If You Want A Lesson In Bravery, Don’t Look To Brian Stelter

Brian Stelter Has a Meltdown Over Our ‘Pre-Pandemic Lives’

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Show transcript

They say that hindsight is 20/20, and that’s especially true in the year 2020. The response to the pandemic here in the States has come under scrutiny and criticism. Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked in one of the press conferences whether fewer people would have been sick or died if we’d reacted sooner. It was a silly question to ask; of course things would have been better. But when Trump, on January 30th, restricted incoming travel from foreign nationals who’d been to China, he was called racist and xenophobic, which, as I’ve noted, is the Left’s go-to response when they’ve got nothing else. What they want you to forget is that at that same time Nancy Pelosi was telling people (in a now-deleted tweet) to not be afraid and celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chinatown, and that California governor Gavin Newsome let the LA Marathon go on during the first week in March. Imagine if Trump had ordered a nationwide lockdown along with that travel ban over a month before the marathon. If one of those acts was allegedly racist, imagine the pushback he’d have gotten for the other. So sure, we could have done better with the response, but would America have been OK with that, especially Democrats who reflexively assume the worst? It’s unmitigated hypocrisy.

But here’s the thing; I don’t fault any politician – federal or state, Democrat or Republican – for their reaction one way or the other during a pandemic featuring a virus we had never seen before. Their criticisms of others might be hypocritical, but their reactions to the impending crisis are not something I would fault them for. I would not want to be any sort of political leader at this point in time. I just would not want to be, for example, the governor of a state, looking at some of the models (which had dire predictions of sickness and death for a virus which, again, we really knew nothing about) and trying to decide to lockdown or not to lockdown. That is a question I would not want to have the responsibility to answer.

Remember, the World Health Organization was, at the time, parroting the lies coming out of the Communist Chinese government that there was no evidence of person-to-person transmission. The CDC was saying masks wouldn’t really help. So much misinformation was out there, and our representatives were supposed to make (what could be) life or death decisions based on it. So count me out of both running for political office, as well as casting blame.

During times like these, there is something we can do to help with our mental health; grieve. Even if COVID-19 hasn’t affected your friends or family, we’ve experienced a loss of one kind or another. For some, it’s a loved one who has died. For some it is the loss of a job, or it’s a small business that you built that has gone under, or is hobbled to say the least. For some, it may be missing friends, family, or co-workers because we’re sheltering in place and working from home. It could be as simple as no more date nights at a restaurant. For me, one of the things I miss is hugging my kids. I’m immunocompromised because of a treatment I get for Multiple Sclerosis. How long will it be before I get to do that again?

These are all losses, some greater than others, but they are things that we don’t have anymore. And feeling that loss and grieving for it is not selfish or self-indulgent; it is natural and healthy. Although while it’s good to visit that place once in a while, don’t setup camp and live there. That can quickly become depression or worse.

As an example of healthy grieving, I want to read a couple of tweets from CNN’s Brian Stelter. If you’ve been following the news for media bias, this guy has come up on your radar a lot. But he said something very human and very understandable for someone in his profession. Here’s what he said.

Last night, I hit a wall. Gutted by the death toll. Disturbed by the govt’s shortcomings. Dismayed by political rhetoric that bears no resemblance to reality. Worried about friends who are losing jobs; kids who are missing school; and senior citizens who are living in fear. I crawled in bed and cried for our pre-pandemic lives. Tears that had been waiting a month to escape.

I wanted to share because it feels freeing to do so. Now is not a time for faux-invincibility. Journos are living this, hating this, like everyone else.

Indeed, journalists marinate in this concoction of all manner of bad news, every day. We see some of what they see on the local and national news. We have cable news channels running 24/7, and that can really bring you down. But I’m sure that people working in the media have it much worse than we do. And this response from Stelter is both totally understandable and perhaps cathartic for many people.

Because of this, I am particularly disappointed and angry at reactions from some of the conservative media and blogosphere. So many of them, no doubt feeding off their feelings about Stelter’s bias in the past, disparaged him for posting this. Links are in the show notes. He’s called a “pathetic baby girl”, with others declaring that, “Emotional weakness is not a virtue”. That is absolutely the wrong take on this. Men grieving about a legitimate evil is not something we should be shunning. This kind of reaction from the Right is absolutely heartless and wrong.

One reaction from the Right was actually good advice; advice you’ve heard here. Beth Baumann writing at TownHall suggested that Brian look for more of the good news. She noted that his latest newsletter was chock full of negative stories, and precious few links to good news.

So if you feel the need, go ahead and mourn what you’ve lost, and what other have lost as well. Don’t let anyone tell you not to. But then get back out there with a positive attitude and find the good, or even better, be the good.

Filed under: Coronavirus (COVID-19)Medicine