Ordinarily, maintaining a balanced perspective and practicing safe and healthy habits would seem to go hand-in-hand but this year COVID19 has confounded that conventional wisdom. Staying safe means isolating oneself from the many social interactions that are a large part of our human existence. So much so that we have a tendency to lose our sense of perspective as we withdrawal into a intellectual and social garrison that creates a safe space between us and the dreaded virus but also isolates us from the daily discourse that injects balance and perspective on our outlook and views. This unintended consequence of social distancing is especially debilitating in the current climate of political polarization, fear mongering and ruthless avarice but those who seek power and privilege. We are all looking for someone to blame and for a quick and painless way out of our personal and collective troubles. And we are all fearful that “the good life” we though was our entitlement and was nearly within our grasp as promised by false prophets is now slipping away through no fault of our own. Indeed, it’s our nature to look for a scapegoat and to take out our anger and revenge on the villains who robbed us of that promised destiny. COVID19 and all uncertainty, setbacks, costs and unfairness that come with indiscriminate sickness and economic disruption must be someone’s fault.
Perhaps one of the lessons that farmers experience more than most professions is the fundamental verity that fairness is a highly subjective concept and nature rarely doles out fairness according to our perspective. COVID19, like most plagues, disease, natural disaster, weather, acts of God, crop failures, equipment breakdowns, market gyrations and other shit just happens and its rarely the fault of any identifiable villian. Sure its good sport to blame someone or some entity for our troubles and denied rewards but that’s just our way of coping with the hardships that have plagued human existence forever. Life is not safe and when things turn out bad, the blame flies in every direction indiscriminately. With so little civil discourse within our communities, due, in part to social distancing, its easy to loose our sense of perspective and engage in the blame game with a vengeance. Modern medicine will hopefully deliver us from our current public health crisis. In the meantime, its an individual obligation we have to our republic to maintain a sense of perspective and look for opportunities to ease our neighbors’ burdens and fears and pursue emotional releases that don’t spread the visceral poison of the blame game.