freedom and fear

So this morning while standing waiting behind another person at a service desk at a big box store, I got yelled at by a store employee for not positioning myself by a red X. I was not too close, mind you. I was actually at a further distance from any one else because no one else was in the vicinity and it didn’t matter. 

I turned around and looked at the man who had yelled at me. I looked him in the eye, both of us masked. I just stayed put.

I fear the mentality with which we are dealing right now. I fear where that mentality is going. 

I see both sides of the freedom versus fear schism we are watching in society right now. 

The fear people are all about following the rules to make sure we are all somehow safe, trusting that masks and distancing and locking down and all will make us safe. 

The freedom people have a heightened alertness to the dangers of those protocols. They are more questioning about the information they are given to justify the extreme measures.

The fear people resent the freedom people for not being considerate about everyone else’s health. The freedom people resent the fear people for not allowing them to make their own decisions and for not questioning the information and spectrum of risks associated with their actions.

And people are digging in their heels, like my store employee this morning feeling so emboldened with a perceived power he has never had before to actually yell at a person for not conforming to the red X. 

Is this how it’s going to be? And where, exactly, does that go?

I confess I left the store feeling very down and very concerned for this path we are on. I don’t feel safer on any level for all the mandates. If anything, I feel far more at risk now than I have ever felt. Worse, I fear for the world we are swiftly creating for our children and theirs.

At the end of the day, we are all just people. We need to find our way together rather than picking sides and doubling down.

10 thoughts on “freedom and fear

  1. Agnes Dodge

    Sorry you were yelled at – we all get distracted. I wear my mask and sometimes ask people to wear them properly at the store because I worry about the elderly and immunocompromised… but yelling? That is so out of touch. I’d rather him say with a smile, “hello, please stay in the X for your safety.” There is always a way to be kind. 🙂 sending you light and healing!

  2. Hi Nancy, this reminded me what my boss explained to me: “clerks are jerks.” There are people who will blindly follow the rules. Because they don’t know any better. Red X, 6 feet, etc. are things we come up with and are not absolute. Except to the “clerks”.
    To the bigger point about face covering, social distancing, and other implications making us less personable and trusting, it is unfortunately true. People are complex (hence the freedom and fear). Over time we will get used to the new normal and find ways to overcome their barriers. I hope.

    1. We shall see. As to the clerks, I understand your boss’s point, but we’ve certainly both met many a nice and reasonable clerk. 😊 Whatever our roles, we all need to strive for our humanity, especially in these difficult times. Thanks for your thoughts, Terry. 🌷

  3. What a well written post! Like the ying and yang symbol, you can never have absolutes, the black side of the symbol has a point of white, and so does the white have a point of black. There is no black and white absolutes, and lots of grey areas. Suppressing the other side of the fence information is not allowing people to have any kind of critical thinking, instead fear rules and people start to police themselves on a power trip, losing their “humanity” as you said, and their objectivity, with a very “false sense of protection” and trust on masks which are not real protection from catching the microscopic virus, (though it helps prevent the spread of it). Particularly the home made types of masks (unless they have filters, several layers of material, are fitted with no gaps, and have water repellent barriers):…”most common fabrics won’t be able to stop tiny particles such as the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19.” “A fit-tested NIOSH-certified disposable N95 filtering facepiece respirator mask will provide with protection and should be disposed of after a single use, but those masks are reserved for hospital staff.
    So let us have some common sense and humanity, while being careful, safe, considerate, and kind! (Sorry for the long comment) 🙂

    1. Thank you, Amira, for your very thoughtful and informative comment. Good links! For all the concern and discussion our society is having over masks, what I really wish we would see is that kind of attention focused on actually leading healthy lives. There is so much that we could all be doing to live healthier. Instead, many seem to be living even less healthier lifestyles than they were before this pandemic situation. Hopefully, over time, we can shift our focus. Thank you again for your comment, friend! 🌷

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