Let's Quarantine for Nine Months Then Decide

by Jeph Johnson 


I'm not afraid of their guns.  And most progressives aren't.  But we are afraid that their chants of "open up now!" are endangering our citizens due to the inevitable spread of the infection.


But ARE the protesters infected? With Covid-19, I mean?  We know they're infected with a lot of ignorance. 


Unlike an overwhelming majority of progressives I have a much different perspective on the issue of individual personal freedom. 


This debate backshadows the struggle my brain went through with abortion in the early 1990s. I was indeed AN ANTI-CHOICE BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN "PRO-LIFER" back then.  Yep. Progressive me had his activism roots buried in the wrong garden for about ten years!


"When exactly does life begin?" was our gotcha question and was always the hardest for a pro-choice person to answer...and that's because it was (and still is) unanswerable. 


For me as a Christian heavily influenced by right wing blowhard Rush Limbaugh, it was cut and dry: Nope! God hates it! Abortion is m.u.r.d.e.r. Murder is wrong!


I did a 180° in the years leading up to the new millennium. Abandoning the rigid and rancid dogma of Christianity, while embracing reason and compassion for others helped. Now I KNOW the mother and her trusted doctor have to make up their own minds jointly- AND it should be NOBODY ELSE'S decision to make. 


You see as a much more alert to reality person ("woke" has already become a slur so I won't use that term), I go so far as to admit "life *probably does* begin at conception". I simply concede I'm just not qualified to judge, First BECAUSE I'M A MAN AND IT'S NOT MY BODY! but also because life is indeed expendable and (slippery slope or not) some lives are more valuable than others. We must take into account the baby's development stage in correlation to when it was "living" as an invasive mass of tissue (great % of abortions by the way); viability; in/ability to think & feel etc.; the probability for hardship to the family (if a "family" even exists); likelihood for neglect and/or abuse... not to mention the health and life of the mother! 


All of that MUST play a HUGE part in the decision only a pregnant woman can and should make.  


So yeah I know what you're thinking, "this corona virus thing is a little different". The "when to reopen" debate seems to be affecting ME and YOU and ALL THOSE WE LOVE AND CARE ABOUT. It's NOT A personal decision. Any decision others make to not quarantine quite likely WILL spread corona virus and more deaths WILL occur from the disease. But ya know what? That's true for everything. 


Yes, admitedly hiding away quarantined in seclusion DOES INDEED reduce the likelihood of death (FROM EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING IN THE OUTSIDE WORLD) by a certain percentage. But we must weigh that percentage against the percentage hiding away quarantined prevents us from ACTUALLY LIVING too!


My mind is shifting once again in the way I had to when first becoming pro-choice.  I was forced to admit the harsh reality that life does begin at conception, but had to allow for tough choices to be made anyway. 


As a society, our "Mother Earth" needs to find that tipping point not of "when does life begin" but "what activities are worth suppressing and what aren't". 


I'm an atheist. I can't ask God that question.  I can only answer it for myself. 


As an anti-capitalist socialist I tend to go with "keep everything closed until it's completely safe" mantra. That's a good strategy. I mean screw the economy because the economy is skewed towards the rich anyway. Thankfully my living and financial situation currently allows for that option so it's not a difficult choice for me. 


Unfortunately we don't live in a socialist country. I'm doing everything in my power to change that, but it certainly is not gonna change soon enough! 


Still even in this paradigm there's a grey area about "when is it safe?" and "when do the other non-economic issues an economic collapse causes our nation start to outweigh the fact that 'the death rate from Covid will increase'?"   


Pro-choice means everyone needs to decide for themselves when to do things like open their businesses, see their friends and family (with mutual consent) and go to a park. 


Of COURSE everyone must always maintain respectful physical distancing measures and wear masks when around others, in stores and other crowded places. That's not only where your right to swing your fist extends to my bloody nose, it's further, as I can sneeze farther than Mike Tyson's right hook!


And though there are sad exceptions, most M.A.G.A. goons not named Mike Pence will take precautions and be respectful of those boundaries.


For an extended lockdown to work, American society needs to provide financial security and a safety net for everyone, but especially for those at high risk. No one wants to gamble by exposing themselves to potential sickness or death. Those putting themselves in the most danger need to be compensated additionally and provided free health care. I advocate for that ALL THE TIME anyway. 


Back to my first tangent: "Pro-life" by being 100% "anti abortion" would NEVER work and is the stuff of dystopian nightmares. Well, we can't stay closed forever. The quarantine is our dystopian wake up call! 


I'm certainly not suggesting the timing is right with these impatient lunatics but there will come a day where the decision they're making prematurely must be made by all of us.


Yes it's a new disease.  Yes we're struggling to understand how to best treat it and hopefully conquer it by finding a vaccine.  But time frames for those things happening are all speculative. 


Most of my progressive friends seem to be as rigid with this as I was as a "right to lifer" back in my born again Christian days and the zealotry is starting to concern me.  


I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do or that they're wrong. I'm saying show compassion to everyone who is trying to sort this mess out in their own way.  Let the mistakes happen because like with anything unexpected we don't know now what decision we're going to regret until later arrives.


Does it matter who's at fault? Does it matter whether she was raped or not? No our Mother Earth has some tough decisions to make. I'm hoping they're done jointly with the help of trusted medical professionals and not in a back alley.  

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