Human Nature Prevails
By Patrick F. Cannon
There always comes a point in any unexpected event when the usual human responses begin to kick in. In the current COVID 19 pandemic, it was for me about two weeks ago when I saw a man exiting the Jewel Foods store in River Forest with a shopping cart full of toilet paper.
It was early on a Thursday morning, a time and day when I would expect to see very few shoppers. Instead, there were long lines at every check out; in mine, the store manager was manning the cash register. It was, and continues to be, all hands on deck at every food store. As I write this, toilet paper is still in short supply, as if the entire population had suddenly developed the trots.
The impulse to hoard among a certain sector of the population is entirely predictable. If a blizzard or flood is predicted, the hoarders will come out in force. They never disappoint. Nor do our politicians. Both Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot have yet to fail mentioning the failure of the Federal government to be perfect. I notice that this same litany is sung by Governor Cuomo of New York and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City, fellow Democrats. Can I suggest that if a Democrat were in the White House, the Republican office holders would be doing exactly the same?
The temptation to assign blame is entirely human, and has been done as long as history has been recorded. When the so-called Black Death (Bubonic plague) killed a minimum of 75 million people in Europe in the 14th Century, religious leaders were inclined to blame the sins of their flocks, i.e., God was punishing moral backsliding with a death sentence. President Trump – rarely at a loss for interesting utterances — originally said we were being attacked by a “foreign” virus, meaning Chinese. The Chinese, not to be outdone, have claimed the virus – which after all started appearing in China – was actually brought to China as part of a plot by the United States. Vegans have suggested that if we banished animals from the world, our troubles would be over.
I’m sure a search of the internet would yield even more conspiracies. As of today, no one actually knows what has caused this strain of Coronavirus to emerge. Eventually, the actual cause will likely be uncovered. And a report will be published with this information, and no doubt suggestions for more effective responses. And, believe me, what we’re doing now is about the best we can under the circumstances. At the risk of disrupting our lives and almost certainly causing a deep recession, fewer people will contract the virus, and thus fewer people will die.
Governor Pritzker, who is so fond of blaming President Trump for all of our woes, will face dwindling state revenues, exacerbating pension shortfalls he and the Democratic Party have thus far notably failed to address. But as the stock markets continue to tumble, Bernie Sanders, he of the perpetual scowl, may crack a smile as he realizes that the hated rich are getting poorer by the hour. But wait! Doesn’t that mean they’ll have less for us to tax?
Copyright 2020, Patrick F. Cannon