Choices should be made with an eye to consequences

By Jim Redwine

’Ole 19 neither toils nor spins yet it has managed to change the course of history. But, as Jesus advised in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25-34), we should not lose the present worrying about the future. Or, more poetically and succinctly, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” In practical terms, we might be well advised to do what we can now as we wait for the coming cure, probably to begin this month but not to be ecumenical until the end of 2021.

With the current rates of infections, hospitalizations and deaths and closing businesses the “evil thereof” will claim thousands more before vaccines and herd immunity vanquish it. And just as America could have succumbed to another unprovoked and unexpected attack, Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, we could bury our heads in the sand and not fight back while many die or go broke needlessly awaiting the cure.

Or we can do what the Greatest Generation did and make the sacrifices necessary to save others and ourselves. Unlike those heroes who refused to lose and took up arms to win World War II, we do not have to toil in the defense plants or die in battle for four years of war. All we need to do is wear face masks, wash our hands and maintain safe distances as we carefully patronize eateries and other people-gathering businesses and engage in public events and social gatherings for the remaining few months of our own war with ’Ole 19.

Some of us may need to take more precautions than others. Differing levels of isolation may be advisable for those of us in particularly susceptible categories. But life must proceed. We need not all forego all activity. However, we can all support “the war effort” with sensible measures.

No one wants to be the last soldier to die in our current war. Or, more importantly, none of us wants to be spreading potential death to others. Of course, there are many important and desired activities people may choose to engage in. As with all of life, things are a matter of degree. We each should maintain our right to our own choices. After all, the right to choose is what makes Americans Americans.

On the other hand, our choices should not be made without regard to their consequences to ourselves but more importantly to others. Behaviors can be a matter of free choice while still being responsible. And who knows, maybe we can help keep hard-working store owners afloat as we help ourselves and others.