Although I usually post articles about books and fiction writing, I wanted to address the situation we’re all dealing with: the Covid-19 pandemic. A friend wrote a thought-provoking article about this topic and has given permission to share it, but he wants to do it anonymously. He wrote it a few weeks ago, before the states began re-opening, but it’s still worth reading.


Living with the COVID 19 pandemic has accelerated divisions among Americans. While the ideological divide between conservative and liberal positions and Democrat and Republican politics had grown to critical levels over the past decade, adding a global pandemic has decidedly thrust the needle farther into the red zone. Unsurprisingly, the pandemic in America has also yielded two major camps.

The first camp is greatly concerned with how rapidly and easily it spreads, fearful of the potentially deadly consequence associated with contracting it, determined to limit spread of the virus, and worried for the safety of all Americans. They voluntarily practice social distancing, wear masks religiously, wash their hands and limit their social interactions in order to dampen the acceleration of exposures. They also worry about the virus impact on the supply chain, about collateral damage to the economy caused by limiting the virus spread, and about the monetary consequence for so many, but view limiting loss of human life to be the first priority.

The other camp is frustrated that their lives have been unnecessarily interfered-with. They are angry about imposed restrictions, requirements and economic impact “caused” by others. Many in this camp believe the virus is just another flu strain like all the others, will claim a few lives like the others have and then move on. Some even seem to believe that it is a hoax, perpetrated via some nefarious conspiracy.  This group does not appear to believe in experts and science. They often ignore health safety guidance. Some vocal protesters claim “they” are taking away their rights and freedom. For this camp the death toll is secondary to their convenience and economics.

There is also actually a third group snared in the pandemic: those who fear getting the virus, but live hand to mouth. Those who remain at work, live without choice in exposure work environments.  Others have lost their income due to pandemic closures and fear for their next meal and their homes. People in this group are desperate and afraid and sometimes join in with the second camp through their desperation.

The first group appears to prioritize the welfare of all and the second with their own desires and interests.  Perhaps the difference in the first two camps is better viewed by their fears, focus, values and responses. While both camps exhibit fear, focus and values vary significantly, evoking different responses.

Fear in the first camp, associated with a terrible illness or losing a loved-one or even someone else’s loved one, is lensed through more global values, resulting in a response of human life remaining foremost. Fear of a crashing economy is tempered by an inner faith that as long as we as a people can keep each other alive, we can overcome other obstacles together. We are all in this together.

The second group also deals with fear. Their fear is less focused, broader. This virus brings change beyond their control and they fear losing their livelihood. Their focus and values tell them not to depend on or trust goodness in others; they are on their own. They have no choice but to reject the pandemic as dangerous or even real, but inside are terrified that it is. Their fears often result in irrational and angry behavior, lashing out at others, focusing blame on whomever and wherever they can.

This assessment is not black and white, but rather forms a spectrum of emotional traits present in both groups to one degree or another. The point is that people are complicated. Their focus and values, developed during childhood learning experiences, evoke different adult thinking and emotional response. To both groups I say this: “Please try to hear each other, not just in what is said, but listen in-between the lines. Learn to hear where there is fear, insecurity and helplessness.  If we can learn to do this, we can perhaps put aside some issues and begin to heal the divide, learn to trust goodness in each other.