Optimism, Pessimism and Coronavirus

We need both: Optimism and Pessimism

People, fellow Americans, friends, family, and neighbors! To anyone tuned in and listening, “Houston, we have a problem,” but one that is solvable!

Insert your own paragraph here about the American Spirit, working together, and our “can do” attitude, because that’s what it’s going to take to get us through the Coronavirus pandemic. And, in case you haven’t been paying attention, it is a problem to US citizens and all inhabitants of the world.

Both optimists and pessimists will have different perspectives, but how we go about solving the problem—our attitude of being focused on the positive as opposed to focusing on the negative–our attitudes are not as important as coming together to solve the problem. I don’t need you to put a smile on your face and downplay the danger of Coronavirus, and I don’t need you to be a panic-driven pessimist and stockpile 100 rolls of toilet paper, I just need you to DO YOUR PART!

Many will downplay it; others will get it, live through it, carry and spread it; and others will die from it. This next week, and how we as a society react, will determine the outcome. Our number one problem? Too many coronavirus patients overwhelming our Hospitals, ERs, and emergency personnel because they need help breathing. That sounds pretty pessimistic. But our health system is not equipped to handle a huge influx of patients.

Look at Italy! Italians are reaching out via Twitter and Facebook and warning Americans NOT to take Coronavirus for granted as they lose more and more of their loved ones to the virus. That is NOT pessimism. That’s a blatant warning based on experience and the loss of life.

Did you see the pictures of the airports as Trump’s travel ban brought thousands of US citizens back home in a rushed panic?! Thousands and thousands of US citizens were funneled through thirteen US airports. One American citizen reported standing shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow travelers for six hours to get their luggage and another two to four hours of standing with sneezing, coughing companions waiting to pass through customs—where NO Coronavirus testing had been set-up DESPITE the lies being told by Donald Trump.

US Citizens returning to Chicago’s O’Hare after Trump’s travel ban.

This is the problem. THIS is the moment we all dreaded when Trump took office: that he would put his interests ahead of those of the American people. He keeps information from us deliberately, intentionally. This is NOT a lack of leadership like many think. THIS IS TRUMP LEADING US, SELLING OUT AMERICAN LIVES FOR MONEY! Trump is deliberately sourcing this problem to the private sector.

Trump turned down the Coronavirus test kits offered to the US by the World Health Organization. Why?! For money, for business, for capitalism, for greed. Trump’s big pharma buddies are getting patents for developing testing kits; Jared Kushner’s brother’s healthcare company is involved with setting-up drive-through testing facilities. That took a bit of time to get organized.

And, who foots the bill? With the passage of a half-ass Families First Bill, the Federal government will foot the bill. That means our tax dollars are going straight to Trump et all. Does that make Trump and his accomplices optimists, pessimists or mere opportunists and greedy capitalists? It doesn’t matter now. Once Trump is out of office his criminal negligence will be investigated. Now? We MUST address the problem, the virus, and encourage people to stay home. Optimists AND pessimists alike.

Here is Google’s PSA as of 3.15.2020, “Do the five.”

  1. HANDS Wash them often
  2. ELBOW Cough into it
  3. FACE Don’t touch it
  4. FEET Stay more than 3ft apart
  5. FEEL sick? Stay home

Let me add a couple of my own:

  • Do one thing daily to grow smarter and stronger (if you’re an optimist);
  • Or not (if you’re a pessimist), why bother?
  • ASK yourself: How can I be part of the solution?   

 German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said,

“A pessimist is an optimist in full possession of the facts.”

That sounds about right but it downplays the necessity of pessimism in our lives. Remember, pessimism created the parachute. I predict good things can come if we learn, grow, and keep improving and striving for all creatures and the planet.

I’m mostly an optimist, but the more time I have to think about our challenge with the coronavirus and the people at risk, the less optimistic I become. I have to stop focusing on Trump’s incompetence and greed and focus on what I can do to help. Like Barb McQuade, I will focus on the positive. She sure sounds optimistic on Twitter:   

@Barb McQuade

Despite Trump’s fumbles, America is stepping up in response to #COVID-19 and remembering who we are. We are resilient, compassionate, creative, and helpful.

8:26 AM 14 Mar 20

She attached this WashingtonPost.com opinion column.  

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam greets staff at the Richmond Community Hospital on Friday morning before discussing the coronavirus with hospital doctors. (Timothy C. Wright/For the Washington Post)

That’s a pretty optimistic take on Coronavirus, but if the virus claims lives in the US like in Italy, we’ll lose many. It’s hard to stay positive when grieving. It’s hard not to let pessimism settle in. They both must be used to move forward.

We’ll need both, optimism and pessimism to solve this problem, to heal and recover as a nation, to disrupt the status quo and create a better world for us all.

All are needed in this campaign. Pessimists and Optimists … (not at all) alike.