Lockdowns are a Mistake: We aren’t Considering the Consequences

8,500 people per day die in the United states from a wide array of illnesses, accidents and diseases. There were roughly 2.8 million deceased in the US in 2018. The total amount for 2020 is expected to be near that number, but will likely be closer to 2.9 million due to Covid. There is an obsession by the ‘panic-driven’ media with the number of Covid-related deaths. The current number is around 280,000. This sounds astronomical if you are sitting at home and have no idea how many people actually die in this country everyday. The total number of deaths thus far in 2020 attributed to ailments like heart disease is also significantly lower compared to past years.

I don’t mean to sound insensitive. I wish everyone could live forever. But we are mortal, flawed, shortsighted and often hindered by fear and ignorance. The other reality is that death is part of life. There is a virus out there that is more lethal than the flu. We should do all that we can to protect the elderly and those that are the most vulnerable. But lockdowns and other severe restrictions are not the answer. More importantly, schools throughout the United States should be open and only with the most bare minimal modifications or limitations. Children should not be segregated by plexiglass, forced to take classes on zoom and recess must once again become part of their daily routine. Small businesses, including gyms, hair saloons, nail salons and restaurants should be open with reasonable modifications.

Some restrictions on large sporting events and concerts is reasonable. If you get into an elevator with other people, wear a mask or wait for the next one. If you are riding the subway in a crowded city, wear a mask. These are commonsensical and the vast majority of people have enough goodwill and decency to understand that. But no amount of government oversight or lockdowns is going to enforce 100% compliance with mask wearing. We have the Constitution in the United States. It is the way we live. This isn’t China, the former Soviet Union or Iran. The political and media elites seem to think that we are all stupid. We are not. They insist they have all the answers and that only they know what is best for the general population. They do not. Living in California during this pandemic, it has become clear that lockdowns do not work nor are they the answer to the virus. California has had some of the strictest, if not the most draconian restrictions when compared to other states. Yet, the overall numbers here continue to hover around the middle of the pack. Florida has had the least restrictions for a large state and their Covid numbers are more or less on par with California.

I took my two-year old to the playground the other day. There were a few other kids there. They were all wearing masks as were their parents. I wasn’t wearing a mask nor was my son. The grown ups looked at me with slight disgust and their small children were astonished that I wasn’t employing a face covering. When my two-year old got close to any of the other children, they quickly scurried away. When he tried to get close again, one child began to scream and ran back to his parents. It was clear they had been instructed to keep a safe distance from other children. I understand that we need to take precautions, but are we taking enough time to contemplate what we are doing to our children? We run the risk of inflicting serious psychological damage on an entire generation of youth in this country.

There are roughly 58 million school-aged children in the United States and another 20 million children under the age of five. There is a mountain of evidence to support the idea that if a child does not properly socialize within the small window of 2 to 5 years of age, that same child is much more likely to develop social and psychological deficiencies as an adult. On top of that, there are another 44 million young Americans between the ages of 20 to 29 years of age. Again, I am not advocating that we merely abandon the elderly, but we can do two things at once. We can protect the most vulnerable, but allow young people to continue on with their lives. We have a moral obligation to do both. And there are many states that have done this sucessfully. Those states should be the model, not California, Illinois or New York.

We must also strongly consider how lockdowns impact our mental health, regardless of age. Depression, mental illness, drug use, drug overdoses, alcoholism and suicide are all on the rise. And where will those numbers be if we carry on this way another six to twelve months? Substance abuse and alcoholism have seen significant upticks during the pandemic. There is a lot of focus right now on the number of ICU beds available, but there is little discussion that many drug and alcohol centers around the country are closed. Then there is mental illness, which is often correlated with substance abuse. We’ve had a serious mental illness and homelessness problem for years and it is being accelerated now due to unnecessary restrictions and poor government decision making. Suicide, including teen suicide, has also increased substantially across the board in 2020. Again, we should be making drastic efforts to protect seniors, but where is the robust discussion in the national media regarding the consequences of these lockdowns? It doesn’t seem to exist. Instead, the mainstream media has devolved into ‘panic porn’. It’s purpose seems hellbent on striking fear and chaos within the population rather than adequately informing the public.

Besides the social and psychological consequences, their is the economic fallout to consider. While the federal government can periodically send out stimulus checks and supplement businesses in hopes that they can ride out the storm, it is not a substitute. The government’s effort can only serve as a bandaid against the perilous policies that are forcing millions of small businesses to close throughout the country. This is particularly evident in states with the most severe restrictions. For many individuals, their life’s work and savings is withering away. Meanwhile, we are also witnessing possibly the greatest wealth transfer in the history of the United States during this pandemic. Mega corporations, such as Amazon, Home Depot, Target and Walmart are reporting record profits. If you are a white-collar professional, state or federal employee or work in healthcare, your job is secure. If you have even just a 401k, you have seen it grow generously during this pandemic. If you are also heavily invested in the stock market and real estate, you have likely done quite well during 2020.

There is nothing wrong with individuals increasing their wealth during this pandemic. The problem is that we have a growing divide between the “haves” and the “have nots” and continuous lockdowns threaten to exasperate the income gap in many parts of the country to the point that reversing such disparities in wealth may become insurmountable. For all the talk in 2020 of social justice, racial disparities and equity, we are doing everything to move backwards from an economic, social and political perspective. Members of the media, cultural and political elites, all of whom are financially secure, seem to be the loudest cheerleaders of continued lockdowns. Furthermore, many of the solid middle class and upper middle class, whom can work from home and continue to build wealth, also seem content with these draconian restrictions that are proving to be detrimental for the working classes and small business owners.

The idea that this will all go away if everyone just “follows the rules” and wears their mask properly at all times and refrains from social gatherings is flawed. The reality is that most people wear their mask and have been wearing masks throughout the United States, regardless if that state is politically Red or Blue. Despite the false narrative that the national media seems committed to peddling, the reality is that Americans for the most part have done a superb job in taking precautions, socially distancing and using face coverings. Yes, there are some people that refuse to wear the mask, but we also live in a Democratic society and we value individual freedoms. That is one consequence of democracy. We have to factor that in as part of the equation. The only way to actually stop this virus without mass vaccination is for an overtly authoritative government to literally lock people in their homes, jail individuals for not wearing masks or imposes heavy fines. It should be pointed out that individuals have been jailed on certain occasions in cities like New York and Los Angeles for not following the rules. While those individuals may have been wrong, does the government in a democratic society have the power to jail citizens for social gathering? Even if we do completely lockdown, groups of people will continue to mingle in underground parties and speakeasies. Prohibition in the 1920s didn’t prevent people from drinking nor will these lockdowns stop the public from being social.

Although vaccinations have begun for a minute portion of the population in the UK and will soon start in the US, it is going to take at least six months and possibly up to a year to vaccinate the general population. This vaccine will require two doses and the vaccine itself has to be stored in freezers that are expensive to maintain and transport. The timeline of 6 to 12 months also assumes that no egregious side effects crop up and the process is free of serious logistical hurdles. One problem that likely will arise is the fact that a significant portion of the population may refuse to take the vaccine. But can we really blame them considering how we’ve had to watch the media, political and cultural elites snark at us for the past nine months? We were repeatedly told that BLM protests and thousands marching in the streets for social justice was perfectly safe, but anyone protesting the lockdowns was merely a far-right, conspiracy theorist that didn’t believe in science and was responsible for killing people. And now we are just supposed to suddenly trust the media and the political elites? If the vaccine proves to be safe, then we should take it, but it’s also understandable why some will be skeptical.

The most frustrating part of the lockdown is that if you dare criticize it or call out the Democratic governor of your state, you are are just labeled as a far-right agitator. If you protest for social justice, you are acting in good faith, but if you engage in an anti-lockdown protest because your business got shut down or your kids are stuck at home all day on Zoom, then you “don’t believe in science”. Yet, these same types in the media and political elites that insist they know wha is best, also claim that their views aren’t ‘political’. They often respond with something like, “this isn’t about politics, it’s about science and saving lives.” This is an outright lie. This is obviously more than just about saving lives and containing a virus. This is also an opportunity being used by political and cultural elites to seize power and push an agenda. For them, we are merely the sheep and they are the overlords. This should not be a “right-wing” observation, but one that derives from common sense and intuition. The fact that even smart individuals are allowing their partisanship to obscure the reality of what is actually occurring is the much greater threat to our society than the actual virus.

I live in California and we have just entered into lockdown mode once again. People here from all walks of life are angry. There is a burgeoning movement that seeks to recall Governor Newsom and the technocratic elites that control this state. There are some in this country that want to make the rest of America like California. If you live in another state, take my advice. Do not vote for Californian-style government. I understand that you might be a Democrat or even progressive. But trust me. You will regret it. I visited Texas for the first time 15 years ago. I visited again a couple of months ago. Texas is not really Texas anymore. It is gradually turning into California. For some strange reason, Californians move to Texas and vote for the same policies that led to their exit from California in the first place and some native Texans even go along with it. I’m not sure why. I’ve been a lifetime Democratic. But no more. At least not in California. There is literally a one-party, Democratic machine that runs the state and it is revealing its ugly nature in the time of Covd-19. What is happening in California is the definition of insanity and speaking out against it should not be brushed aside as ‘right-wing’ rhetoric.

The lockdowns here are not the answer nor are they anywhere in the US. If we continue down this path for another year or even six months, it might not be possible to go back to ‘normal’. The reality is that the longer we stay locked down or even partially locked down, the more difficult it will be to go back to normal. We must stand up against government overreach. We must do what is in the best interest of our children first while also doing our best to protect the elderly. We can do both of these at the same time. Yes, taking such a path will likely lead to a slight uptick in Covid-related deaths. But it is a sacrifice we must make. If not, we risk doing serious, long-term psychological damage to millions of our youth and inflicting irreversible harm on our communities. We must fight back against these technocrats and progressive elites that seek to control our lives. There are three ways to do this. We can find the courage to speak out against this wave of tyranny with members of our community even when it seems unpopular to do so. Second, we can recall governors of states, such as California, Pennslyvania and Michigan. Third, we can make our voices heard at the ballot box. Personally, I was a lifetime Democrat. I’m not in love with the GOP, but I see no choice, at least in the short-term, but to only vote for Republican or independent candidates.

A web manager by day and inspiring writer at night. James raps about politics, web design, culture, sports and the many nuances of life.

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