Slimantics: The wrong wolf is winning the fight

 

Slim Smith

 

 

There once was a governor named Tate,

 

Who just said we don't have to wait,

 

To get our hair cut or tattoo our butt.

 

 

Who cares if we go out in a crate?

 

 

Today Mississippi casinos will be allowed to re-open. Chances are by Sunday, some people will be attending live church services.

 

Salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors, all of which require close personal contact, are permitted to resume operations, too.

 

At some point, probably sooner than later, folks will be allowed to belly up to the bar at the local pub.

 

According to Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, all of these entities must comply with "strict" restrictions such as social distancing, wearing protective nose/mouth covering and limiting capacity.

 

Can we get real for a moment here? These restrictions are largely a myth, a wink-and-a-nod to public safety. There's neither a plan nor much real enthusiasm for enforcing these rules. In practical terms, it would be close to impossible to make these rules stick in anything approaching a fair manner.

 

My guess is that social distancing will pretty much go out the window in a matter of weeks, if not sooner, even though the threat of COVID-19 will continue to persist.

 

It calls to mind the old Cherokee story.

 

An elder was teaching a young boy about life.

 

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight between two wolves.

 

"One is evil -- he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride and ego. The other wolf is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

 

"The same fight is going on inside you -- and inside every other person, too."

 

The child pondered the elder's words quietly, then asked the obvious question:

 

"Which wolf will win?"

 

The elderly replied simply: "The one you feed."

 

It is clear now that among those who wield the most power and influence in our society, one wolf is winning the fight and it isn't the wolf most Americans are rooting for.

 

A Quinnipiac poll this week asked a simple question: Would it be better to open the economy slower even if it made the economy worse or would it be better to open the economy quickly, even if it made the virus worse?

 

Three out of four said they favored a slow re-opening, even at the expense of the economy. By varying degrees, Democrats, Republicans and Independents all favored a slow re-opening.

 

Despite these serious reservations, state after state is moving quickly to reopen the economy.

 

The wolf of immediacy is at the throat of the wolf of restraint.

 

Oh, people like Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves will protest this characterization, calling their plans "safe reopenings." But a safe reopening, like clean coal, is a myth, a fabrication.

 

There's no question the economy will reopen. How "safe" it turns out to be is an open question. Based on human nature, I suspect it won't be all that safe.

 

As of today, almost 100,000 people in the U.S. have died from the Coronavirus over the past three months.

 

The daily death totals don't even seem to faze us, anymore.

 

The wrong wolf has won the battle.

 

 

Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]

 

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