Editor’s Column: Denial has an ugly side

Denial isn’t a river in Egypt. (The Nile is a river in Egypt for those of you, like me, who don’t like puns.) I have no idea what living conditions are currently like in Egypt along the Nile, but I do know what living in denial is like. At first, it’s easy. You just believe whatever you want to believe and insist it’s true. It’s what toddlers do. We’ve all lived there at some point.

Denying reality is always easier than accepting it. Denial leads us to do foolish things like buying new pants and swearing the dryer shrank the old ones rather than admit we’ve been dipping into the cookie jar too often. Denial lets us excuse ourselves of bad habits, substance abuse, twisted personal agendas, toxic relationships and more. Denial can present itself as blatantly as a lie and as sneakily as projecting our personal weaknesses onto someone else in the form of blame.

Eventually, denial creeps up on us and demands its due, and denial’s dues are never cheap or comfortable.

I fear we’re about to pay up when it comes to denying the risks of COVID.
A long time family friend in Meeker lost his mother to COVID this week. A second writer pal in Denver (not the one I wrote about previously), spent a few days in the hospital with COVID. Her husband was hospitalized for more than a week. She shared today that her husband is not recovering as well as expected, and he has to return to the hospital for additional treatment, post-COVID.

I’ve been accused of using my platform to promote “mainstream media” ideas about COVID. That may be true: I’ve promoted all the ideas encouraged by public health experts… mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing, etc. Those aren’t mainstream media ideas, those are basic common sense for slowing the spread of contagion. I’ve also used this platform to promote things like wearing your seatbelt, engaging in civil discourse, exercising your right to vote, getting a flu shot, and more. I’ll continue to do so.

It alarms me that our school district has to tell people not to attend a sporting event if they’re sick. Why are we still having to tell people they should stay home when they have symptoms of illness? That’s common sense that should have long predated the pandemic, in my opinion.

It’s also alarming we have failed to realize most of our local small businesses are staffed by a handful of people. If one or two of those people exposes the rest of the business (not even considering the possibility of exposure by patrons) and the business has to quarantine for two weeks, that’s two weeks of lost income for the owners and their staff and lost sales tax revenue for our town(s) and county.

It’s taken a while (long enough to have a baby, for heaven’s sake), but we’ve all seemed to arrive at an accord on at least two things: 1. Kids need to stay in school and 2. Businesses need to stay open.

How can we work together to make those two things happen? We can do what has been asked of us by public health experts for months now: wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands. None of those things are that hard.

You might think compliance is for “snowflakes.” That might be… but when you pile up enough snowflakes, you can stop traffic. If enough of us will wear our masks, wash our hands, and social distance, we can slow this thing down just like a snowdrift.

By NIKI TURNER – editor@ht1885.com