“This war will never be forgotten, nor will the heroes who fight in it” – Odysseus to Achilles in the motion picture “Troy”…
Now that through my work at MacroEdgo I have succeeded at playing a role in initiating a national debate on elimination, I will drop off a little on my FB posts. In doing so, I want to explain something, I hope with humility and sincerity.
Very many of us in Australia outside of the frontline responders have had a level of dissonance about COVID-19 – i.e. very few have experienced direct loss and partly through our nature, and partly our modern cynacism, we tend to not take a threat seriously until it is dramatically imminent or obviously catastrophic. Even in the latter, we are prone to fits of complacency after the initial shock subsides when we allow ourselves to doubt whether there is any actual chance that it will ever impact us directly.
But here is the insidious nature of pandemic disease – it is precisely at that moment that we are most vulnerable.
What is more, we will not realise our grave error for a while and often not before our complacency leads to others being infected, some of whom may have been trying to be diligent and had not realised their close contact (their friend or loved-one) had let them down.
For some that complacency will be fatal.
There can be no doubt that some politicians are not helping matters by being far more concerned with their own political aspirations, and they have and are creating dangerous complacency. That has been true in Australia like it is elsewhere, and I hold that it remains true if (thankfully) less than for some other countries.
We are now starting to receive messaging that we are likely to be in this situation for a prolonged period as a silver bullet medical/scientific answer is unlikely. My latest report at MacroEdgo details my thoughts on how that is likely to affect our society.
In Australia, we are fortunate that we still have some choices in how we progress from here. In countries where the pandemic is raging they have far fewer choices.
We really are all in this together. We all are entirely dependent on the actions of each other. And we all remain vulnerable as long as there are vulnerable people in our society.
The situation is likely to remain similar to this for at least another year, possibly longer. And even then things won’t be the same again. That is sad, but it could most definitely be worse for each of us.
We need our leaders to step up and show authentic compassion, not crocodile tears or at best glimpses at potentially deeply repressed emotion long covered by a thick veneer of toxic masculinity in the mistaken perception that any vulnerability will be exposed and torn apart by the 24 hr news cycle.
That is in part why there is tremendous validity to the post of the photographs of the leaders from countries that have responded well to the pandemic versus those more severely impacted showing that the better leaders were women.
Valuing all human life collectively and individually is the only viable way forward, and the benefits of that in our socities will be long felt.
In Australia, that may mean that by attempting to minimise our loss – rather than accepting a certain level of deaths as in a suppression strategy – we may find our way to eliminating the virus. But it all hinges on each and everyone of us doing our damndest to keep the virus away at all times and to guard against complacency. And it requires all of us to be leaders, including expressing our desires to the politicians who seek our votes.
Finally, I realise many friends probably think I have gone bonkers – after saying nothing on here for years it probably feels like I am lecturing all and sundry.
I get that. But here is the thing: whether it has sunk in yet or not, we are in the battle of our lives.
If I live long enough to talk to my grandchildren about these times, I want to know that I can look them in the eyes and say that I stood up to be counted and know it to be true in my heart. That I did everything I could in my power to make a difference. And I am in no doubt that it is those who show compassion for their fellow human being who ends up on the right side of history.
And if I do not live that long, then I know those who I loved will be proud of all that I have done, how I have served humanity to the best of my ability, and how I left nothing in reserve in trying to make a difference for the greater good.
Please stay safe, for yourself and others.
“[Mankind is] haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so we ask ourselves: will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we are gone, and wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, how fiercely we loved” Odysseus in the motion picture “Troy”…
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© Copyright Brett Edgerton 2020