Reality and Delusion in A.D. 2020

I’ve been indulging in a little fantasy these last few days. Here’s what I’m imagining: Picture a virus invading the country, so we shut down borders, but since we don’t really know right away what the virus is likely to do, we realize that we can’t yet know what to do about it. So, the health department makes suggestions about maintaining a healthy immune system, about sanitation -- hand-washing, sterilizing public surfaces, avoiding large gatherings. And we wait. We watch children’s health, and take extra care with the elderly because historically we know those populations are vulnerable. We use whatever medications we have reason to believe will work. And we wait. Just wait. As we learn more -- like the fact that children are not susceptible -- we act on the new information without any political concerns.

In my fantasy I picture us as Americans, and therefore more resilient and inventive than the average bear, going about our business, taking some extra care, but bravely resisting hysteria and carrying on. Now, my fantasy includes a media that just keeps us posted, but doesn’t work at scaring us. In my scenario everyone still has his job, schools stay open, and we only quarantine those who are actually ill.

There would still be people who die, but since we wouldn’t house them with our elderly, few would perish. Can you just imagine how much better we’d all feel? Our stress levels would be only slightly above normal.  We’d all be healthier -- our gyms would still be open, we’d be outside moving about more, we’d be distracted by our daily activities and our lives would not revolve around disease.

Take this another step further. In Minneapolis one night a black man resists arrest and dies in the scuffle. In this fairytale world I’m imagining the media would have published the police camera footage right away – the entire videos, not just the inflammatory shots. George Floyd’s rap sheet would be part of the story right away. Isn’t it amazing how healthy a dose of truth can be?  This event would have gone by in a blip. Nothing else would have happened. George Floyd would still be dead, but the amount of fentanyl in his blood would have killed him, even if the police had not arrested him.

My point is that none of the crises we’ve suffered this year have been true disasters; they’ve been, at one level or another, manufactured. Here’s the formula:


1 case of a new, Chinese virus (of dubious origin)

+ massive, contradictory, confusing government involvement

+ feverish, misinformed rhetoric from the media

+ impending election

-  common sense

= maximum stress.

Enter catalyst in the form of the George Floyd arrest

+ the COVID lockdown stress

+ 2 generations of heavily propagandized (and bored, and unemployed) young people

+ the long-term planning of BLM and Antifa  (George Soros)

+ more media hysteria

+ widespread TDS and its attendant hyperbole

+ impending election

= destruction of law and order and even more increased stress.

We all know that some stress is a good thing, but the level we’re experiencing right now is not helpful at all -- other than to make us all aware of the danger our nation is in and how far from God we’ve come. I keep thinking this is winding down, but that may be more of a fantasy than a reality.

Example narrative: Last Thursday a friend came over to play pool with my husband. The next day he called to tell us that he’d had a COVID-19 test and that he was positive. Not good. So, this week we got tested and the next day we found out we were negative. Good. Right? Not really. Two days later we got a call from -- we think the health department, but the woman didn’t identify herself -- telling us that the test was only good for 48 hours, that we had to consider ourselves infected for 14 days, that we should sleep in separate rooms, wear masks when we’re in the same room, etc. If all that was so important then why didn’t our doctor’s office tell us any of that? And if the test was only good for two days, why bother? If the test often produces false positives, or some people test positive who are neither sick nor likely to pass it on then what in the world is the test for? It evidently means nothing statistically or personally.

This is just one of the many ramifications of the confusion that surrounds this disease. Yes/no. Up/down. Dare I say, ”black/white? You can drive people nuts by abruptly and frequently changing the imposed parameters, keeping them confused and unsure of what is real. You can intensify that effect by isolating people, lying to them, inducing fear, controlling the information they receive, making them feel dependent, and shaming those who try to think for themselves. Any of that sound familiar? It should.

So. Are we going to take this lying down? No. We’re Americans. We think and we fight and we can do this fighting in the privacy of our own thoughts by holding those thoughts accountable. How?

  1. By making sure the thoughts we entertain are our own. Are we saying, “Trump’s an a—hole,” because the evidence is plentiful and we can cite the sources? Or have we just heard that said so often that that’s how we see him?
  2. By consciously separating our emotions from our thinking. A thought has a rational basis -- emotional reactions do not. Thoughts fit together in non-contradictory ways -- emotions are all over the place. Fear is an emotion that, when nursed and allowed to boss us around, can be as deadly as any virus, especially this virus, which has an over 99% recovery rate.
  3. By talking to people. I read the other day that 67% of Americans are afraid to express their political opinions.  Of course we are -- people are getting fired, expelled, and ostracized for doing so.  But here’s where we have to suck it up and do so anyway -- calmly (see #2) and kindly, but forcefully. Our president does this, and yes, the left hates him for it, but we all know he tells the truth and truth is the only thing that will hold our minds together.  If we can’t tell the truth, we can’t avoid lying, and if we must continually lie, we can’t stay sane.
  4. Speaking of truth, we hold onto our thoughts by connecting them always to our Creator, who is the author of truth. As all this evil swirls around us, we must remember that His goodness will prevail; it always does. If we can’t figure out what the truth is, we can know that He knows and is in control.
  5. We can also counter the untruths by being more studious. We must learn history – our angry young people think slavery was an American invention and that only blacks were enslaved -- dangerous misunderstandings. But we can fix this by learning civics -- knowing our constitution; by learning science and knowing how off Darwinian theory really is; by learning what the Bible actually says, and not just what some false prophet claims it says.

A free society is a prosperous society, and it is also a responsible society. It takes its freedom seriously and recognizes from whence it comes and why it is so important. A free society is strong and determined to keep its freedom. That is what’s real and had America been operating on these ideas this year, my fantasy could have been reality.

Deana Chadwell  is an adjunct professor and department head at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. She teaches writing, logic, and literature.

Image: PublicDomain

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