Coloradans unleash wolves on their neighbors: A fitting metaphor for COVID
Some recent news from Colorado is a better metaphor for the current unpleasantness than any novelist or screenwriter could invent. On Election Day (or rather, in the late campaign, during the two months or so of voting), the people of Colorado voted, by the narrow margin of 50.84% to 49.16%, to reintroduce gray wolves in the areas of Colorado west of the continental divide. Without digging too deep into the details, the people for the measure, labeled Proposition 114, supported it for environmentalist and conservationist reasons. The opponents, especially those who lived to the west of the continental divide, opposed it because they feared that the wolves would harm their property and themselves. However, the measure carried largely because Denver and Boulder, despite overwhelming opposition in most rural counties, voted for it by a 2:1 margin. I'll let you guess on which side of the continental divide Denver and Boulder are.
Seeing that news, I thought: Isn't this the perfect metaphor for our present troubles? Hundreds of thousands of people, almost all of whom have never seen and will never see a wolf in their lives, vote to unleash the wolves on their fellow citizens who, from the perspective of those voters, live in faraway places of which they know nothing, so that they can feel a little better about themselves. Doesn't that, I thought, also sum up what's going on now with regard to COVID?
One of the striking things about the advocates of die ewig ausgangssperre (roughly "the eternal curfew"; I think it sounds more elegant in German) is the degree to which there are virtually no limits to the sacrifices that they are bravely prepared to have others make for the sake of their own psychological comfort. Like those voters in Colorado (though let's be realistic: if we were drawing a Venn diagram of people who think we should be locked down until a Federation starship rescues us in the 24th century and people who voted for Proposition 114, we would be drawing a circle), the COVID cowards are more than willing to inflict losses on others to gratify their strange psychological issues. It's really become a pattern for a certain type of progressive, when one also reflects upon all of those who were more than happy to see other people's property burned and destroyed because they hallucinated that burning auto parts stores and stealing shoes from Target were some kind of remedy for racism.
For all that the progressives have talked about empathy and worried about pathological narcissism these past four years, they don't seem to have absorbed the material all that well. I guess all of the books they bought on subjects like that are gathering dust along with the copies of How to Be an Anti-Racist they purchased and opened long enough to take the forty-seven pictures they had to sort through to find one suitable for posting on Instagram.
I'm sure that my progressive friends (though let's be real: I'm not sure that any of us really has any actual progressive friends left at this point) will reply that unleashing gray wolves on the innocent ranchers and animals of western Colorado is just an exercise in democracy and that that is what America is about. But I would put it to you that there's another word for when some D.J. in Denver decides that ranchers should just have to deal with the mess that the wolves make when they get at one of their cows because the idea of helping the poor wolves makes him feel better at night: tyranny.
These days, I often think of some of my better ancestors and relations. The first ancestor of mine to come to North America was the Rev. Peter Bulkley, who, when ordered to apologize for daring to wear a surplice or use the sign of the Cross, promptly set out for Massachusetts. Another relation of mine was Capt. John Parker, who commanded the militia at the Battle of Lexington. "Do not fire unless fired upon," he ordered his men, "but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here." I wonder what such men would have done if they were ordered to shut down their businesses and pause their lives for a year or more so some thirty-five year-old person in some far-off city didn't have to endure a 0.05% risk that he'd die if he happened to catch a particular virus. The answer should speak for itself: people will endure only so many wolves wandering and howling in the night before they decide to do something about it.