It's time for the American people to be inoculated against fear

The hugely successful efforts to get people to comply with the government mandates surrounding COVID-19 have been remarkable.  In less than a year, most people in this country have agreed to wear masks, stay at home, lose their jobs, close churches and schools, and live miserable lives based on a combination of mandates and government recommendations.  Maybe it was necessary, and maybe it was not.  We will be years learning that answer.  We have learned one thing already: with enough fear, people can be made to do almost anything.

The fear is widespread, but I am bothered personally by the fear I see in those who believe in God.  He is our refuge from fear, and our places that we go to be in His care have been closed.  That may be purposeful.

I have chosen not to be afraid.  I may or may not get the virus.  I may or may not get sick.  I may or may not die.  I take reasonable precautions as is necessary, but I do not live in fear.  Life is full of dangers ready to pounce upon us and destroy our lives, but we should not spend lives in fear because of them.  Awareness, yes; fear, no.

I realize I am not typical.  Almost everyone around me is absorbed in fear.

Fear paralyzes.  It causes irrational responses to our circumstances.  Fearful people give up control to those with power to protect them.  Fear lubricates the machines of control.

There are two parts to the COVID fear messaging: we should be afraid we will get it, and we should be afraid that we may give it to someone else without knowing.  It will be our fault if these things happen.

There is a third fear, related to social interactions.  We may not have enough fear for those who want us to be afraid.  For this lack of fear, we may be attacked.  We go along to maintain civility.  I know I am wasting time with many of these silly rules, but I have groceries and ammo to buy, so I follow the rules to keep the peace and my friends in business.

While the masks are the visible marks of fear, there are others.  We stand six feet apart.  There are 14-day quarantines.  We accept not going to churches, schools, concerts, and sports.  In less than a year, our lives have been defined by this fear.  The government says we must be afraid.  Some leaders appear to enjoy this power.

Now add the incoherent games with numbers.  Those with power pick and choose from varying methods for calculating cases and deaths to achieve a maximum fear effect instead of to inform.  People naturally fear uncertainty.  One of the few certain things in this entire pandemic is the uncertainty we have about the information we are fed.

However, good news is emerging.  The vaccine is becoming widely available, and the ones in charge know that not only does it inoculate against the virus, but it also inoculates people against their fear.  It will become increasingly difficult to maintain the fear of COVID as more people get the vaccine.

People will begin to realize that their chances of getting the disease and passing it on will be almost zero.  It will become impossible to maintain the fear in people who know they have nothing to fear.  It will be liberating.

We are quickly approaching an inflection point that will achieve herd immunity to COVID fear.  Fear takes too much energy.  Those with the power to do so will continue their efforts to instill fear, but they will fall flat.  People will decide they have lives to which they need to return.

By the time that happens, there will be new fears to promote.  How about that climate?  Or the economy?  Or violence in the streets (again)?  You should be afraid, very afraid.  But we are the government, and we are here to help!  Here is what you can do to be safe...

Image: Stress by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash.

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