The Saratoga Sun -

Freedom to have a plan

 

April 29, 2020



Freedom is a word that Americans take to heart. I was brought up to believe it was an essential right to being a U.S. citizen by my father and worth fighting for.

I remember him telling me that freedom sometimes came with a price. In times of war, it could mean putting yourself in danger.

In times of political crisis, it can mean saying something not safe, even though it is true. Going to jail could be a reality in some countries for speaking your opinion.

The United States isn’t like that, but I know of places that are. I lived in communist China at one time and I certainly was aware that I had to be careful of my political comments to certain folk.

A Scary Example

I got along with my boss at the import company he owned very well. Deane was a super smart man who had been educated at NYU’s Stern College for business. He was one of 20 selected students (he represented Shanghai) to go to the U.S. in an exchange program way before Chinese students were allowed to study overseas. Deane was one of two that returned.

He was the first person to establish and run Coca-Cola in China. His list of companies that he was director of, is impressive. He lived in Sydney, Manilla, Shenzen and Shanghai. A man of the world, for sure, but he was also a member of the communist party.

Deane was proud to be Chinese and appreciated that I was just as proud to be American, even though our type of governments were different. He told me once, after I asked him about a group of farmers protesting about land seized, China was not in a positon to tolerate dissent.

He told me the Chinese communist party and its leaders knew what was good for all the people and those who questioned the party’s intentions were out to do harm to the country, on purpose or inadvertently.

During that conversation, I remember thinking to myself how lucky I was to have been raised in the United States.

In January, China got some deserved bad press from the world about jailing a young doctor who was warning the country about a dangerous virus starting to spread in Wuhan. The Chinese government found his words subversive and put him under custody. A month later he was proven correct but, unfortunately for him, he died of COVID-19 a week after being released.

China did the same thing when Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) broke out in 2003. I remember it well. Ambulances were shown going around the city of Beijing on the news (this was shown to me in Taiwan) and the government said it was nothing. This virus crushed economies and killed people. Not like COVID-19, though.

After witnessing China try to minimize the effects of a dangerous virus in two instances with fatal results for many, I want to know as many facts about the pandemic our country is in as I can.

This Country Can

Do Better

If we don’t have the testing to open the country, then say we don’t have the testing available. Then we can figure a way to work with the tests that we do have available. It is very hard to watch our government be like China sometimes when they say one thing and doctors and scientists say another.

It is also hard to watch local businesses, where I know the owners, get crushed because we have to social distance. This can’t go on.

I find most governors are responsible in how they are approaching safety and trying to get the country back on its feet.

I don’t want to come off bashing our government or president when these times are so uncertain, but what has come across with places that are winning this battle is testing. Testing for the virus and testing for the antibody.

That just isn’t happening on the scale that needs to happen to open the towns in our country. As someone who was sick and has no idea if he had COVID-19 or not, this just isn’t acceptable. I want to know. I believe there are other s who have been sick want to know too.

In going through a 27 day quarantine, I discovered freedom is not missed until it is taken away from you. You can talk to people on the phone all you want but, when it comes to day-to-day personal contact disappearing, you don’t realize how much you miss it until it is gone. I hated it at the end and I understand why people are protesting to get out of lockdowns.

There is A Reason

Testing is Key

Testing to make sure people aren’t carrying the virus is the way to open again, otherwise many places aren’t going to be able to open.

That is what we are going to be sentencing our vulnerable population to a life of, lockdown. No way can nursing homes open up, or even retirement communities, as long we can’t make sure the populations inside are not at risk by a delivery guy or even a relative wanting to see a loved one.

I only got to see my stepfather once since my mother passed away March 6 because he is in a nursing home and he is high risk. Of course, I want everyone tested before they walk through those doors of his facility, including me.

Start With Small Town, U.S.A.

In my opinion, for what it is worth, small town America should be the first and easiest to do testing.

Medicine Bow has 300 people, more or less, living in it. Get it done there in a day or two.

Bam.

We know how safe that town is. Businesses open and go to the next town. Saratoga has 2,000 people. Get it done, we know how safe the town is and we start opening. Wyoming could be easy since so many of its counties have only a few towns in each of them. Carbon County has the most with 10.

Once towns are cleared, then a county could be. A state like Wyoming could be assessed in very little time, all things considered. This way, we put our rural health care system at less risk as the medical community gives a clean bill of health to places tested.

If the U.S.A. doesn’t have enough tests for the whole country, start with states that can be done in their entirety and go from there. Wyoming is a perfect candidate to start with.

I realize I am talking vested interest here as I say go to small town U.S.A. to get testing done first, but it just makes sense to me.

I hate that our government feels like China sometimes with its messages of how the country is okay and all is well, when clearly it is not. Georgia is opening its businesses when several small cities there are still hot spots. That is crazy to me.

My aunt just told me in Alabama, the town she lives in has a lot of chicken farms around it. She said these facilities are turning into hot spots in her area. She is just going to stay inside until it gets under control. Alabama and Georgia share a large border which makes me all the more nervous for her safety.

I realize my solution might sound simplistic and it is going to make residents of places like Los Angeles and New York City say it is unfair. There is nothing fair about this virus that kills people and is destroying businesses. Those cities could go neighborhood by neighborhood, if I was to apply the same model, but testing is the key.

If we don’t have enough tests right now, then use what we have effectively to open up less populated regions. It doesn’t mean ignoring hot spot cities needs, but until testing is available everywhere, a plan of some sort has to be put in place.

A Plan Is Better Than

No Plan

I am not saying I have all contingencies figured out, but at least it is a plan with an end game in mind.

Trust me, I am grateful to live in a country where I have the freedom where I can voice my thoughts, even if my idea has flaws.

It beats the alternative.

 

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