Button Pushers

Grace Dow
7 min readApr 25, 2020

A friend reposted something on Facebook the other day, an anonymous screed essentially telling people to chill out with the online arguing and offering a call for humility and empathy in these trying times: “All of us need to calm down. Quit telling people who are financially struggling that they don’t care about human lives. Quit telling people who are truly at risk of dying from this virus that they are cowering in fear. Remember that until you’ve walked in someone else’s shoes, you should probably be careful in your judgements and subsequent harsh words.” It hit home, because only a week prior I had gotten into heated online arguments with someone I know personally within the #ReOpenNC camp, my main point being — over and over again — that human lives are more important than money. And yet, while this post and its arguments made a sort of sense to me, many things about it still felt off.

“If you are medically vulnerable, you do not need to be a part of what is about to happen,” it urged. “Stay home if you can. If you’re not, or if your financial vulnerability trumps your health concerns, you need to proceed in ways that continue to protect yourself, and the elderly and medically vulnerable around you.” (But how? If you’re both medically and financially vulnerable, what then?)

Homer Simpson finds himself between a rock and A Hard Place in The Simpsons Movie

Recently I’ve heard a lot of people say stuff like this, even those whose ideas and moral character I respect a great deal, talking about herd immunity (using Sweden’s approach as a chief example), how our current situation is unsustainable, and how states reopening at this point in time isn’t a bad thing because the sick or vulnerable can just continue staying home and being safe but the rest of us can all get back to some semblance of normal. This sentiment, though spoken with good intent and the desire on the part of these people to continue safe practices and high levels of personal responsibility, is an inherently flawed but deeply American way of thinking. “Everyone can just be responsible for themselves. Do what’s right for your personal situation. Most of us can go back to work, small businesses and nonessential retailers can reopen but only work or shop there if you feel comfortable doing so, our kids can go back to…

Grace Dow

Storyteller, adventurer, optimist.