Politicitis - Another Pandemic Threat
As of this writing, John Hopkins has confirmed 107,725 cases of Coronavirus with 3,656 deaths and 60,660 recoveries. With the mortality rate estimated between 2-3% and projected worldwide cases ranging from 500,000 to 4.4 million, we're talking about the possibility of well over 1 million deaths. That is serious by any reckoning.
I have concerns about Coronavirus, but I'm also concerned about another pandemic that I believe has infected far more people - "Politicitis." Politicitis is the acute proclivity to see all of life through the lens of political party and power. The symptoms are severe and immediately apparent. Those with the infection are quick to attribute a political perspective to whatever subject is at hand. Sports, food, sex, business... politics, politics, politics, and politics. Coronavirus? You guessed it - more politics.
For the record, I am comfortable with the principle that governments have a role in matters of public health. The threat of a global pandemic is legitimately within their domain and I am not suggesting otherwise. However, I sense that people infected with Politcitis dysfunctionally operate beyond this principled perspective. Namely, they reflexively generate recriminations of their political rivals on the basis of whatever subject matter triggers them.
Political critique is an inherent dynamic of government enterprise. And I am not necessarily taking the position that the Trump administration is above reproach in its Coronavirus approach. My concern here isn't in the exercise of critique itself. Rather, it is about the spirit from which that critique arises. For those with Poiticitis, the goal is not primarily about good policy, it is about power. It is about party. It is about displaced personal animosity and angst. It is using almost any subject-matter as an opportunity to grind a political ax.
Do you have Politicitis? Think about the Coronavirus pandemic and ask yourself these questions:
Were you secretly happy that a global/national crisis might bring an opportunity to critique and undermine your political rivals?
Are you encouraged that economic stress and destruction of wealth may work for your party's political advantage?
Did you immediately wonder how this crisis might impact your party's chances in the upcoming General Election?
Have you defaulted to ingesting political/editorial commentary from pundits of your choice instead of data-based analysis?
Do you care more about political outcomes than those suffering from the crisis?
Is your initial instinct in a crisis to look for government to engineer a solution?
If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, you may have Politicitis. If you are suffering from Politicitis, here are some treatment options:
Grab a coffee with someone of a different political persuasion. Practice having a civil conversation and listen to a different perspective.
Read articles that are focused on solutions without making political judgments or predictions.
Find a way to personally engage in the crisis by volunteering or giving to a non-government aid organization.
Go for a long walk and get some sunlight or feel the rain against your face.
I hope that the Coronavirus pandemic does not create suffering at the levels some are predicting. But I also hope that the Politicitis pandemic does not create strife that poisons every area of life. Life is too precious and short to live with that disease of the mind and spirit.