Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021 — COVID-19: Skepticism and Rhetoric

This is the eighth in a series on Whitewater’s local politics of 2021.

Why would a local politician publish statistics on a pandemic? Why would he write now and again with reports of the reach of the pandemic into his city?

He’d write this way out of concern for his community. If that’s not plain, then nothing is plain. It’s not fear of infection or ambition for control that prompted these numerous posts at the Whitewater Banner. Honest to goodness, it was no more – and no less – than a concern for others.

Those who have described a charitable impulse as a sinister one have been absurdly wrong.

I’ve been critical of what I’ve called ‘amateur epidemiology,’ but on practical, not moral grounds. It’s morally right to alert others of dangers (and COVID-19 has been a danger to many, across all the planet).

The contention that those who are concerned are instead afraid is false, if not projection. So many of us have carried on as before, but with precautions of masks, hand-washing, distancing, and now vaccination (while maintaining those prior precautions until the pandemic ends). Over this last year, there has not been a single day when I have been afraid for myself over the pandemic, yet I’ve not let a single morning or evening pass without asking for intercession on behalf of others, wherever they reside.

Instead, the practical problem with a local politician alerting others of this danger is that too many in and near Whitewater are in obstinate denial. To engage successfully on this topic with COVID-19 denialists or anti-maskers would require a long, hard slog.

About COVID-19 skepticism see On COVID-19 Skeptics and COVID Is Worse Than We Think.

A quick estimate, having written here continuously for fourteen years, is that a solid local discussion and explanation of risks would require about 100 lengthy posts in assertion or reply over a year. The time to research and present one’s position would be far greater than any written effort the city has seen. (A professional would need little additional research time, but a layperson would require a vast amount of preparatory reading.)

At best, this effort would, even if rhetorically powerful, likely end in no better than a stalemate. One might reinforce one’s position among the like-minded, but probably gain few converts to a more reasonable view.

For these practical reasons, I’ve not engaged on the topic.

Seeing humanitarian efforts characterized as tyranny should be a warning to Whitewater: this city is significantly less united – and less acculturated – than its leaders like to imagine or describe.

Anyone looking around will see economic hardship among some residents, and anyone listening or reading will see a significant number of false claims masquerading as profound truths.

The hard, important work of the city isn’t marketing to those outside, it’s healing and uplifting from within.

Tomorrow: Marketing.

Previously: Unofficial Spring Election ResultsThe Kinds of Conservatives in WhitewaterThe City’s Center-LeftThe City’s Few Progressives, The CampusThe Subcultural City, and The Common Council.

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3 years ago

[…] City’s Few Progressives, The Campus, The Subcultural City, The Common Council, COVID-19: Skepticism and Rhetoric, and […]

3 years ago

[…] City’s Few Progressives, The Campus, The Subcultural City, The Common Council, COVID-19: Skepticism and Rhetoric, Marketing, and […]

2 years ago

[…] Why have medicine, for example when any populist can spend a few moments on Facebook and diagnose any condition? (I’ve argued, for example, against amateur epidemiology, even when well-intentioned. See Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021 — COVID-19: Skepticism and Rhetoric.) […]

2 years ago

[…] I’ve been a critic of amateur epidemiology, where untrained people try to predict the course of the pandemic. See On COVID-19 Skeptics and COVID-19: Skepticism and Rhetoric  […]