11.19.2020 0

Kooky Covid Thanksgiving: ‘Myself and my two dogs’

How you react to the CDC recommendations and government restrictions may be all in your head. If you are hard-wired to be fearful, you’re more likely to accept and even embrace the lockdowns.

By Catherine Mortensen

With Thanksgiving just one week away and governors imposing new Covid restrictions and lockdowns, things are getting a little kooky!

My daughter works part-time at a research lab and recently got an email from the lab director saying it is “imperative” that all the students and staff follow state Covid guidelines over the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Thanksgiving gatherings should be within a household only.  Please understand – that does not mean your extended family.  Rather, this restriction refers to those individuals you live with on a daily basis.  (For me, that’s myself and my two dogs.  No one else.  So, lots of pumpkin pie for me!)    Please do not make plans that involve socializing with people who are not in your current household, i.e., parents, grandparents, etc.” 

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is also encouraging people to stay home by saying, “We ought to be able to be in touch with each other through Zoom.” 

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers is telling his state, “It’s not safe to go out, it’s not safe to have others over.” 

In a video message on Saturday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio went a step further and encouraged New Yorkers to turn in anyone violating social distancing mandates. He said “When you see a crowd, when you see a line that’s not distanced, when you see a supermarket that’s too crowded – anything – you can report it right away so we can get help there to fix the problem… All you’ve got to do is take the photo and put the location with it, and, bang, send a photo like this and we will make sure that enforcement comes right away.”

The Centers for Disease Control is recommending families stay home, and if they insist on getting together, here are some of the recommendations:

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.
  • If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
  • Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Wear a mask with two or more layers.
  • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.

If a lot of this sounds over-the-top to you, you may be a Republican.  A recent Gallup poll found a massive divide between how conservatives and liberals react to Covid restrictions. When asked if they were “ready to return to normal activities” only 5 percent of democrat men and 3 percent of democrat women said yes. In contrast, 64 percent of Republican men and 54 percent of Republican women were ready to get on with life as normal.

It seems liberals not only accept greater government restrictions on their freedoms, they embrace them. While conservatives bristle and outright ignore them.

North Carolina psychologist Tim Daughtry said fear is deeply wired into the human brain “as a way to help with our survival.” But he said human beings differ dramatically in their reaction to fear. “One personality type is more resilient and frightened by fewer things and when they are frightened, they get over it quickly. The other personality type is more easily frightened and more likely to be nervous about big events.” He said those people with greater emotional stability tend to be conservative in their political views and the more easily frightened individuals are more likely to be left leaning.

He said there is both political and personality differences in how we react to Covid. “The virus tends to fit the narrative of people who are left leaning, those people who say, ‘We need more government. Personal freedom can present a risk to other people.’”

In contrast, Daughtry said people who have lower fear levels and have a calmer approach will tend to be skeptical about what they are hearing and more likely to simply “go about their business.”

“What would ideally be an open scientific case, got political,” Daughtry explained.  He said this is because for the political Left “everything is focused on politics, all aspects of culture, including medicine and science.” In contrast, he said conservatives tend to think of politics in terms of elections and civics. “When we have voted, we have done our duty and go home,” he said. He said the Left’s world view explains their growing influence on cultural institutions and their willingness to bring about reform.

“It is unfortunate that politics has become such a big piece of this,” said Daughtry. “If we are truly dealing with a scientific issue, there shouldn’t be any dispute here. But the Left is so skilled at injecting politics into everything. They see everything through a political lens.”

How you react to the CDC recommendations and government restrictions may be all in your head. If you are hard-wired to be fearful, you’re more likely to accept and even embrace the lockdowns.

For the rest of us, we live by the motto, “prudence, not panic.” That means taking common sense steps to limit our exposure to the virus, but not staying holed-up in our basement spending the Thanksgiving holiday alone with our “two dogs.”

Catherine Mortensen is Vice President of Communications at Americans for Limited Government.

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