What is activism in this new politically biased fake news Coronavirus quarantine World? Why is it so important to express your 1st Amendment rights to free speech with your local Government? How can you make a difference by writing letters and engaging with local Facebook groups & local news media?
There is not a person in this world who cannot admit that the Coronavirus data we have been consuming sucks. Public policy has now been established on this horrendous data and fear has parallelized most economies. You can also thank our fake news media that just regurgitated the propaganda without ever doing any research of due diligence.
Most people think of activism as participating in a protest. However, I prefer is to be an activist by interpreting the news media and data. Information is power if properly communicated to the right individuals.
The news media has lost all credibility with most intelligent people these days. However, it still has enormous power to influence behavior & Government decisions no matter how misinformed or misguided. I am not sure if I am angrier at the news media or Government officials for their emotional decision making and fear-based propaganda.
Never in my lifetime have I seen this many people who are pissed off about National, State, County & Local Government policies surrounding Coronavirus. There are so many misguided Government policies to be disappointed in, that I don't even know where to start.
I have said this from the very beginning of this crisis that our public officials are policy based on emotion and insanely inaccurate expert projections. There is one thing that has remained constant in this information crisis and that is the public data we are receiving is horrendous. There are so many expert data error examples that I don't even know where to start on this rant either.
No one will admit that the projections health officials & medical tv experts were making in April and March were correct. Where are they now and why aren't we holding them accountable for their crap data? Most Government officials then proceeded to take these expert opinions and projections to feed the fear-mongering news media so they could scare everyone into staying home.
The USA effectively shutdown the economy with Government policy that was based on false projections. Sweden was the only country that might have been skeptical and actually thought rationally about the outcome of this decision and just asked everyone to change their behavior without staying home. They are in the same position as the USA now but their economy is in way better shape. Short term pain and long term gain.
Many local USA Government officials I have talked with said it was easy to shut down parks, beaches restaurants, and businesses with County health recommendations. However, the harder part is now convincing everyone to reopen.
This pandemic or crisis of information started out with stay-at-home orders. We all followed the rules of washing our hands, wearing masks in grocery stores, and pretty much shut down everything in our lives. We all thought that 15 days of following orders to stay at home until Easter was reasonable and most people seemed to comply. The purpose of this was to flatten the curve or prolong the time for more people to get the virus. Aside from NY our hospitals had plenty of capacity and we accomplished this goal.
Some would argue that staying at home was the only way to flatten the curve. However, some would argue that changes in behavior is what prevented the virus spread not staying home. Doing things like washing hands & social distancing is what flattened the curve. In my opinion, staying at home had little to do with flattening the curve because most of the Coronavirus cases were actually contracted in the home.
Here is an interesting cell phone data tracking study on how many people actually did follow the stay at home orders? The answer was 45-65% of the population actually stayed home. There was a large portion of the population who ignored the orders or were essential workers. The people who didn't stay home likely changed their behavior.
So what happened on Easter, April 12 and why was the "goal post" get moved further out to April 30? Why did Trump give authority to the State Governors to establish stay at home orders? Why are the decisions to open up so political? Why did State & County health officials have so much power to make decisions? Why wasn't more of this authority with local City Government officials?
There are so many questions of mismanagement that people like me are becoming activists and are asking practical questions of City and public officials that can't seem to answer. LA County is a great example of 11 million people that has 109 cities within the County. Each city experienced drastically different rates of infection, yet each city was subject to the same LA County draconian rules or recommendations.
In cities where population density is greater the virus case rates are greater. It's just common sense that is being overlooked and not every city deserved that same rules.
Not letting each city manage and make their own public policy was a huge mistake. Just look at neighboring Orange County which has drastically different politics than LA County. OC is much more conservative and they kept their beaches open and have far fewer restrictions than very liberal LA County. Some Orange County Beach cities even had to file a lawsuit against the State of California to retain their rights.
My gut says if something like this pandemic ever happens again, each city or municipality needs to make its own decisions, what is best for themselves. A one size fits all public policy is just plain ridiculous and stupid in large cities. If you don't believe this assumption then you should just stop reading now because you don't understand economics anyway.
Local Government policy is what influences most of your life and why becoming an activist can really influence the policy of resisting change to keep a normal life. Influencing change at the County, State, or Federal Government level is nearly impossible unless you have major power, money, or influence. Most all of the local government policies are likely to affect you as a homeowner, renter, or small business owner.
The term that I keep hearing from the media and Government is "what is the new normal" going to look like? I really can't stand this term because it implies that we need to remake our entire economy or business practices. What happened to Free America, giving people and businesses choices about how to mitigate their own risks? Has enough time passed to understand the virus and do we really have enough data to evaluate the risks of operating a normal society?
What if I want to send my child to a normal school setting or have dinner in a sit-down restaurant? Shouldn't I have the choice of whether to take this risk or not? Yes the virus is contagious but it's not that deadly if you look at the mortality rate of infection? Walking across the street is probably more dangerous.
Most people I speak with are not afraid of getting the virus and many people I know already have had the virus or now have the antibodies. Three people I know had the Coronavirus and also had flu shots. Just a coincidence or are you more susceptible to the virus if you had a flu shot? Flu shots are an entirely different controversial discussion which you can read here.
You have the choice to stay at home or send your child to an online school. No one is forcing you to do anything. Government officials have overreached their authority during this crisis and have no logical solutions on how and when to open up the economy or schools. It is entirely possible that by August and September that we are even talking about the virus in the news because the spread is so rare. Not a popular view but certainly possible with 3 months of warm weather.
The only way officials seem to be responding is by legal threats similar to what Tesla's CEO Elon Musk did threatening to pull out of California. Unfortunately, most small businesses don't have the power and the influence that Elon Musk has and so they become easier targets of control without massive financial resources.
One brave city official in Manhattan Beach Suzanne Hadley suggested the following:
"If I owned a business I would seriously consider just reopening and rolling the dice. Biz owners need to weigh their risk tolerance of legal action against them--as well as the costs of angering some customers and endearing themselves to others. Tough call. As an elected official I would stand with anyone who chose to reopen."
Class action lawsuits are probably going to be the only solution unfortunately for many things to open up and return to normal. City & public officials are way too risk-averse and seem to be taking a wait and see attitude in California instead of a leadership position.
Public shaming on social media like Facebook seems to be another solution to get lawmakers to take action on certain issues. City council meetings are virtual now on Zoom or GoToMeeting so its harder for people to discuss public issues in person. However, more people are actually listening to these public meetings now and it is easy to share a video or sound clip after a meeting to spread the word on an issue.
Public schools are going to be a hot topic of activism in the coming months as we get closer to fall. Making sure your school board is looking at all data sources and are not politically motivated in their decision making is going to be incredibly important. I have seen way too much confirmation bias when making decisions about data and we need to make sure there is a healthy PUBLIC discussion or debate on these issues.
Get active on social media, write letters and don't be afraid to speak your opinion. We are all in this together!
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