USA: America’s bipolar approaches to COVID—with one side seeking totalitarianism, health paranoia, and division, and the other side seeking personal liberty—remind us that the lessons of history are not easily learned. If we are to return to a normal America, one that encourages people to be mentally resilient when it comes to their physical health and is predicated upon health autonomy, we have very little time to stop the modern-day American despots.
The 20th century was defined, in significant part, by despotic leaders implementing propaganda campaigns to vilify certain groups of people deemed dirty or diseased. The despots didn’t accomplish these campaigns at once but, instead, did so slowly, by conditioning one group of people to believe their ills were caused by another group of people, while conditioning that second group of people to accept increasing levels of human rights violations. Leaders and governments, often working with the healthcare community, carried out campaigns to divide nations and eradicate those deemed “unclean” for the country’s “welfare” and the “future good.”
Today, the same divisive, unrelenting propaganda tactics that past fascists and tyrants used are producing a divided world and prompting actions by some that border on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). What was once considered hypochondriac behavior—masking, social distancing, and repeated hand washing—has become normalized. It identifies the good citizen, even in the face of a waning, weakened virus, heavily mutated from its original strain and far less deadly.
Many people have not only accepted the new hypochondria protocols, but they have also embraced them as talismanic actions that ward off death. Society, the government, the medical community, and the media have cultivated these actions in the general population. The result? Normalizing the fear of being close to another person because the latter carry germs and disease.
These OCD thought processes have been driving the response to the COVID pandemic since the first few months of 2020 and have controlled our lives for nearly two years now. Fear, emanating from a faulty risk meter, has created a bondage characterized by compulsive behaviors and irrational thought processes, all propelled and maintained by an endless cycle of variants. Many, in exchange for a false sense of safety garnered from following every edict and guideline, have willingly abandoned their freedoms for this promised “salvation” from COVID.
By Jennifer Jones