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  • Writer's pictureKathy Coudle-King

Will the real patriots please stand up

There are people in your town, people who are on the front lines every day who deserve combat pay, but instead they get minimum wage.

They don’t fight fires or arrest the bad guys. They don’t guard the border or serve in the Guard.

They ring up your toilet paper.

They pour you a beer and serve you a burger.

When they get Covid, and many of them will, their employers may ask them not to tell anyone, especially if they’re asymptomatic.

When they get Covid, and many of them will, they will not get paid sick leave.

When they get Covid, and they are asked to quarantine, along with their partner or family members, everyone will have to decide if they can afford to stay home from work.

When they get Covid and are hospitalized, they won’t know how they will pay their medical bills.

When they die, they may not leave enough money for a proper funeral.

When they are dead there will be a “Help Wanted” sign placed in the window of the business next to the sign that says, “Please Wear a Mask”.

To all the people who say, “stay at home” requests are killing local business:

If you don’t wear a mask, YOU are killing local business.

If you continue to socialize with friends, YOU are killing local business.

If you don’t social distance, YOU are killing local business.

If you are an employer who does not require your employees AND your customers to wear a mask, YOU are risking the lives of your employees and your customers and their families, and yes – you are killing local business, too. If you test positive and experience mild symptoms or no symptoms, and you don't quarantine because you "feel fine," you are part of the problem not the solution. If you are the Governor in a state, or a Mayor of a city that has made the national news due to an explosion of Covid cases, and yet you still don't mandate masks you are killing local business as surely as if you advocated all shopping be done online.

“Hoax!” “Freedom!” “Nanee nanee boo boo! You can’t make me!”

(Photo credit Getty Images)

Over a quarter-million Americans are dead, and you’re waving the flag? How dare you call yourself a patriot when over a quarter-million Americans are dead, but you won’t wear a simple, cloth mask. You say you’d take up arms and lay down your life for your country, but you won’t even wear a mask to prevent the spread of a deadly virus? You're no patriot.

Photo Credit: Smithsonian Archives

During WW II, citizens rationed coffee, sugar, gasoline, meat, even hot water. They grew Victory Gardens. They made sacrifices for the greater good of the nation – of the world. The "Greatest Generation" -- their numbers were dwindling when this all began, and Covid has accelerated their deaths. (Over 40% of deaths in ND were in nursing homes). They sit in nursing homes right now, missing family, cut off from the sweet hugs of great-grandchildren. What would the Greatest Generation say to the people who say masks infringe on their personal freedom? Perhaps they'd say, "You have no idea what sacrifice means." In 2020, we can all be good citizens: Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Social distance. Repeat for as long as it takes because the world needs you to make these small sacrifices so we can move forward.

A vaccine is complicated; distribution of a vaccine is complicated; those three simple measures above are not complicated. They are a nuisance, but they are all we've got at this moment -- that and each other.

In the absence of true leadership, be a true patriot. Slow the spread of Covid-19 so we can move on in 2021. Please.

Writing challenge: There are many small sacrifices we make for the common good. Make a list of them. Which ones do you see others refusing to do that you do, that get you steamed? Are there ones you refuse to do? Why?

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