Hummel: What can we do? Don't make it worse

Lynn Hummel column mug
Lynn Hummel

It is hard on June 1, 2020, not to be discouraged by the news in the paper and on TV.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not slowing down and there was rioting over racial injustice in cities across the country.

The question for well meaning citizens is what can we do? The beginning of the answer to that question is advice: Don’t make it worse.

In politics, on health questions, on economic questions, questions of justice and questions of racism in this country, it is important to remember that there are more good people than bad people. Acknowledging that there are bad people everywhere, people who seem inclined by their words and actions to take difficult issues and make them worse.

There are more good Republicans than bad Republicans. There are more good Democrats than bad Democrats. There are more good peace officers than bad cops. There are more good journalists than bad reporters.


The press is not the enemy of the people. There are more good people on the issue of COVID-19 containment than bad people and more good people on the issue of returning the economy back to "normal" than bad people.

When it comes to racial injustice in this country, the place to begin is to admit that it exists. How can we deny it? Good, well-meaning citizens of all colors have peacefully protested. Freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

But shooting tear gas into their faces creates fear and chaos. Driving a semi into a crowd of peaceful protesters incites riots. Bringing weapons to a protest is certain to make a difficult situation worse. Good citizens and good officers talk to the assembled and listen to their views so they can separate the outlaws, the terrorists from the law-abiding. Public officials who speak up for peace and restraint will encourage peace and restraint. Blessed are the peace makers. Yes, there are arsonists, looters, and thieves out there. Catch them and put them in jail. But public bluster, threatening domination, vicious dogs, and overpowering force only feed the flames.

And how can we help control the pandemic and still re-open our businesses and restore the economy? We start by trying to follow the well-established rules. If we are required to wear face masks in designated places, we should wear them. A man who would rather ridicule, fight or shoot than wear a mask has a masculinity hang up. Rules would suggest we should not sit shoulder to shoulder in crowded churches are not rules against the practice of religion, they are rules about loving your neighbor. Rules about crowds in restaurants and bars are about looking out for one another. Rules about visitation and hospitals and nursing homes are for the protection of the sick and elderly. Didn’t we say when all this started that “we’re all in this together.”

As for re-opening our businesses, let us do so soon as we safely can. We need to get reestablished and get workers on the payroll again. But let us use good judgment and caution.

Disease is still among us and still killing people.

This is a great country and together we will deal with racial injustice and together we will conquer COVID-19, but we can’t do these things by insisting on doing everything our own way, but by being open to compromise, caring about one another, and willing to stop blundering and making things worse.

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