, cvd19Publisher's Note:
This post appears here courtesy of the John Locke Foundation
. The author of this post is Mitch Kokai
Michael Brendan Dougherty
of National Review Online ponders
the impact of the past year of pandemic.
- What have you seen in the year since COVID-19 entered our lives?
- The question has to be asked just that plainly, because our politics has a way of obscuring reality. We tend to think of politics as a realm of weightier matters somehow beyond us, one that only touches our personal, day-to-day concerns when they are translated into an established "subject" of political dispute. And this, in turn, can lead us to minimize our own humanity.
- We feel we are allowed to speak of the "mental-health effects" of lockdowns, closures, and the fear-driven lack of sociability on ourselves and our children. But when we do, we talk about ourselves like lab animals, as if we were neutral observers of our lives: "Socialization is an important component of mental health. COVID restrictions have led to severely curtailed socialization, and increased instances of depression."
- Put that way, 2020 doesn't sound much different from a passing weather system. But I will not remember the last year as a series of generalities. I'll remember all the things seen and unseen.
- In the latter category, it's been nearly a year since I've seen, in the flesh, any of my co-workers at National Review. It's been a year since I've seen my father, the man whom I made a rather public vow to see as much as possible in the years we had left together. That's the longest I've gone without seeing him in a decade. Until recently, the suburbs of Dublin and New York were bridged by cheap flights and standby tickets when we had a few days free of obligation. Mandatory quarantine periods have made that impossible. I'd wanted to visit my friends and my godmother in England. COVID made that impossible, too.