I choose to stay home.
I choose to stay home not to protect myself nor to protect my parents or grandparents because, unfortunately they are no longer with us. I chose to stay home to protect your parents and your grandparents because I respect them and value their knowledge, wisdom and perspective and because I value their lives and their humanity. I choose to stay home to protect you and your children because COVID-19 is killing people of all ages.
I choose to stay home because I value and respect our courageous front line nurses, hospital workers and doctors who are selflessly risking their lives and putting their own loved ones at risk every day for each one of us. They are the heroes of today’s disaster just like those who rushed into harm’s way at the World Trade Center to save others on 9/11. I choose to stay home because I understand that in doing so I am respecting, honoring and supporting them with my actions not just my words.
I choose to stay at home because I respect and value our first responders who are also very much on the front lines of this crisis. Even in normal times the vast majority of calls responded to by our firefighters are medical emergencies. Our police officers are equally at risk as they too respond to medical emergencies but also work with our homeless and incarcerated neighbors doing their best to keep these extremely vulnerable groups as safe as possible.
I choose to stay at home because it is the single most important and effective act of personal responsibility I can take to save lives, prevent suffering and contribute to our overcoming this disease as quickly as possible.
I choose to stay home because I know that the purported choice between public safety and the economy is a false choice. The more widespread the pandemic the deeper the lasting damage to the economy will be. The long term impact of decimating our healthcare system alone is unimaginable.
I stay at home because I know that together we can rebuild our economy but we cannot bring back the millions who likely will die. Humans, and in my own personal experience, Americans are infinitely resourceful and innovative and I believe in us and our system and our ability to collectively support economic recovery once we get beyond this crisis together.
I choose to actively contribute to our economy while staying at home. I will order take-out and delivery from my local restaurants and tip generously. I will continue to shop for groceries and essential items at local stores and pharmacies and practice safety and social distancing when doing so. I will postpone shopping on-line for non-essential items so that I can patronize as many of our local businesses in person as soon as they are safely reopened. I will actively look for other ways to contribute to a rapid return to normalcy especially focusing on what I can do to support small businesses so that they can bring back their employees who will be most impacted. And I will contribute generously to nonprofits that are addressing the basic needs of our neighbors without income during this crisis.
I choose to stay at home despite knowing that I could probably go anywhere I want under the guise of grocery shopping or “essential services”. I choose to stay home because it is what I must do to truly live my values of respect, compassion, integrity and service.
Daniel W. Snare, is president of the American Leadership Forum Houston-Gulf Coast Chapter. This commentary appeared originally in The Houston Chronicle on March 27, 2020. Thanks to our reader, Bud Schrock, for bringing this to our attention.