Rights? How about responsibilities?



By Caitlin Kelly

The pandemic has laid bare many behaviors we didn’t really see clearly before, or not as clearly.

If you grew up — as I did — in a nation with a clear commitment to the common good, Canada (yes, with terrible treatment for a long time, and still, of First Nations) — the American fetish for individual rights just seems weird.

It’s possible to live freely and still actively care about others’ health and welfare.

If you want to.

There’s actually quite a continuum from being controlled and monitored 24/7 by your government and selfish, lethal mayhem.

Welcome to mayhem.

Check this out.…images of protesting Americans determined to keep infecting themselves and others because the whole social distancing thing is such a drag.

They feel oppressed.

They’re angry that they’ve been told to stay at home, to wear a mask, to stay distant from others to protect them.

Because the number of Americans potentially walking around feeling just fine — still  shedding virus everywhere they go — could be as high as 50 percent


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield told NPR that an estimated 25 percent of coronavirus carriers experience no symptoms. Meanwhile, data out of large-scale testing for coronavirus in Iceland found 50 percent of those who tested positive with COVID-19 said they were asymptomatic, according to CNN.

“Information that we have pretty much confirmed now is that a significant number of individuals that are infected actually remain asymptomatic. That may be as many as 25 percent.” Redfield told NPR Tuesday.


The American Constitution — amended 27 times since it was first written — promises “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Sounds lovely.

It is lovely, except that 40,000 Americans have died  — so far — from COVID-19, a lethal virus whose ability to destroy the human body is quick, powerful and still little understood.

Twice the number in one week.

Read this chilling, detailed look at its whole-body effects from Science.

“Only” a tiny percentage, many scoff.

It’s all a hoax, right-wingers still insist — maybe because their cities don’t have refrigerated morgue trucks with corpses stacked three deep outside their hospitals, crematoria running 24/7.

New York City does.

How does this happen?

Because so many Americans really hate and mistrust any government intrusion into their lives and behaviors.

They resent being told what to do.

They think no one else’s life could possibly be more important than their going to the beach!

Sitting shoulder to shoulder at a bar!

Attending a church jammed with other selfish “Christians.”

Canadians, derided as boooooring, have a wholly different Constitution, one that instead promises “peace, order and good government.”

Pretty snoozy, right?

Not HAPPINESS!!!!!!???

Not LIBERTY!!!!!???

Right now, living in a country “led” by a lying grifter of a President, I’d be thrilled for some peace, order and good government.

How about you?

20 thoughts on “Rights? How about responsibilities?

  1. Oh, come on Caitlin, get real. Personal responsibility is for losers—you know, the poor and minorities.

    It’s interesting how conservatives who were once all about taking personal responsibility, balanced budgets and paying your own way, have wholeheartedly embraced the exact opposite. So it’s no wonder that their less affluent followers— who show up to protest with their MAGA hats and Confederate flags —have also embraced the idea of rights for me, responsibilities for my political and cultural opponents.

    Even conservative Christians who once embraced separation of church and state as a better way to protect their faith, are now loud advocates for churches tapping into the public treasury. Of course this public dole doesn’t come with any responsibility because having to obey the laws everyone else is subject to would be to their way of thinking religious discrimination.

  2. Jan Jasper

    I agree, the selfishness and stupidity is mind-boggling. Do they think the staggering tally of deaths, and the refrigerated cadaver trucks filling hospital parking lots, are all made up? But I’m not all that surprised. A very ugly type of American has crawled out of the woodwork since Trump won the White House. I think most of us knew there were a few people like this, but it turns out there are millions. When Trump’s approval rating drops, well over one-third of Americans still approve of him. I cannot understand how this is possible.

  3. This is why I chose to shut down my essential position for the next two weeks. When I saw Texas had a few protests going on (nothing in Houston yet, but haven’t watched the news), then I was like “yeah, time to take a staycation so I don’t get sick and spread it around.” I was getting a flood of people needing the services I was providing and some were barely taking precautions or clearly annoyed with them (meaning they probably did for the people in the waiting room, but as soon as they left said forget it and never wore PPE the rest of the day). All the box store parking lots have been packed in my area–the home improvement centers, grocery stores. Places are limited, but crowds sure aren’t. I’m getting anxious seeing too many people in one place now, especially without PPE of some type, even if it’s a half-measure because you can’t find the good stuff anywhere.

    Beau of the fifth column was talking about this on a YouTube video recently, rights and responsibilities. And there’s another video where he mentions if you watch the news, they concentrate on the cities because the numbers are higher seeming. Look at per capita, deaths per 10,000 or something and it’s smaller locations that’re getting the brunt of it. We just don’t see it.

    Stay safe, all, even if you have “invincible dummies” around every corner acting like nothing’s going to happen. They don’t seem to understand we’re all carrier monkeys (or potential ones) and not everybody is symptomatic. Read a good post by The Friendly Atheist earlier that if the outward signs were more dramatic, like boils and blood as with the bubonic plague, then would people be taking it more seriously?

    This virus gives “silent, but deadly” a whole ‘nother meaning…

  4. it is so incredibly insane and thoughtless. here in michigan, they protested in front of the state capitol where ‘that woman’ works as our governor.there were confederate flags, nazi signs, people handing out candy to kids without gloves, guns and very few masks. darwin will kick in at some point.

    1. Ironically — it’s actually (for them) deeply thoughtful. Their religion is “me first” and they worship at the shrine of 45 and his ilk. Science and data are meaningless to them.

      Anyone who joins theses demo’s needs a wristband that makes clear who they are and the decision they made — so no medical care for you! Seems completely fair to me.

  5. It’s not just the USA. I suspect it is happening everywhere. We have people in the UK who are being jailed for deliberately coughing in the face of police officers who are asking them to go back to their homes. I find their behaviour very hard to justify. I suppose some people want to watch the world burn, others must believe they are somehow invulnerable, or simply have no regard for their own or anyone else’s safety.

    There is a slightly separate problem of people feeling compelled to continue to commute to work even though they are not designated keyworkers. Public transport is a significant risk as social distancing on crowded trains is not feasible. Those who keep commuting put themselves and everyone they encounter at risk of virus transmission.
    Sometimes this is down to their employer being unreasonable in their expectations. Sometimes the nature of the job makes remote working impossible. Where contractors and sole traders are in a precarious financial situation I can understand the balancing act of putting yourself at risk and putting food on the table. Thankfully some support is now available in the UK for employees and the self-employed under furlough schemes. The UK government has been trying to encourage reasonable behaviour by providing financial support for employers, aiming to avoid mass redundancies and businesses going under. It isn’t perfect, nor is it universal, but it should help keep people off the trains, tube and buses if they don’t need to be there.

    The people who don’t need to go out, but view getting their own way as more important than public safety mystify me. Your social life is not essential, nor is your haircut or other cosmetic procedure. I have friends working in hospitals both in the UK and the USA who struggle to come to terms with this selfishness and stupidity. The lack of effective PPE remains an issue for keyworkers everywhere. I have a friend who is an ICU nurse in the USA. She and her colleagues are regularly contacting the powers that be to beg for support that should be built into the supply chain. They are already working themselves to the point of exhaustion on behalf of the public. Hospital staff should not have to police ignorant behaviour, nor should they have to tolerate unwarranted abuse from those who will likely be their next patients as a direct result of preventable, voluntary exposure to the virus.

    One of my elderly relatives is in an ICU, alone, with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and is not expected to recover. It has been a week. We can’t visit. We just have to cross our fingers and hope for the best. Two of my colleagues are currently sick at home and have been advised to self-quarantine rather than avoid spreading the virus to keyworkers, friends or family. A third colleague is now recovering, but required hospital treatment and still cannot walk far or fast. This is not a joke. This is not a drill. This is a pandemic of a potentially fatal disease. People need to grow up and take responsibility for their own actions. If you don’t have to go out, then for everyone’s sake, stay home.

  6. Lisa Rose

    This reinforces for me how lucky I am to live in New Zealand, where our whole country has been in lockdown. We call our lockdown rahui, a Maori (our indigenous people) word which means honouring the earth, protecting the people and nourishing the spirit – all for the greater good.

    Our lockdown means only essential business – supermarkets and pharmacies – are open. Our borders are closed and any returning travellers quarantine for 2 weeks. Schools, childcare and universities are all closed. Everyone is working from home. The government has made a 12 week wage subsidy available and has paid it out very quickly. We have been told we must stay local – 2km from our homes – in our ‘bubbles’ – with the people who were in our house the night the rahui began. For the most part, despite a bit of political manoeuvering and some grumbling and the obligatory idiots, people have abided by the Level 4 conditions imposed for nearly 5 weeks. Starting next week, we move to level 3 with partial school openings and more businesses open, but still with social distancing. The rule is if you CAN work and do schooling from home, you MUST.

    I feel very grateful that our government has been swift, decisive and fact-based in their approach.There is still a huge inequality for those lower-income families in terms of how their rahui has been. But we have less than 1500 cases, 12 deaths, and many more recovered people than active cases. We went hard and we went early, and it’s not over yet, but we can see the results. I’m happy to have my liberty curtailed.

    1. Thanks so much for these details…

      I visited North Island in 1998 and loved it…very eager to return (even with a 15 hr flight from the U.S.)

      That spirit is completely impossible here… the divisions are terrible.

  7. Steve Threndyle

    America also has a far, far greater history, er, pandemic, if you will, of political corruption, the abuse of campaign contributions, the pork-barrel of military contracts to say nothing of buying off judges. American politicians – of all stripes, it seems – are villified by a high percentage of the country simply for being politicians. In Canada, crime doesn’t pay because no one has any money to bribe politicians to begin with. (OK, you can make an exception for the mayor of Montreal…)

  8. Here at the epicenter where I live, we have 40% of the cases. We are most certainly a divided country as bodies are stacking up and decaying in trucks. What I have discovered about my neighbors is just how much they are not their brother’s keepers but rather a band of mostly rogue male adolescent adults (and by default) and their girlfriends thinking it’s cool to defy the mandate. They are endangering everyone who obeys it out of a concern for others. It is frustrating to be cursed out for reminding them it is a life and death issue.
    No one likes sheltering at home but if it saves lives, it should be maintained. I am fed up with the idea that freedom to so many means a license to do as you please regardless of how it harms others.

    1. It is shocking to me. Truly shocking. The level of brutal, snotty selfishness…?!

      I am glad (even though it’s REALLY boring) I live in a suburban NYC co-op (owned!) apt bldg mostly made up of seniors. We know they really need protection, they are our permanent neighbors and there are co-op rules, no matter how much we may dislike them.

      It’s a very American POV that “my” anything always matters more than yours. I really hate it.

  9. You and I live in coops with séniors and I am in the high risk group as are many of my neighbors. Our building has been hazmatted twice because the “invincibles” because infected, infected another building where family members live and never for one nanosecond considered their impact on others. It is infuriating.

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