I’ve seen this sign on display in several German Village windows, and I appreciate the message. Our community, our state, our country, and the entire world have been through a lot over the past two months, and in Columbus, at least, we’ve managed to hang together. Sure, there have been some nuts doing nutty things, but for the most part people have been cooperative, understanding, and respectful of the instructions of our public health officials and elected representatives.
It seems to me that the sign’s sentiment is especially important now, as we move from the shutdown mode to moving down the cautious road back to normalcy. I feel like there is more of a chance of social splintering now than at any prior time during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials have made some difficult judgment calls — and, consistent with the notion that states serve as “laboratories of democracy,” different states have taken different approaches — and now people are going to make their personal decisions accordingly. Some people think we’re moving too fast, some think we’re moving too slow. It’s a perfect situation for second-guessing and playing the blame game, both as to elected officials and ordinary folks who might decide whether to go out to dinner — or not.
There’s no historical parallel for what has happened here. The U.S. has never shut down its economy in response to a global pandemic, required people to stay home for weeks, and then addressed when and how to lift such sweeping restrictions. There’s no road map. And we know one thing that we’ve learned about models and predictions during our crash course in coronavirus issues — many of the models and predictions have turned out to be wrong. No one has a crystal ball.
I’m hoping that Columbus will, in fact, see it through. If people show some restraint and understanding and hold their criticism, I think we will.