Conspiracy Theorists

I have some people on my Facebook newsfeed that believe we are constantly being lied to, about literally everything. Some call them “Conspiracy Theorists” I call them “uneducated rednecks,” because that’s the lot I see most frequently. Yesterday there were two people that made me consider deleting my Facebook account. One suggested that while they believe the Coronavirus is real, they don’t see it, know anyone who is sick, and therefore has deduced that we are being lied to. We are “Sheeple”. Then the post ended with a plea to not be judged by their beliefs, like they won’t judge others for theirs. There is so much wrong with that I don’t know where to start. You will be judged. I will judge you. So will so many others, because when you share stuff like this you put lives in danger.

Listen to me. As it sits, we have more cases of Covid-19 in a four county clump here in Georgia, than the entire state of Missouri. I love you Missouri, but y’all some absolute nutcases. Out fishing in lakes, boating, basking in the sun like it’s vacation time. You know why you don’t know anyone who is sick? Because you don’t leave a thirty-mile radius of your house. You are only friends with people who look and live like you. White people. Rednecks. Other conspiracy theorists. Middle-class. People who own a damn boat. You know what kind of people don’t own boats? The kind that are dying from Covid-19.

Look it, I don’t normally sit back and idly let people spew hatred and misinformation. Yet that’s just what I did yesterday. I stopped myself from commenting on any of the posts. Especially the one that I’m about to share, because what it boiled down to was a mean-spirited attempt to put a value on human lives depending on where they work, and how much they are paid, and whether or not the mass collective agrees with the poster, in order to what? Feel better about oneself? Put down a whole group of people (in this case nurses who are actually working the frontlines of this global pandemic right now). I’ll share what the post said now, but know that I’m paraphrasing:

“Is anyone else really mad that they are paying nurses like double their salary to go to work, and giving them hotel rooms, and discounts like on Starbucks and Crocs, but the military only makes like $2,000 a month while they are overseas being shot at? I mean, are there even really videos of inside hospitals? Do we even know how it really is?”

Ummm. Yes. Yes there are videos. And a cursory search would find you more videos, says my husband, than you can stomach. Also military men and woman are compensated when they go overseas. It’s called Hazard pay. And it’s on top of their salaries, and their housing benefits, free food, and their healthcare. On top of other things, like signing bonuses, discounts on gear, tax-free money, and tax-free duty shops, discounts at many places around the country (including fucking Starbucks), etc. And if that’s what you are really mad about (I too think soldiers deserve more money in war-time and much better mental healthcare upon returning) than vote for people who will make that happen. But, in this instance it’s comparing apples to oranges. It’s misdirected anger. And I suspect it’s a lot more.

What that poster tried to do was belittle a whole group of women and men, but why? Well, science tells us fear, and a hint of jealousy. But I’ve been there before, so angry and misinformed that I accidentally show my lack of critical thinking also, so at first I thought to give the poster grace. But to berate people who are actually out there saving lives, makes zero fucking sense to me. And the more I though on it, the more troubled I became. This person isn’t alone in their backward, asinine way of thinking.

We are a country that cannot think outside ourselves. We cannot think past the very tippy, tip of our noses. We can’t think past what we can see, and we don’t see much. We don’t care to. It’s better to stay in our safe, little 30-mile radius and use essential oils to thwart all that ills us. Stalking behind computer screens, spinning up conspiracies to suit our agenda, and hocking actual lies and utter nonsense.

Also, some people just like drama and “likes.” Lest we not forget that. But when we look at the bigger picture we see how lop-sided this “argument” (if you want to call it that) is. Soldiers know what they are signing up for when they sign up. They know the perils of war, nurses on the other hand, don’t intend to get themselves into a war with death everyday, but it has happened this is where some find themselves today. They are walking into hospitals without the correct equipment to do their jobs. They, unlike the military, are not being funded by the government (and God forbid they come from a state our president doesn’t like). They are risking their own lives everyday just like the men and women on the battlefield do, and yes they should be compensated, like the military. Fortunately many of them work for private-sector so they can be compensated much better than government employees, but again, that’s a choice someone makes. The military even gets free college! And if you ask me, I’m all for nurses and other essential health care workers having their student loans wiped free after this is said and done. Or free college for people who want to go into the healthcare industry, I mean the people who want to be doctors, nurses, surgeons, etc, not the people who call themselves “Healthcare workers” but shuffle papers for the doctors and nurses all day. Those that are actually saving lives everyday. Those are the ones in our world that should be commended. Because not all heroes wear camo, nowadays our heroes are wearing lab coats.

This poster also said we were being lied to. That everything we read has to be fact-checked, meanwhile this poster shares sources that are obviously inaccurate and the poster shared a screenshot of the “nursing benefits” with no actual source. Hmm. Perhaps the poster is just bummed that they aren’t a nurse? Or that nurses are getting more attention now? Or they aren’t able to get free Starbucks? If I send them a Starbucks gift card will they feel better? Stop being cold-hearted? Think a little more?

Because there are actually people dying out there. And I’m sure their loved ones don’t want to read about how you think the people taking care of their dying father is “paid too much.” Meanwhile, what does it have to do with you? And why share something like that, unless you are jealous of the attention nurses are getting, sad that you aren’t someone who can actually save lives, or just a mean person who doesn’t think before you hit “share”? I mean, are there any other reasons to say things like that?

It seems to me to be a mixture of so many things. It’s basic human nature, sure. It’s fear. It’s that feeling of not being in control and needing to lash out at others. You know, bring them down to where you are. Then there is the mental health issue.

If you are told you can’t leave your house except for essential reasons and your mind immediately goes to the idea that our government is trying to control what we do, then you suffer from a mental illness. Probably a host of them. If you hear that nurses on the frontlines of this pandemic, who are using the same medical masks day in and day out, who lack the equipment to do their job properly, who are putting their lives on the line everyday to help, are making more money than you, or getting to sleep a straight six hours in a hotel room and take a shower without possibly infecting their families, and that pisses you off, there is some mental illness there. And a hateful heart. I hope that God can speak to your heart to soften it in some way. Because I’d hate for you, or someone you love, to need the attention of a nurse after you’ve made comments like that. You should absolutely be ashamed of yourself. But we aren’t, are we? We aren’t ashamed of what we say on social media. It’s our right. Our God-given right to share our hate-filled rhetoric with all those who will read it and hopefully agree with it, and hopefully “like” it so we can get the attention we so desperately seek.

Yes, people are this crazy, y’all. And I’m obviously very tired of it. I’m tired of reading half-cocked conspiracy theories that trickle down from our actual president. Then those same people say things like, “sheeple” and “lift the veil” meanwhile they are just touting what they’ve heard on Fox and Friends. What the what?!

People are crazy and don’t understand that hospitals that are empty right now are a GREAT sign. That’s what we were hoping for. We are hoping that you don’t know anyone who is sick, that social distancing worked. That we flattened the curve. That nurses with no work to do is awesome. Nurses with no work to do, and who are going to places where there is more work than can be handled should be paid more. They are going into actual battle zones, willing to risk their lives to help others. Meanwhile, you and I are sitting on Facebook bitching about each other. Way to go, us. How great are we? At least I’m supporting those helping. Trying to make sense of the senseless. Donating money. Asking how to help. Sharing the stories coming from healthcare professionals working the frontlines. What the actual hell are you doing?

M.

#UsingHashtagsDoesntMakeItFactual #HowManyHashtagsDoesOnePersonNeed #ThisWontMakeYouFamousOrABetterPerson #Unfriend

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