I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m already tired of the false narrative of Americans somehow being the only people in the world who refuse to get behind protective measures against Covid-19. It has no truth to it whatsoever and serves only as a cheap attack against Americans.
The fiction is pushed hard, though, with memes and e-mails flying about how Germans are laughing at us or how one French person is confused about why Americans are ignoring health guidelines.
It’s true that most countries are doing a much better job than the US in terms of dealing with the disease… but that’s not because the US is somehow alone in its failure, and it’s a reflection of the leadership. Other countries with bad policy – Brazil, Sweden, Mexico, Soviet Uni- sorry, Russia, and other countries have responded pitifully to the crisis as well.
But the mockery, often reposted or cc’ed by Americans who are still complaining about the Russian attempts to stir up division prior to the 2016 election, isn’t usually directed at the leadershp via the standard ethnocentric bias. It’s directed at the American people, specifically the people on “the other side”.
It’s a terribly inaccurate position to take when there are plentiful examples of people from all political lanes refusing to wear masks or ignoring social distancing rules (various rallies and protests can provide pictures.) Simply complaining about it isn’t going to do much good. Instead, let’s provide some examples that everyone can use to push back against the ignorance, division, and anti-Americanism, and put the onus back where it belongs: on the ignorant from anywhere in the world who revel in their selfishness during a pandemic.
First, a simple story that has people upset in Australia, and the most innocuous of the bunch. Eve Black, a Melbourne native, decided to break a lockdown. She challenged the policeman who was asking for information, and when she determined she wasn’t being charged she drove off.
I’m not sure how Australian law works, but that’s a secondary matter. Taking this out of America makes clear that what is at stake isn’t enumerated rights: it’s people wanting to do whatever they hell they choose in blatant disregard for the safety of their neighbors.
The UK hasn’t had to worry too much about it because they haven’t required masks except for those riding public transit. Their numbers had dropped so low due to their aggressive lockdown that they felt they’d kicked the virus to the curb. While other nations continued to drop, the UK evened out… and now has started to slowly climb. As a result, they’ve issued a nationwide mask requirement. While there was a complaint and national attention when the Southern supermarket chain Publix announced it would not require masks (a decision which was quickly reversed) the pushback in England is coming from many of their most popular retail markets.
How about the Swiss? They’re not who most people would consider a particularly aggressive nation, and with the exception of their gun cultute, they are often celebrated for having a very informed and cosmopolitan populace. Many of them are adamant about not wearing masks, even when they’re crossing over to into other nations to shop… despite masks being compulsory in Germany.
All of these are in countries with a predominant Caucasian population. Perhaps it’s just a “white” thing? Nope. Let’s look at an article from the UK Guardian, where they compiled reports from South Korean police. South Korea, as a country, has had one of the best covid-19 responses in the world. But they still have their jerks.
From the article: Police said they had recorded 840 fights in June, many of them involving bus drivers who remonstrated with passengers who refused to mask-up, according to the Yonhap news agency.
The worst of the stories: a French bus driver, Philippe Monguillot, was tasked by the local government with enforcing mask ordinances for passengers on his bus. When he asked passengers to do so, and reminded them that it was the law, he was attacked not by one but by a group of the riders. The 59 year old man was beaten severely and left brain dead; his family took him off life support on July 10.
So, no. It’s not just us. There are jerks throughout the world, of all genders and ages and political affiliation. The focus should be on convincing them to care about their fellow humans, because that’s the only thing that’s going to save lives.