We live in the age of individualism.
We live in the age of favouring freedom of action for individuals over the collective whole of society.
We, as a society, only care about others if it doesn’t inconvenience us. The minute we think we are going to be inconvenienced, we think only of ourselves.
Look at the differences between El Paso and San Elizario and how each is living with the Stay Home, Work Safe ordinance. One is doing what needs to be done while the other, not so much.
I received a call today from someone telling me that they were able to shop at stores that do not sell food, at stores that are not essential in our present environment.
“The Titlemax by my house is open,” he told me. “Even the jewellery story over by the mailbox is open.”
Sadly, he was right.
I drove along Zaragoza and was shocked that Aarons Rentals was open. That there were employees there, the doors open and the lights on. Who is sitting around this afternoon thinking I should get a loan against my car and go rent-to-own a new TV and sofa.
Driving by a couple of parks, I could not believe that people were playing a game of football. A quick count showed there were thirteen people huddled together in the game.
Driving past two Walmart stores, the parking lots were as full as they would be on any other Wednesday. Why?
Walking in one, I quickly discovered that one whole side of the store was virtually empty. There was no one looking for new dinnerware, car parts or toys. Everyone was hunting for food among the mostly empty aisles.
I even ran into a group from Chaparral, New Mexico who said they were looking for ground beef.
I asked them if they were concerned that there was a lack of social distancing within both the store and their group.
“Why?” Abigale asked. “I think we should worry more about them chemtrails than this fake virus.”
Her husband then asked me how much I am paid to write fake news.
Yesterday, after the order was announced and before it went into effect, a reader was driving up Transmountain. She was in awe by the people parked on both sides of the roads wondering around the poppies—one cluster of people after another. Social distancing was not a concern.
“The virus isn’t gonna wait till the ordinance goes into effect to get you,” she said. “It’s not like the five-second rule when you drop food. Germs don’t care.”
Going home, I decided to take that meandering drive though San Elizario to see how we are coping with staying at home.
As I drove, I noticed, for the first time, that shops are closed. Businesses are simply not open. Anything that does not sell goods considered to be essential is closed.
I stopped and walked through the grocery store. While there, I bought some fresh onions, garlic and cheese. I couldn’t find these at Walmart. Yet, there it was because we are not panic shopping and trying to buy more food than we can eat.
Are some business owners so selfish that they will find ways to game the system and stay open? Yes. Do we need to go out and buy a new outfit, pair of shoes, or rent a sofa during a pandemic? Probably not.
Individualism is great. Because of individualism, we are free to be who we want, express ourselves how we want. Without a sense of individualism, we would be nothing more than clones.
John Donnie wrote : No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
Yet, all I see is a sense of individualism that is leading us to a world of islands disconnected from the whole.
A friend of mine says I’m wrong.
“I don’t personally know anyone not taking this seriously- good, thoughtful citizens are here,” said my friend. “Just these loud, awfully selfish people overshadow those doing what needs doing.”
I hope she’s right. I see people doing what needs doing in San Elizario, Fabians and Clint. I do not really see it in El Paso. Prove me wrong; the comments section is open.
As for those that want to ignore social distancing and practice a brand of individualism that puts others at risk, let me leave you with a Facebook post by my friend Al Borrego. It makes a great point about putting the continent above individualism.