Denial is a coping method many of us use. When we don’t want to face reality, we tell ourselves that what we are seeing isn’t significant. Parents hide the truth of a child’s addiction. Couples ignore a growing distance between them. Sometimes, ignorance is at the core of denial. Not understanding depression, we miss the signs in a loved one. When we’re fortunate, problems resolve without major intervention. The child testing boundaries realizes that drug and alcohol abuse will mess with his or her future. A couple invited to a Marriage Encounter Weekend discovers new ways of communicating with each other. Or a depressed loved one seeks out counseling on their own.
When denial is an inability to see a problem, we can at least look back at our own blindness. But what about a calculated denial . . . A denial formed and forged by people who know the truth, but hide that truth for profit? For months, there have been those who have denied the seriousness of Covid-19. They say the disease is nothing more than the flu. Or they say it is a hoax, most often a hoax by Democrats to steal the election from President Trump. Given confused messages from the president, governors and local politicians . . . it was not a surprise that young people flocked to beaches and to bars. All of which has led to a rapid escalation of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the U.S.
While other countries have gotten better control of Covid19, the United States is floundering. Mixed messages have sent people filled with righteous anger to State Capitals demanding the end of lock downs. Masks have become a symbol of one’s political leanings, presumably a sign of freedom. Opening schools is a nightmare for any school district to determine. A National Health Crisis has morphed into a political battle ground.
A few days ago, a thirty-year-old man in Texas died after attending a Covid Party. He believed that Covid was a hoax. His tragic and so unnecessary death was the result of people, who knowing the danger of Covid-19, flooded social media with messages downplaying the risk. When I think of his death, I get angry at those who decided he and those like him were somehow expendable, if it helped the economy.
In the midst of all of this, I’m grateful for persistent voices of health experts, determined to get the truth out. I’m grateful for the wisdom of governors who have stood strong in the pandemic. I’m grateful for truth tellers, who speak truth, even when it upsets people in power. The psalmist says of these:
“O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
Who may dwell on your holy hill?
Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
and speak the truth from their heart.” Psalm 15:1-2