by:  Cris Corzine-McCloskey

Last night my husband and I watched Jaws for the umpteenth time. This time we noticed some things that never stood out before. They portrayed the Mayor as a sleazy, greedy guy who didn’t care about public safety enough to close the beaches when he knew there was a shark. Juxtaposed against the sleazy, greedy Mayor was the good-guy, Sheriff Brody, who was willing to risk it all for public safety.

We like clear-cut good-guys versus bad-guys in our movies. On this side of COVID, I feel for that Mayor, who knew his local economy would collapse without those beaches. He was viewing the potential of shark danger against the certainty of a ruined economy. A ruined economy is a really big deal. Certain disasters versus potential disaster. See, he wasn’t a bad guy, he was just in a bad position. That movie painted everything in broad strokes of black and white. It showed a public that was too infantile to think for themselves, and in clear need of protection. It also showed the local business owners as more worried about their pocketbooks than people.

Black and white. Good and bad. If only things were that simple. But maybe they are. Perhaps it’s the politicians who are complicating matters. God’s ways are never complicated.

The Bible tells a story about a guy named Gideon, who God called to save Israel against invading marauders. Gideon was able to raise an army of over 30,000 men, but when they gathered, God did something surprising. God told Gideon to let the fearful go home. 22,000 men turned around and left. It wasn’t their fight. No harm, no foul. Gideon still won the battle, because God was with him. And nobody held it against the guys who wanted to stay home. Some battles we are called to, some we are called to sit out.

Let the fearful go home. Or, in this case, stay home. Radically simple. Let those of us who feel called to this battle serve you. We are willing to deliver your groceries and give you telehealth counseling services. Just pitch a few dollars at us, and you will be doing your part to help the local economy. We don’t hold it against you for being afraid of this virus. Please don’t hold it against us for being concerned about the economy. Because we aren’t just worried about the economy. We are also afraid of the effect the economy and isolation is having on our residents.

Here is what I see as a mental health provider. How well people are doing in this crisis has a direct correlation to their bank account and the quality of the relationships they have in their home. We have to understand that. While we are all created equal, not all of our needs are the same. One person needs to stay home. The other needs to get out. Mental health versus physical health versus financial health. It all matters.

I wonder what would have happened in Jaws if Sheriff Brody and the Mayor would have called a town meeting and educated the public on the dangers. They could have also asked the town folk to work together for a solution that kept everyone safe but didn’t wreck the economy. I bet the community wouldn’t have acted like idiots if they weren’t being treated like idiots.

Folks, we have the right to think for ourselves. When we give away those rights, they may be harder to get back than what you anticipate. Fortunately, we have local elected officials who are doing their best to treat us like we are smart enough to keep ourselves safe. Let’s respect and support them in that. After all, they are the ones who are currently out there swimming in the shark-infested waters we call COVID19!

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