So over the weekend and at the behest of the wife, we headed down to the Florida Keys to a place her brother and his family were renting to go for a quick boat ride and have a mini-birthday party as several family members have their birthdays coming up.
We have all been religiously social isolating so there was no danger -at least I hope!- to interact between with their family for the day.
When we got there, they had already for the most part gotten their boat ready. Very soon, we headed out into the waters and our first stop was a sandbar very close to the place they were renting.
My brother-in-law noted the sandbar was pretty empty this early in the morning (10 am) but would get very crowded very quickly so we stopped there and swam.
Nearby -but far enough away, social distance-wise- arrived another boat, making it a whopping two boats in total on the sandbar at that hour.
These boaters had something which, during the course of the day, I’d see quite a bit of: Donald Trump flags. I didn’t take any pictures, but they kinda looked like this image, something I found via a Google search:
We hung out there maybe an hour or so before taking off to another couple of places. For my wife, it was a trip down memory lane, revisiting homes/apartments that back in the 1980’s and as youngsters they visited on weekends.
The area, my wife noted, had changed considerably. There were far more homes and buildings now, something that is sadly predictable, but for me what was head-scratching was seeing all those Trump signs.
Mind you, it was not a universal thing, but it seemed this enclave/area sure does have some very vocal Trump supporters.
Perhaps the most ironic sign I spotted that day was this one, seen on the balcony of one of the homes we passed by (pardon the language):
I mean, what do you say about something like this? We saw what appeared to be a the owners of that property, a kindly looking elderly couple who waved at us as we sailed by and I, being a soft-spoken liberal-type who respects others’ opinions wanted to do nothing more than to shout at the top of my lungs:
Are you fucking kidding me?!?!?! Is there anything that Trump says that ISN’T bullshit?!?!
Ok, so we politely waved back.
I may vehemently disagree with their opinions but, hey, it’s a free country. At least so far.
Anyway, I point this out not to get too political but to show the power of messaging, something I’m going to get to right now.
When the day was done -and throughout the day we very strictly maintained our distance from everyone- and returned back to my brother-in-law’s place, we again passed by that sandbar we started on earlier and the scene had changed considerably.
Again, I didn’t take any pictures, but looking through some random pictures I’ve found via a Google search, the sandbar now looked something like this:
Very full, very crowded, with little social distancing and, again, plenty of Trump flags.
As I said, this, to me, is an example of the power of messaging.
In this case, the wrong messaging.
For months Donald Trump and his administration has been downplaying the danger of Covid-19 and, clearly, there are many folks down there in this part of the Keys who sure do seem to have taken that message to heart.
If I were an evil man, I’d say: The hell with them. If they get sick, its on them.
The house my brother-in-law rented has a dock and is on the waterway. A beautiful house across the water from his, he told me, was owned by a 90 year old man who passed away very recently.
Cause of death? Covid-19.
Granted, the man lived a very long, hopefully full life, but the reality is his passing was due to this virus, a virus that many out there on the waterways seem to, based on what we saw them doing that day, simply refuse to believe it is a big deal.
The worst thing about it is that the consequences of these peoples’ actions not only affects them. If even one of boaters on that sandbar on that day had Covid-19 and spreads it to others there, when they leave the sandbars and return to their homes, they eventually will likely be interacting with family, large or small. They may go out shopping, perhaps for groceries, perhaps for other supplies, and they will be near strangers or friends.
Hopefully, when they do go out, they wear masks, but… what if they don’t?
And, further, what happens when they’re in their homes, among their family?
Please, please, please… Don’t just think about yourself and your own comfort.
Please think about others.