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Gordon Monson: We can argue over sports. But when it comes to COVID, Utah’s leaders must be better

Call this a cry to look out for a community of people who love freedom, but who want to be alive to enjoy it.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) People gather as the Salt Lake County Council holds a brief meeting on the mask mandate, in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022.

I swear, the world’s gone crazy. And Utah seems as crazy as anywhere.

One of the things I enjoy most about my job is the interaction with readers, as everyone in and around sports has their own opinions about performances on the field, on the court, on the diamond, on the pitch, as well as decisions and moves made in and around the games.

Nothing wrong with agreement on issues here. Divergence of thought inside of sports is a beautiful thing, too. Ain’t no good guys, ain’t no bad guys, there’s only you and me and we just disagree.

The same cannot be said for what we hear from some legislative leaders — and others, as well — in Utah regarding COVID-19, and the importance or lack thereof of getting vaccinated and wearing masks.

Can you believe that some of these people really believe what they say regarding so-called freedoms versus the universal need to protect the health of the folks in our community?

What’s really frightening is that the leaders diminishing the importance of taking protective measures in whatever reasonable way is necessary really do believe what they’re saying.

The world’s gone crazy.

Utah’s gone crazy, or at least too much of it.

Disagreement. I love it. Usually.

But when people disagree about sports, nobody dies.

When some of Utah’s leaders fail to protect the public in a pandemic that has taken and ravaged the lives of thousands of Utahns, hundreds of thousands of Americans, and millions around the globe, glomming onto the lazy and tired idea that our very freedoms are at risk here, you wonder what their actual motives are.

People are dying. And yet you get politicians who rail against mandates and argue lamely against sensible calls for safety, refusing to wear masks, even as too large a portion of their citizenry is coughing and hacking and ending up in hospitals, fighting for their lives on account of this vicious virus, all as health-care workers are being pushed to their limits and beyond.

If that’s not insanity, how would you define it?

Our freedom is taken away every day when we all, according to the law, must drive on the right side of the road, observing traffic signals, not imbibing before we get behind the wheel of a car.

Thank God for that restriction, and other restrictions that preserve the greater good.

It’s amazing — but at this point not surprising — that some politicians who say Utah is not a nanny state (when it comes to fighting for the public’s health in this pandemic) are then eager to suddenly nanny all the day long on other issues, as it suits their political gain.

We’re talking about saving lives. Freedom would survive a mask mandate, if anyone else is left to survive alongside it.

We’re better than this, aren’t we?

Aren’t we?

The headline the other day that Utah is near the top of the national charts in numbers of COVID cases was … disheartening.

A state that claims to be benevolent, a state filled with people who either believe in God or in goodness should do more to look out for the welfare of all, remembering that this virus spreads. It’s not just an individual’s deal.

Instead, it seems to have become every man or woman for himself or herself. The hell with everybody else. Damn it all to hell, I’ve got my freedom.

And then when leadership is called out by sensible editorialists for its — their — irresponsible actions, those editorialists come under attack by the very people who have allowed the mess to become what it has.

Call this a cry for clear thinking, a cry to look out for a community of people who love freedom, but who want to be alive to enjoy it.

In this case, there are good guys and bad guys who disagree.

If certain leaders cannot wrap their minds around good ideas for good public health, urgent ideas, maybe they can understand that the business side of this entire situation is suffering, too. You’d think that, if nothing else, would get their attention.

Enough of the grandstanding, the excuse-making.

How many more Utah residents have to get sick, how many more have to die before poor judgment is redirected?

Can we, the people, finally figure out that taking proper precautions to save other people’s lives — our people’s lives — and their own lives in a horrible pandemic is preferable to prattling on and on about our personal freedom, acknowledging that those who did finish med school and have studied infectious diseases for their entire careers may not know everything, but they know a whole helluva lot more than your pals associated with your political party or your buddies in your bowling league.

Yeah, Utah’s better than this. Please God, let our leaders know, Utah is better than this. It should be.

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