When the American Dream Turns Deadly

Congressman-elect Luke Letlow and the Failure of Responsibility

Image from PBS

I’ve been reflecting a lot this morning. I’m sure most of you heard that a 41-year-old, otherwise-healthy Congressman-elect just died of COVID. Apparently he sometimes wore a mask, but not so much at political functions. And, I’ve been reading the posts: “I didn’t agree with his politics, but he was a nice guy.” “So sad, and with a family.” “He should have worn a mask.” “The guy is dead, can we just be kind?”

My first response when someone dies — Anyone — is to be sad. And kind. Even when it’s Charlie Manson or Ted Bundy, human beings whose lives took a horrible turn at some point. But let me ask: how many people saying that we should be kind about the congressman felt bad about Charlie or Ted? Somehow being a “congressman-elect” and having procreated makes that person better? We All know how science and medicine have bettered our world. If it weren’t for a med invented within ten years before my cancer, I would be dead — period. But many of us are choosing to ignore how much it has helped us.

I suspect this congressman-elect believed in the science, since he wore a mask a good portion of the time. But he made a choice. He chose party and power over the health and wellness of his wife, his children, his friends and constituents. He held maskless rallies. Some of these people will undoubtedly struggle mightily because of him, and some will die, although they won’t make the news.

He made bad choices that will kill people. Not if, when. The same as Charlie and Ted. Does that sound harsh? I suppose so. But more than a third of a million Americans are dead, mothers, fathers, and children, and many of them didn’t have to die. We loooove to go on about our rights here, but so seldom do we hear about our responsibilities. To live in a society, though, we all need to care about others and be responsible. We can “choose” to be irresponsible about our own lives, but we don’t have the “right” to be irresponsible about others’. Over a simple little 4x6" piece of cloth. Love one another.

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Sherry Kappel

Sherry Kappel

Looking for the Kind in Humankind. Heart currently Code Blue.