I had a friend ask me recently, “which side do you fall on with this whole virus thing?”. It wasn’t a surprising question given some of the conversations I’ve seen on social media and the fact that this is an election year. However, there are just some issues that don’t require “taking a side”, and this is one of them.

I guess you could describe the 2 “sides” as this.

Side 1: The COVID-19 virus is a serious threat and thousands of people have already died and it will get a lot worse before it gets better. Our country is unprepared to handle this and our leadership isn’t doing enough to protect us.

Side 2: The COVID-19 virus thing is being way overblown by the media. More people die every year from the flu and we don’t shut down everything for that. This overreaction is creating an impact that is worse than the effects of the virus itself and might even be driven by political motives given that this is an election year.

It’s tempting to pick a side and then passionately defend it. It’s become part of our culture to do that in recent years. We tend to take sides and then listen to media sources that confirm whatever side we choose.

You are being taken advantage of.

There is a huge market in dividing up people. Media sources can create loyal followers by telling them what they expect to hear instead of giving information. Political parties and lobbyists make billions of dollars and achieve more power when they divide us as a country and try to discourage us from getting engaged.

The truth is that national challenges such as COVID-19 don’t need to be political or polarizing. There is truth in BOTH sides presented above and the real challenge is to navigate and balance these perspectives to have the best response possible.

The COVID-19 virus is definitely a threat. It has already killed a lot of people and is spreading. Fortunately, there are things we can do as a community to limit its impact saving lives in the process. At the same time, many of these reactions will hurt our economy resulting in people losing their businesses and their source of income. A significant overreaction could actually hurt and even kill more people.

Like most issues, this response requires balance. It requires conversations. It requires leadership, sacrifice, and prudence.

Don’t get suckered into taking a side on this issue.