This is the column I was not going to write

Seriously, I was going to take this week off because 1) It was time to take a break; 2) I promised myself I wouldn’t write about the coronavirus for a few weeks. But then there’s this: 3) Unfortunately, that is the only topic people are talking about.

So I’ll begin by referring to a column I wrote last year after I had attended a Selma City Council meeting and witnessed a few council members sniping at each other.

That column requested that our leaders please govern us based on issues and not personalities. 

"Don’t make it personal,” was the headline.

 This week, a similar theme: When it comes to making decisions regarding the coronavirus pandemic, I ask that our decision makers “don’t make it political.”

From the Selma city council and school board to our elected officials in Fresno, Sacramento and Washington D.C., we face some difficult challenges regarding a virus that is killing thousands of people and harming our economy.

There is a growing movement to “open up” our economy by starting to send people back to work and letting businesses re-open. Any such decision is fraught with peril. Wait too long and families and businesses will suffer even more. Move too early and more (mainly old) people probably will die.

That is the definition of a “lose-lose” situation.

I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a Selma friend about a month ago as the schools and spring sports were about to shut down. “Don’t you think we’re over reacting?” my friend asked. “Probably,” I replied. But I should have finished that sentence with this: “Is it better to under react?”

If the ideal response is to neither over react or under react, then we have to make the absolute perfect decision. And that is an impossibility, given all the unanswered questions about this virus and its timeline.

I’ll admit I have no answers, just a lot of questions. I try to pay more attention to what the medical authorities are saying than what the politicians and TV/radio/press pundits are saying.

The next few weeks are potentially a critical period in the recent history of our country. Let us hope the decision makers listen to the medical community and not just to the leaders of their parties.

Given how politically divided we are in this state and country, that is asking a lot. Our President and our Governor disagree on many issues, but let’s hope this time they can put aside their differences and work together for the betterment of the people of California.

We’re watching, guys. Yes, you have a really difficult decision to make. Just don’t make it political.


Ken Robison is a retired newspaper reporter, editor, columnist and photographer. “Selma Stories” runs regularly in The Enterprise.

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