Since I know everyone is just having the times of their lives right now, I thought I’d add on to that with this sinister warning: Stay diligent. Not only about the whole COVID-19 thing, you know, observing all the necessary protocols to help contain and defeat it. What I mean is: Stay diligent about your governments.
Why? Because any singular event that draws the attention of the news cycle over an extended period of time can be an excellent tool for power politics. Usually there are two ways in which this happens, and if you want to recognize your respective countries when you get out of the pandemic, then you’d better pay attention to both.
First, it is a distraction. While COVID-19 is going on, only very few newspapers are going to talk about things that people just don’t care as much about in comparison right now. Like a thief who steals your purse while you are busy watching a car crash, so your government at any level can steal your rights while you are busy watching COVID-19.
Second, it is an excuse. People are scared right now. Once people get scared, they are suddenly much more willing to let the government get away with things that they would otherwise have a problem with. Privacy laws, for example – you just have to track people to make sure that they follow social distancing, right? Right, but who says those government rights are going to be taken away after the crisis? The only person who can make sure of that is you, and for that you have to pay attention.
It is easy to take what we have for granted. But just like the outbreak of COVID-19 suddenly changed the core realities of their very lives for millions of people in a matter of days, so can sneaky or would-be emergency measures change the very DNA of the countries we live in.
So, be diligent. None of this has to happen, but it can. And it can happen to any country, anywhere in the world. If you believe it cannot happen to yours, then you are already losing attention. But once you do pick up on something, make sure to share it with others. Even under this article, if you have already seen examples of this in your countries around the world. Because sometimes, just shining a light on it can already be enough to make it go away – or at least make it less sinister.