Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Back-seat Driver

Passenger Compartment, 1967 Rambler Ranch in Colorado
photo credit: Christopher Siemnowicz, Wikimedia Commons CCA-SA-4.0 International

Did you ever experience in the years before COVID-19, when driving a vehicle with seats fully occupied, the occasional passenger--usually from the back seat--who instructed the best time to brake, or turn, or accelerate, or which route to take? 

One of the unexpected benefits of the pandemic is the effective disappearance of this individual from many vehicles, mainly because sane people no longer tend to take weekend drives or carpool with lots of passengers.

Unfortunately, not to be suppressed by anything serious like a pandemic, this impulse to instruct from the back seat has visibly increased in other places. 

You might have noticed there seem now to be a very large number of people suddenly qualified in their minds to judge how test kits and vaccines can be magically produced and distributed, how the virus works, what are the effective remedies, what safety protocols should pertain, how hard done by they are compared to everyone else, and the list goes on. 

Somehow, this infects some media talkshow hosts, and program anchors, and reporters, and Mr or Ms Interviewee, all of whom--as quickly and uninformed as a back-seat driver--megaphone their snappy instructions or question the efforts of health care workers, government, and everyone else, without reference to or any apparent knowledge of realities like production and delivery, or of surges in demand set off by panic.

Perhaps it's unsurprising that health care workers in some hospitals are now being issued body armor, yes, kevlar jackets, etc., etc., as protection from incoming patients who react violently to having their barmy treatment instructions denied.

Ignoring the back-seat driver apparently no longer works. What to do? What happened to working together to defeat a common enemy, namely the virus! 

Perhaps to paraphrase Pogo, it's time to address the enemy within who is us?