Commentary: End the COVID deception

We have subordinated our pursuit of truth in exchange for our pursuit of money.

CDC/Unsplash

I recently have arrived at a very concerning conclusion. As a nation, we were founded on the concept that we will first pursue the truth. It was the implied first step in anything we have pursued as a society. Any challenge we have faced, we have first asked, “what is true” or “what is the right thing to do here?” Naturally, many people have different views on what is true or right, but that has been our debate. I see something else driving us today.

I am alarmed at the astonishing way in which we have subordinated our pursuit of truth in exchange for our pursuit of money. Instead of trying to discover what is true and acting accordingly, we tell subtle lies to ourselves that make our lives easier and get the money flowing in the right direction. Just look around and you’ll see it.

A few weeks ago, Gov. Tim Walz announced that he had called up Minnesota’s National Guard to staff long-term care facilities that are severely understaffed. The governor’s administration claimed that these staff shortages were caused by “the extreme stress and burnout that they have faced for over 18 months now.” Frankly, this is just deception.

Our brave long-term caregivers worked tirelessly throughout the heights of this pandemic, but the severe staffing shortages have only manifested since vaccine mandates were imposed. Large numbers of medical staff do not want to be vaccinated and are willing to walk away from their jobs to preserve their medical freedom. Gov. Walz refuses to admit that vaccine mandates and government actions have caused this staffing shortage. To admit as much would trample all over the pandemic narratives in which politicians have invested so much money. As such, lies about the staffing shortage will continue.

The same deception occurred regarding the governor’s emergency powers. Gov. Walz told everyone that he must maintain total control for the good of the people. He conveniently chose not to emphasize the fact that the emergency powers gave him wide latitude to spend money and control state funds. Even when his lockdowns and executive orders were crushing Minnesotans, the governor refused to give up his powers because they allowed him to control state funds and incoming federal money.

Unfortunately, deceptive stories and convenient lies have become the norm. However, government is not the only source of such practices.

Every October, the National Football League (NFL) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) partner together to raise awareness about cancer screenings and diagnoses. During the pandemic, cancer screenings declined by 87%. In one of their most recent ads, the NFL and ACS claim that this sharp decline occurred because “the fear of COVID overshadowed the fear of cancer.” Friends, this is an outright lie.

People were not afraid to go get screenings or receive cancer treatment because of COVID. Instead, policymakers locked down hospitals and shut out cancer patients throughout this pandemic. Patients were turned away and told to wait. Their procedures were no longer considered a priority. As a result, record numbers of late-stage cancers are now being diagnosed because so many were denied the care they needed.

So why are the NFL and the ACS lying about this? The answer is simple.

First, they do not want to admit that shortsighted politicians doomed people to fatal cancer diagnoses by shutting everything down. Acknowledging that would offend the policymakers in charge, so everyone is going to pretend it did not happen. If the NFL and ACS cared about aggressively fighting cancer, then they would have spoken out against the lockdowns that kept people from receiving necessary cancer treatment. They would have stood up to the governors that denied lifesaving medical procedures to people.

Instead, the NFL and ACS prop up a fiction to protect their bottom line. They cannot risk offending state governments and influential politicians, so they participate in a lie that keeps their financial interests intact at the expense of cancer patients.

This is not strictly a “Democrat” or “Big Business” problem. Similar lies are being told regarding the $250 million that the Minnesota Legislature is supposed to distribute to frontline workers. For months, legislators have bickered and argued over who would get the money and how it should be distributed. In public, elected leaders said that this was about helping those who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic. Once again, we are being deceived.

In reality, politicians from both sides of the aisle are trying to send the $250 million, and likely more, to special interest groups that keep them in power. If lawmakers can dole out big checks to folks who volunteer, donate, and vote the party line, then they will be helping themselves just as much as they claim to help others.

And, finally, lest you think I am only talking about “others,” the behavior of the Christian Church in the last year and a half has indicated to me we have the same sickness.  Churches stopped worshiping and made organizational decisions, I believe, because of threats to budgets and the bottom line. Even there, truth was subjugated to money.

We are surrounded by this misleading behavior. I believe we are all a part of the problem. Maybe we benefit by these lies, so we let them go on without a thought. Perhaps we like the lies because they keep our fragile worldview intact. While not everyone is perpetrating this, we are all responsible for the betterment of our society. We are all responsible to bring truth back into our culture before the pursuit of money.

My hope is we can return to a pursuit of truth, as well as caring for one another, and uniting for a common cause more important than ourselves. I don’t believe anything short of Divine intervention can steer us from our complete love of money. May that be our prayer.