Who’s in Charge

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(Who’s in Charge)

It is natural for most people to want to be in charge of their own life, to make their own choices. But often through life we are not in charge. Someone else makes the choice for us. Parents make all the decisions for their small children.

It is always interesting to watch children grow and try to wrestle control of their lives from their parents. Toddlers often refuse to eat as a form of trying to gain some control over a small part of their life. It doesn’t take children long to learn how to manipulate their parents or which parent to ask for permission. Child psychologists have long advocated giving children a small choice as part of exercising control over the larger issue. Children eventually grow into adults and have control over much of their lives.

Adults can usually understand what choices are not available to them, to realize that becoming a rocket scientist or a professional athlete may not be within their grasp. But for most adults choosing where to live, what to eat, what movies or TV channel are decisions they routinely make. If they are smart, adults will seek advice from those who may have better skills or more knowledge. Some decisions have major impacts on our lives or even on the lives of others, choices involving education, vocation, marriage.

Learning to manage risk vs reward choices becomes important. Aging brings challenges to being in control, to being in charge. Physical and mental declines leaves many aging adults with fewer choices and sometimes mean someone else is having to make choices for them. Some elderly lose their financial independence and thus control over their living conditions. Who’s in charge also applies to other aspects of life.

How much leeway is an employee given by their boss? How much compromise exists within a marriage? I like to joke that my wife and I have an agreement. She gets to make all of the small decisions and I get to make the big ones. This has worked for 38 years although so far there haven’t been any big decisions. The desire to control our own lives is a fundamental human trait. It is stressful not to have control. Many people have lost some of that control with the current Covid-19 virus pandemic.

Freedoms we have taken for granted are now limited. We are asked to make significant changes to our daily routine to keep ourselves safe and perhaps more importantly to keep others safe. I’m not surprised that some have allowed the loss of control of their economic security to influence their actions and act selfishly, refusing to cooperate with social distancing. I guess I am surprised that so many have acted so unselfishly and have joined the effort to minimize the effects of the pandemic.

My hope is that this pandemic will inspire people to demand changes to our national approach to health care. Many have lost their jobs through no fault of their own which means they have also lost their health insurance. Employee health insurance accounts for 55% of all health insurance. There will always be ups and downs in the economy. A person’s health should not be tied to the rollercoaster of business cycles.

This pandemic makes obvious the fact that your wellness is directly connected to the wellness of everyone with whom you come in contact. The only answer to keep the next pandemic manageable (and there will be another) is universal healthcare. Keeping our neighbors healthy is in our best interest. Be in charge.

If you feel this pandemic has taken charge of your life, take back control. Vote for those who support universal healthcare. It will make the next virus much less destructive.

Dick Gale

President of Democrats of Hemet-San Jacinto

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